Koffee Brown is a concept like no other in today’s R&B. From art to music to film, most artistic outlets are currently succeeding off of unoriginal ideas that are as banal as they are recycled. But at least one new group stands high above the competition, making a mark in creativity and its entertainment merit. Koffee Brown’s debut album Mars/Venus is a classic R&B moment. It explores the highs and lows of an intimate relationship from both a male and female point-of-view. With astonishing melodic composure, a unique lyrical style and an undeniable musical grace, Koffee Brown converses about relationship drama – often times trying to find solution to their problems and other times knowing that some things are too difficult to work through. But despite the outcome of the situation, Vee’s sultry vocals and Fonz’s silky voice work so well with each other that even in the harshest moments their togetherness is never questioned.
“We mix it up. Some people like their coffee dark and others like it with cream,” says Vee , the lady of the group. “But no matter how you like it, Koffee Brown is always strong.” And a strong woman, along with a man who can hold his own is what makes Koffee Brown the untouchable, musical flavor that it is.
Add some sugar
Newark, New Jersey’s Vee got her first break by collaborating with high profile artists such as NEXT and Case, and giving tracks like NEXT’s Too Close and Butta Love just what they need for them to become chart-topping singles. Urban songbird Vee has also shared the spotlight with highly acclaimed artists such as Mary J. Blige and Faith. “I’ve spent a lot of time on the road with different artists. As a new artist, I feel like I’m bringing some really good experiences to the table.” But being on stage isn’t really new to Vee since “music has always been my passion.”
Koffee Brown is the newest discovery of producer/music impresario KayGee. In an R&B climate ripe for change, their distinctive voices and superb performance skills position Koffee Brown as true leaders of the new school. One day KayGee went in to listen to Vee, “and once I heard her sing, I knew a star was on the rise,” he recalls. It’s all about the talent, and Vee is full of talent,” praises KayGee. But of course it doesn’t hurt that she’s as hot as coffee.
Black and Strong
The male force of the duo is songwriter/musician/producer Fonz. On Mars/Venus Fonz wrote, produced and played keyboards on the track Finger Pointing. Monifah and Montel Jordan have also used Fonz’s lyrical brilliance for their own projects.
Fonz may have grown up in a small town, but he had big dreams. He was born and reared in Howardsville, Missouri, and came from a musical family. He knew that music would always be apart of his life. And even though his family was strictly into Gospel, “I still have a hard time getting my mother to listen to my music,” Fonz found the courage to be different and pursue exactly what it is he wanted.
After graduating high school he ignored his family’s advice to go to college and get “a real career,” and instead left for Minnesota with only $200.00 in his pockets. “No one was going to stop me from living my dream.” And it was there that Fonz met R.L. the lead singer of the group NEXT and together they would go around the city and perform in small venues – in attempt to get recognition. They became close friends and thus made a pact to always look after each other. “R.L would later tell KayGee about me here and there until one day KayGee decided to put Koffee Brown together. During the audition process, KayGee was listening to a song I was on and R.L was like ‘yo, that’s my boy I’ve been telling you about.’ But before R.L told him who it was, Kaygee had already stopped the tape to find out for himself.”
Fonz’s style is reminiscent of the people who have influenced him throughout the years: Stevie Wonder, James Brown and R. Kelly.
Stir it up.
Koffee Brown is a blend of soulful R&B, mild funk rhythms along with minor hints of gospel. The duo possesses coolly wandering melodies with exquisite midtempo arrangements that take your heart and desires on a journey.
Koffee Brown was put together three years ago, and it took two years to record the album. They wanted to be precise about the music and the songs. “Things have to be right,” says Fonz. “The worst thing an artist can do, especially their first time out, is go into the studio and try to record in a few months. It takes time. Plus, I’m a perfectionist.”
What does Koffee Brown mean to the both of them? “The truth,” they shout. “We let you know what really goes on in relationships. You get to hear both sides of the story, from a male perspective and a female perspective.”
And right in the middle of watching musical redundancy, producer KayGee created Koffee Brown. “I was watching videos one day and every R&B act was a solo one. I was listening to what they were saying but something was missing. I thought, ‘It would be dope if someone responded to what they were saying, like a conversation.’ So that’s when it hit me. When anyone needs to talk, no matter how big or small the conversation, they always say ‘let’s get together for coffee.'” And that is what Koffee Brown does – they get together and discuss love in its entirety.
The album Mars/Venus contains the smooth, danceable single After Party. They also flex their vocal muscles on the smoothed-out songs Chick On Da Side, Qualify, and All I Need (Bonnie & Clyde). Blackout, a rough, street-love jam showcases Vee’s harder edge; she raps on the track like a true veteran. And then there’s the totally off-the-meter, red-light slow jam “Haters Disease.” Stories of true love, creeping, cheating and getting back together gorgeously unfold throughout the album. Vee and Fonz possess an unheard tenderness that translates itself on their debut album Mars/Venus quite well.
Ask Koffee Brown what they want most out of life and they’ll both tell you straight up: to have the world feel our music.
Now, watch the cream rise!