“Twelve months ago I was working in the reception of an estate agent,” Brooke tells me as she reflects on how far she’s come in the space of a year. “And no, I would never go back.”
The 23-year-old singer-songwriter is riding a wave of positivity, creativity and notoriety which many may not have predicted she would after failing to qualify to the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest back in May. Failure is a topic that Brooke understands but it’s the opposite she thinks she achieved.
“I don’t see any failure for me personally. For me, I’ve won because I’ve got the opportunity to release the music I want now and my name has definitely gone up in people’s estimations. I’ve got notoriety.” This is the achievement Brooke wanted, even if before Eurovision she said her goal was to reach the Grand Final of the contest.
Six months of Brooke’s life were spent working, planning and preparing for one three minute performance. She admits she would’ve loved to have had the opportunity to have two three minute performances but she managed to have the best experience of her life in Turin regardless.
“It gave me confidence in my ability to go up against these artists in all of Europe and beyond. They’re all stars. I came [to Turin] and I thought ‘I’m completely out of my depth here’. It really proved to me that at that level I could put on a performance because all I ever wanted to be was a performer.”
She’s quite philosophical about where she’s ended up as a result of not qualifying too. “Actually, the result was more beneficial than if I had gone through and had been forgotten about at the bottom of the pile.” Why? “I’ve been given the freedom to be the artist that I want, with a fan base that wants to listen to me and it’s given me the opportunity to travel the world. I’m now just working really hard to keep doing that.”
Before Brooke jetted off to Turin for Eurovision she had a meeting with Irish music royalty Louis Walsh. He could’ve given her some words of wisdom or inspiration to motivate her towards success. He could’ve mentored her through the entire process. “Don’t expect anything,” Brooke recalls him telling her instead. Despite these brutal words, she has gone on to perform across Europe, at pride events at home and abroad, and even at Glastonbury.
As she begins to talk about performing at pride events for LGBTQ+ crowds, her face lights up with the biggest smile I’ve seen in a long time. These audiences mean more than anything in the world to her. “Whenever I get excited the veins pop out of my head,” she laughs. “There’s nobody else you’d want by your side more. To have a fan base so loyal and focussed on everything, I love that. Everyone feels respected by me and I respect them with my music too. I hope my music can touch people and help people. To have any fan base is amazing but to get to go to pride events and perform for these amazing crowds, I feel so lucky and I hope I can keep making the bops they want me to”.
Those hungry for bops will be musically nourisdhed by her new single Heartbreaker. Inspired by one of Brooke’s own love stories that didn’t stand the test of time, this track is really pleasant and listanble soft pop music that packs a thoroughly anthemic chorus. “I didn’t want to hurt the person and I’d never ever heard anyone come from that perspective before. I suppose I wanted to contrast that with the deeper meaning of the song with a sonically happier feeling.” When you hear the song you’ll agree that she’s managed to perfect that sonically happier feeling.
Writing music and writing lyrics is something I have no experience in. I always think it must be such an invasive and intrusive process to lay bare your emotions with other songwriters who may not know all of your ins and outs. So, how does Brooke view it? “It is such an invasive process,” she agrees.
She thinks back to how much she’s evolved in the creative process and concedes that now she’s an entirely open book and an “over-sharer”. She compounds that a little later when I dig for details about her perhaps “top secret” EP that she’s releasing in the autumn. “Nah, I’m not top secret. I’ll tell you anything,” she says through her cheeky smile and infectious giggle.
New single Heartbreaker leads the EP. “Long story short, I fell in love then I got bored,” is her snapshot description of the track itself. “Then what happened was I got into this weird and immature phase of ‘boys are this, boys are that and you don’t need them’,” which is That’s Rich. “Then Tongues because I did actually fall in love which is horrible if it’s not forever.” The next track will be an unheard one called Enough which is “devastatingly painful” which made Brooke “cry my eyes out” while writing it. Fans of her song Attention will be glad to hear it on the EP too after it was taken off Spotify because Brooke reckons “they changed their licensing blah blah blah.”
At this point her hairless cat Draco (yes, named after the wizard) comes in to steal the show and ultimately steal my attention. Brooke’s attention is eventually pilfered by the feline too and she shoots off on a tangent about her distinctive red ink tattoos on her arm. “That’s why I’ve got this Harry Potter scar tattoo here.” She gives me a guided tour of her other tattoos, culminating in one patch of ink that starts out sounding like it’ll be precious as she describes it being designed by her grandmother. “I asked her to write down words that come to her mind when she thinks about me”. Brooke shows me beautifully scribed words of ‘music’ and ‘secret’. The latter because her grandmother can tell Brooke anything and she knows it’ll go no further. The final one designed by her grandmother simply says ‘bitch’.
With a new single about to be released and a debut EP one month away, would you believe Brooke has already got another EP in the works? Well, she has. She tells me she has played some of the recently recorded music for someone who works with Sam Ryder who told her to “keep that really safe”. But how does Brooke describe the songs she’s making at the moment? One word: “Deadly”.
Heartbreaker is out on August 26 and Brooke’s debut EP is out on September 30.