We had the good fortune of connecting with Britni Azzam and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Britni, how does your business help the community or world?
I’d like to hope as I continue to make music, and develop my company I can work towards building a platform to ultimately become a voice, and inspiration for others. My goal is to combat the cognitive dissonance, and to destigmatize our vulnerabilities by being more transparent as an artist, and maybe one day I can break some more barriers for women in Hip Hop, and fashion. I go by the name B.R.A, which is actually the initials of my full name. Growing up, “bra” naturally became one of my many nicknames, and is originally how the name came about. Quickly, I started to enjoy the irony behind it, and started to run with the idea. A bra being a conventional symbol of femininity, I began to elaborate on this by writing various idioms and metaphors about my personal beauty philosophies. I have always challenged the norms, and the generalized notions on what it is to be a woman. The main example is how they call me B.R.A but I don’t wear one (bra) and this is truly an outward expression for what I stand for. I have had a lot of experiences of overcoming adversity in my life, and made it a point to strive for sincere self acceptance. This was all able to come through with my music, and my motivation grew stronger to advocate for more authenticity in a world where we are constantly comparing ourselves to others. So putting forth a message in my music has always been at the top of my priority list, and as I progressed I started to develop more of this identity. I am now honing in on my craft and mission to be able to best put forth the meaning of each song. One of my more recognized singles, “Be Real Always”, I think has been able to convey that. It not only showcases my personality, but embodies who I am as a person and an artist. The title also relating back to my name, has been a fun, and cute way for me to make my mark. So much so it has led my down the path of being able to spread this message with fashion by creating my own brand. Be Real Always Co. (Powered by Shopify) is a comfortable street wear brand that offers eye catching hand touched pieces to give your every day clothes a unique and artsy touch. Supplying both music merchandise, as well as “Be Real Always” custom designs I hope to dress more and more people and spread the “Be Real Always” mentality. This is a direct extension of my music, by not only providing my fans with awesome threads to rep but also keeping that same goal in mind of encouraging others to be themselves. I also want to keep ethical practices and social accountability in mind by working with local vendors, by being small owned and by allowing for a more personalized experience. I am still growing, but I hope others can grow with me, and see the vision.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am inherently an artist. Growing up, I never embraced this though. It took me a long time to recognize my potential and often disregarded the gifts I already I knew I had. I was brought up in a way where being an artist means you’re starving, and I didn’t really believe pursuing my dreams was something realistic. I have always been an avid writer, and have a habit of scribbling down ideas whenever they came to me. Having a naturally restless mind this happened often, but over the years I never recognized its importance or how it could benefit me and others. I went through many phases of finding where I wanted to be professionally even eventually becoming a traditional art student. I never really felt like I fit though, struggling socially, academically, and in the work place. I would excel in these things, from an outside perspective, but there was always a small component that prevented me from really being who I knew I was. I often felt like I had to apologize for who I was, and couldn’t find the conviction to do so. It was the same time I became an art student where I also started to truly realize where my strengths lied. This was at a point, too, where I was really feeling lost, aimless, and without a purpose and I believe it was a lot of these forces that led me to where I am today. That was when, one night, I decided to poke around at all my scribbled thoughts and feelings and noticed a of it was actually poetry. I then put on an instrumental and tried to speak the words I had already written a time before, but interestingly enough it came natural. I have always been deeply influenced by music, and Hip Hop was one genre that I always felt inspired by. Both of my brothers rapped, and I would watch them growing up but never in a million years thought it was something I would be doing let alone be good at. I also have always been a singer being accompanied by my father and his guitar, but it was always just thought to be a beloved pastime. So when I finally spoke words to a beat was when I felt truly alive, and I didn’t hesitate to share it with my brothers. I rediscovered the voice I had once lost, but even more evolved, and it felt authentic. This exact moment in time was what catapulted me towards the path I’m on today, and I wouldn’t have had it gone down any other way. I had to overcome a lot internally, and I think that is exactly what sets me apart. The adversity that I have faced is exactly the fuel that has allowed me to work towards being a voice for others. Being a vehicle for messages we all need to hear. It has made me excited to deepen my awareness of this more and more to be able to heal others with sound. And now with fashion, as I have launched my Be Real Always Co. brand advocating for authenticity, and inclusivity. Creating another outlet for me to work towards my overall mission.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Coming to Denver for the week you definitely need to do both mountain, and city activities. Mountain activities I love are hot springs like Strawberry Hot Springs or Glenwood Springs, sight seeing like Great Sand Dune National Park, or our local Red Rocks Amphitheater, as well as hiking in Evergreen, or going to Bear Creek Lake. City activities to enjoy are as simple as going to a great spot with a view like El Five, or Linger and walking around people watching, or setting up a picnic and eating outside at one of our many amazing parks like Congress Park, Washington Park, or City Park. You could also enjoy the city at night and grab some ice cream at Little Mans, or the historical Bonnie Brae. I also enjoy walking the streets of South Broadway, Pearl Street, or the Highlands Area.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Street 2 Life. Street 2 Life, is a local Denver owned print shop that I found and decided to use as a vendor for my merchandise. Little did I know this is powered by a program called Open Door Ministries that is providing employment and discipline for our homeless community. They are offering up great opportunities for those who struggle to find work or may not have the confidence to try by training them with basic work skills. Helping those get off the streets, and provide the experience they need to potentially change their lives for the better!
Britni Azzam Nathaniel Azzam Emile Azzam