Described as “A future megastar” by The Guardian, 23-year-old Brooke Combe might cherish the wide-eyed excitement of her youth, but she has already come a long way from her childhood, raised in a small village just outside Edinburgh.
Inspired by new wave soul artists like Gabriels and Sault, new single ‘Black Is The New Gold’ – out today – allows her to pick apart a different kind of untold story, described by Combe as the most “mature” thing she’s ever written. A smooth, melodic ballad, it gives her the freedom to work through her own understandings of race and identity, reflecting on reading she had been doing about histories of slavery and institutional oppression. Writing the lyrics almost in a state of subconsciousness, it was only when she finished that she realised how close she had cut to personal bone.
“At the time, I was like, ‘this is heavy, do I really want to go there?’ But my mum was like, why not? My heritage has probably come from that, and it’s important people know who I am. I think it’s been an important step for me, learning more about myself by reading and researching more. It isn’t meant to be a preachy song – I’m not that person. But I do like to write music I can leave with people to ponder. Just think on it, and get back to me.”
She continues: “It’s more soulful and it’s probably the first tune where I’m not singing about being in love or heartbroken. I’ve always felt quite disconnected from my black ancestry [being a mixed race girl] so this song for me is about exploring more of my black roots, lyrically and musically.”