Chastity Brown is a Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter acclaimed for her impassioned, rhythm-driven sound. Spanning genres, Chastity’s music gracefully blends blues, country, and soul. Her songwriting is piercing, looking both inward and outward to lay bare personal hardships and dissect societal injustices. Chastity’s fiercely genuine presence on-stage and off embodies the strength we aim to honor in the Red Wing Women’s Collection.
We’re all about process when it comes to building footwear. Could you talk a bit about what your songwriting process looks like?
The approach to writing a song is different every time for me. Sometimes I feel like I’m chasing down a melody that’s stuck in my head. Other times, an arrangement or set of chords can evoke an image or emotion that I then try to dig into and describe in detail. One constant question: Does this story feel true? If the answer is yes, then I just go with it.
What have you been turning to for inspiration recently?
I’ve been turning to the idea of personal growth and radical self-love.
There’s a lot that goes into creative projects that goes beyond final output. Between swirling logistics and constant digital inundation, how do you deliberately make time and space for yourself to create?
I’ve been on a North American tour for the past five months. I steal away moments between curtain calls to write. And there are hours upon hours that I spend in the car just singing to myself.
How do you stay grounded, happy, and healthy while touring?
That’s a great question. It’s been helpful for me to develop a malleable routine: yoga or a walk in the morn, keeping in touch with my dear, sweet friends and those that know and love me, and eating healthy. I try to keep in tune with the basics of what my needs are.
You can only take so much with you on tour. What do you take into consideration when packing clothes for both onstage and off-stage outfits?
The longer you’re on the road the less ya’ wanna carry. So, I try to take outfits that I can mix and match to be rad on stage and chill and comfy off. Since we’re in a different city every night, sometimes I’ll just wear the same thing for two or three days!
How would you describe your personal style? Is your presentation of self an extension of your creativity? More utilitarian? A blend of both?
I am quite particular when it comes to clothes. It’s most certainly an extension of creative expression. I like neutral solids… A pseudo monotone palate. I often wear vintage breeches that I get altered to fit my curves. Lately, black, grey, creamy white, and green are my go-to colors. And then I throw on a pair of my Red Wings, and boom: ready to rock.
Nina Simone famously said that “An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.” How does a critical and reflective approach to the world around you inform your work?
I love Nina. She is everything. I’m not a reporter, but I feel like a collector of stories. Ones that I have lived and ones that I hear in the community around me. I try to write with a sense of reverence for the human experience. Whether that’s a struggle with mental stability, a long drive through the backwoods and getting lost in nature, substance addiction, or my own struggles with self-acceptance. I feel that I’m always learning how to be a better writer and stay true to the African American lineage that I’m a part of.
What do you have in store for the rest of the year?
I’m just wrapping up this five-month-long tour. This summer I’m playing Bonaroo, Rock the Garden, Edmonton Folk Festival, and a bunch of fun shows yet to be announced!