Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Brooklyn Michelle is a music producer, singer, painter and video producer. Her newest single “Retail Therapy,” which is premiering on Oct. 16, serves as an empowering anthem for the heartbroken.
Michelle started writing “Retail Therapy” a few months out of a breakup. According to her, that phase was also toward the beginning of her sobriety.
“I noticed my new addiction just became excessively buying clothes, especially from my favorite store at the time, The Come Up. In times like these, we gotta get up and make ourselves dress cute to bring our confidence back,” she said.
The singer said that the track started out with sad lyrics, but the beat was so fun that she couldn’t help but go with a more fun-melancholy vibe. “Like, yeah I’m still kinda sad and tryna get over this but I’m going to look cute while doing it.”
Michelle wants others to accept the feeling of sadness after hearing “Retail Therapy” for the first time. “We can always find a little bit of good out of what brought us pain. I hope this can be a comfort song to those feeling heartbroken. It’s okay to spoil yourself a lil’ bit.”
Writing this song was the first time Brooklyn Michelle was able to start smiling after being depressed for a long time. She thought the lyrics were so cute that they would make her laugh when hearing them.
“A lot of my music is really sad, so it felt good to write a cute song for once. I definitely cried happy tears when hearing the final mix after Alex Tumay sent it back to me. This is the highest quality I’ve ever heard my own music before and I couldn’t be more thankful,” she said.
Michelle’s favorite line in “Retail Therapy” is “How do they do rebound? I don’t swipe right, I swipe down.”
Back in high school, she tried the whole “rebound thing” after her first breakup, and that made her feel so much worse.
“The last thing I feel like doing in that situation is meeting other people really, so I won’t be swiping right on Tinder. Unfortunately, I will be swiping that debit card, though,” she mentioned.
Michelle said that a lot of her songs are very specific to her personal situations, and she felt like “Retail Therapy” is the first track that practically anyone can relate to.
“With social media revealing everything online, I feel like more of my generation is getting heartbroken than the ones prior. We also have online shopping at our fingertips, so it’s a dangerous game,” Michelle said
(Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Michelle)
The artist said that the music video expressed the point of view of many characters associated with a diverse set of colors.
“I wanted the yellow character to have this 1950’s housewife feel to it. I made this character be the most obnoxious about her crazy retail addiction. The red character in the shopping cart is the grumpy one, the blue exudes the most melancholy energy and the light tunnel scene is just me being myself,” she explained.
Michelle is hoping that the title of her song encourages others to treat themselves when they need to because everyone needs a little retail therapy once in a while.
“What I’m not hoping is that it influences people to impulsively spend large amounts of money on unnecessary items because I am definitely guilty of this too,” she said. She also commented that the line “My heart and my pockets on empty, but that white tee so tempting” captures her experience particularly well.
The artist’s profound passion for music began when her mom signed her up for piano lessons in first grade. She ended up loving it and soon branched out to learn other instruments, such as guitar, ukulele and drums.
“Between these instruments and singing growing up, I normally would learn songs to make cover videos on YouTube. I eventually started writing my own songs for fun, too, though my grandpa is the one who pushed me to pursue this professionally,” she said.
“After he passed, I kept my promise to do so and began producing my own songs, majored in Sound Recording Technology, dropped out and went on to finish producing and finally released my debut album ‘Lithium,’” she continued.
Since Brooklyn Michelle is also a director and producer, she sees herself pursuing more diverse projects in the near future. “Retail Therapy” was her first music video that her production company, Waffledog Productions, contributed to.
She had so much fun working on music videos with her good friend and director of photography Jacob Glombowski. Michelle envisions herself and her company producing many artists’ music videos and even her own television show down the line.
“[Glombowski] does such an amazing job at bringing my ideas to life with the camera,” Michelle said. “He always exceeds my expectations and makes everything turn out twice as good as I originally planned for and imagined. I have way more fun producing videos than music, and I don’t ever want to stop doing this,” the artist said.
Michelle concluded by telling aspiring singers, “Get out of that ‘I don’t need anyone’ mentality. As soon as I let that go and started seeking help or collaborating with others, doors started to open for me. No matter what field you’re in, there is always a community there to be involved. Also, don’t ever forget, it never hurts to ask.”
Contact Ron Rocky Coloma at rcoloma ‘at’ stanford.edu.