Blurring the Edges
“I had my dysfunctions, but music gave me peace and joy. I never felt in tune with the world. My parents always saw me as an artist and that greatly influenced me. My art was my autonomy.” Meredith Brooks
Grammy nominated American singer/songwriter, musician and record producer Meredith Brooks achieved the peak of her fame in 1997 with the release of her debut solo single “Bitch,” taken from the multi-platinum “Blurring the Edges” (1997). The song became a hit worldwide and brought Brooks her Grammy nominations. Prior to the victory, Brooks was associated with the girl group The Graces, along with former Go-Go Charlotte Caffey. She was with the group from 1988 to 1991 and released an album with them called “Perfect View” in 1989. After she left, Brooks did not return to the music industry until she released “Bitch.”
Brooks' subsequent albums include “Deconstruction” (1999), “Bad Bad One” (2002), “Shine” (2004) and “If I Could Be....” (2007).
As a producer, Brooks has lent her talents to Jennifer Love Hewitt's album “BareNaked” (2002) and Hilary Duff's song “Party Up” from the “Metamorphosis” album (2003). She also served as the producer for Bec Hollcraft's first album, “Alive!!!” (2008).
Brooks has been married twice. She is the mother of a son named Troy, who was fathered by her second husband. An avid philanthropist, Brooks is known as the founder of Planet Art and Anybody's Mentoring Program (AMP) and has actively supported several other charity organizations. Brooks cites “The Wizard of Oz” and “Gone with the Wind” as her favorite movies. She is the close friend of actress Carrie-Anne Moss.
Childhood and Family:
Meredith Ann Brooks was born on June 12, 1958, in Oregon City, Oregon, to a country sheriff and an interior designer. After her parents divorced, young Meredith lived with her mother in Corvallis, Oregon. She has a brother and a sister.
Meredith skipped several grades in high school and graduated from Corvallis High School when she was only 15 years old. By this time, she had also become a skillful guitarist. Meredith picked up the instrument at age 11 and honed in on her craft by copying such legendary musicians as Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt and The Beatles.
Meredith was married to Russell Jackson from 1991 to 1998. The marriage produced no children. She remarried in 2003 and gave birth to a son named Troy in 2004.
Mastering the guitar by the time she finished high school, teenager Meredith Brooks started her musical career by performing with various bands in the Seattle and Portland area. During that same period, she also tried her hand at songwriting and began recording demo tapes. With support from her parents, she headed to Los Angeles in 1986 to pursue more opportunities.
As a struggling musician, Brooks found herself playing bars in L.A. until she met Charlotte Caffey in 1988. Along with Gia Ciambotti, the two formed a girl group called The Graces and released their debut album the following year, “Perfect View,” under A&M Records. Although the first single, “Lay Down Your Arms,” rose to No. 56 on Billboard's Hot 100, the album and follow-up singles were flops and when The Graces was dropped by the label in 1991, Brooks quit the group.
“The Graces was a great experience. It's great working with women, but we weren't put together in an organic way and I think that's why we didn't stay together. There wasn't that natural friendship.” Meredith Brooks
After the failed start, Brooks withdrew from music to begin a spiritual journey. She participated in soul-searching activities such as metaphysics, psychology and yoga and plunged into a number of charities, including Planet Art, an organization she founded with the purpose of turning creative projects into businesses. She received therapy while she counseled fugitive teens and married first husband Russell Jackson, whom she was married to from 1991 to 1998.
In 1997, Brooks made a promising comeback with the hit single “Bitch,” which she co-wrote with Shelly Peiken. Released under Capitol Records, the song rose to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 1 on the Billboard Top 40 Mainstream, No. 4 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks and No. 10 on the Billboard Top 40 Adult Recurrents. It also received success in countries such as New Zealand and the U.K., in which it peaked at No. 6. Brooks also received Grammy nominations for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance and Best Rock Song. “Bitch” received platinum certification in 1997.
Her debut solo album, “Blurring the Edges,” followed later that same year. It peaked at No. 22 on the Billboard 200, entered the Top Canadian Albums chart at No. 11 and went platinum. Brooks' subsequent singles, “What Would Happen” and “Stop,” however, failed to achieve the same success as “Bitch.” The first rose to No. 46 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the latter only charted on the Top 40 Mainstream. Benefiting from her newfound fame, “See It Through My Eyes” was released in 1997. It was one of the demo tapes she recorded in the early 1980s.
In support of “Blurring the Edges,” Brooks conducted U.S. and Europe tours in 1997 and 1998. She also toured the world as part of the successful all-female rock concert Lilith Fair, whose members also included Sarah McLachlan, Lisa Loeb, Jewel, Chantal Kreviazuk and Queen Latifah. While on tour, she demonstrated her social concerns by founding Anybody's Mentoring Program (AMP), which hopes to inspire high school students to communicate with each other and their community in order to get resources necessary to look into their creativity and succeed.
Brooks resurfaced in 1999 with the album “Deconstruction.” The single “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain),” featuring Queen Latifah, became a No. 1 hit on the Adult Top 40 Mainstream chart. Also included in the album was the track “Sin City,” which she originally wrote and recorded for the Brian De Palma thriller “Snake Eyes” (1998), starring Nicolas Cage.
In May 2002, Brooks released “Bad Bad One” under Gold Circle Records. It spawned the lead single “Shine,” which rose to No. 35 on the Adult Top 40 and was later used as the theme song for television psychologist Dr. Phil's show. On “Shine,” she stated, “When there's nothing but no and there's nowhere to go, you find a way'...and I did. Thanks to this extraordinary opportunity with Dr. Phil, both 'Shine' and the other songs are being given a chance in a new format, which perfectly fits where my life is at these days.”
Shortly after the release of “Bad Bad One,” Brooks' label collapsed and kept the records from getting promoted or enjoying major sales. The death of the label even forced Brooks to return early to Los Angeles from her summer tour with Melissa Etheridge.
2003 saw Brooks find a new home with SLG Records. She reissued the material of “Bad Bad One” as “Shine” the following year. Three years later, in 2007, Brooks launched a children's album called “If I Could Be....” On the album, she said, “’If I Could Be…’ is the perfect album for children and parents to enjoy together. This album is what a children’s album should be… engaging, interactive and fun. Making this record has been so effortless and enjoyable. This has been the best writing and recording experience of my entire life.”
In addition to recording albums, Brooks has emerged as a record producer. The founder of Kissing Booth Records produced Jennifer Love Hewitt's forth album, “BareNaked,” in 2002. It rose to No. 37 on the Billboard 200 and No. 9 on the Australian Top 100. Its title track, which she co-wrote with Hewitt, was a hit on the Adult Top 40, Top 40 Mainstream and Australian ARIA Singles Chart. The next year, she co-wrote and produced Hilary Duff's songs “Party Up,” from her multi-platinum album “Metamorphosis.” Other artists she has worked with include teen rock sensation Bec Hollcraft, who became the first artist to sign exclusively with Kissing Booth.