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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI student driven to succeed in music industry

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Providence resident pursuing R&B career, double major

KINGSTON, R.I. – May 2, 2011 – When he picked up the phone, Ivan Brooks heard his friend crying.

“Help me feel better,” she said. “Sing to me, Ivan.”

So the University of Rhode Island student began an impromptu performance, crooning about a woman’s worth. His friend stopped crying.

That personal touch Brooks used to cheer up his friend is something he is tapping into as he works to build his musical career. While double majoring in communications and marketing, Brooks also has been laying tracks and popping up on the underground music scene for years.

Brooks’ star is on the rise. His latest single, Dance Till You Fall In Love, is available on iTunes, and has been featured on radio stations throughout the region. Over the next several months, he’ll be touring the country and opening for acts like Bobby Valentino, Chris Brown and Lloyde Jeremiah, among others. Brooks is looking to crack the mainstream music industry with Dance, which was produced by Million Dolla Music. The song is part of Brooks’ project, Better Love, a collection of singles about putting broken relationships back together.

His dance single Nice Girl with D.J. Bam Bam, cracked Beat Port’s Top 20 chart, as well as Funk Master Flex’s Record Pool, showing the talent that helped him earn Best Male R&B Artist honors at Underground Music’s 2008 A&R Power Summit in New York City. The next year he was nominated in the same category. Locally he has headlined the premier night of Providence’s Club Elements (now Club Karma).

“I blend everything when I am making music. Rock and roll, soul, gospel, funk, everything,” said Brooks, who worked with songwriter Cyrus DeShield on the project. “Cyrus puts the powder on my sound, adding that touch of butter to my song.

“When I’m singing and performing, I want people to feel the calmness of life,” said Brooks, who lives in Providence. “I want to make people smile and feel good about where they are. I want them to feel my music.”

Brooks, however, is hardly taking it easy when it comes to his music career. He spends his weekends working the East Coast club scene, and last year was invited to the West Coast for a pre-Emmy party, where he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Jamie Foxx, Dr. Dre, Three 6 Mafia and other industry giants.

He has been mentored for several years by Justin Grahams – also known as Just the Beast – of Sony Records. He works regularly with the likes of DeSheild, Goodlyfe Entertainment’s Johan Rodriguez, Greyson Waters and Reco Burgess of Vengeance Music.

“I’m going into life raw and real,” Brooks said. “I have confidence in my abilities as a performer, and I am working to break the idea that top talent can’t come out of Rhode Island. I have learned to invest in myself.”

Brooks caught the bug for singing when he was 12 and performed His Eye is On the Sparrow for the parish at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Providence.

“A lot of the old folks in the church started crying, and I was in disbelief,” Brooks said. “I didn’t expect that I could have that kind of impact on people as a 12-year-old. That’s when I realized, ‘Wow, I have a voice.’”

Now he’s using that voice to make his mark in the music industry.

To contact Brooks or find out more information about his career, email ivanbrooksinfo@gmail.com

Pictured above
Ivan Brooks is pursuing a singing career while majoring in both communications and marketing.
Photo by Ron Wexler (courtesy of Ivan Brooks)