In Music

19-year-old Mitchell's music wise beyond her years

If you ask 19-year-old guitar-playing wunderkind Brittney Mitchell about her musical influences, don't be surprised if she sounds a little upset when she answers.

"I hate that question because I really don't listen to that much music," Mitchell replies, "I just play."

Those who haven't yet had the privilege of seeing one of Mitchell's many acoustic shows at The Rock Shop in West Allis will probably find it refreshing that when she performs her music, she focuses on performing her music. Unlike her more popular contemporaries -- to whom she is often compared -- such as Avril Lavigne, Mitchell is content connecting with her audience using her delicate vocals to sing lyrics mature beyond her years, instead of annoying listeners with small talk.

"I hate talking on stage because I never know what to say, "she explains, "It's really about the music. It's not about what I have to say.

"It seems that music now is just about show. It's not about music anymore. Half of these girls don't even write their own music and they sing songs that don't mean anything to them."

Mitchell, on the other hand, doesn't even remember when she wrote her first song. She estimates it was around the time when she was in kindergarten, which was when she started to learn piano.

Five years ago, Mitchell was plucking bass guitar lines in various bands during her high school years. It wasn't until she started playing her own music solo when she felt she was moving in the right direction. The Hales Corners native won first place in a local talent show two years in a row.

But it was when a former boyfriend moved to California to try "to do his thing" that Mitchell tried recording the music she had been performing. She downloaded some recording software onto her computer and was able to hear for the first time the melodies she was putting to her music.

"It just started getting really exciting to listen to what all I could put to my music," she recalls.

Coming from a musical family doesn't hurt, either. Each member of Mitchell's family, including her parents, has been blessed with musical talent, but unlike some of the horror stories you hear about parents bleeding their kid's talent dry, Mitchell credits her organic songwriting style to her parents letting her discover her own path.

"I think my music is more natural because (my mother) hasn't pushed me to do anything," she says.

Mitchell feels that her greatest achievement so far is that she has been able to find a way to connect with people. "Basically music for me is just a release, like drugs for some people. I like to relate to other people, so now people can relate to me through my music."

Mitchell plays Sat., Jan. 3 at the Rock Shop, 6330 W. Greenfield Ave., in West Allis. Also performing are Quark Quintet, Neverstatic and Waxing Gibbons. Call (414) 771-7467 for more information.

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