Miss Willie Brown Tell the Story of Their Band Name, Background and New EP
Hot new duo Miss Willie Brown have been creating a buzz in Music City in recent months, as they've been working with famed producer Keith Stegall on their first full-length album on A&M/Octone Records. Their unique talent sets them apart from any other duo out there and even caught the ear of late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, who had the girls on his show. Their appearance on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' was the first time an unsigned band had stepped foot on the show for a live performance.
Onstage, the two have a dynamic that some artists only dream about having with their powerful vocals and stellar song selection, of which most are self-penned tunes. Offstage, they are just as dynamic. Amanda Watkins and Kasey Buckley are down-to-earth and charming. Their passion for music shines through as they both share the same dream of making it big in the world of country music.
Miss Willie Brown are currently in the midst of the 2011 Jagermeister Country Tour, featuring Dierks Bentley and Josh Thompson. Their debut self-titled EP is now available for purchase through iTunes here, and their first single, 'Sick of Me,' will it radio in the coming weeks. Taste of Country is thrilled about introducing you to Miss Willie Brown!
Tell us the story of how you two met.
Watkins: We started out in California. We met at Baby Blues BBQ, a place in Venice. I was the new girl there, and Kasey ran the place, pretty much [laughs]. She's so welcoming and kind, and she came up to me and said, "Hey, I heard you play music." I was so glad she was talking to me! I was like, "I do!" She said, "We should get together and write." I had done the writing thing in Nashville before, straight out of high school, and it didn’t go so well for me. So I thought you know what, I’m going to give this a try because I need to have friends here. We got together that night, and we wrote four songs. One of those songs landed on our EP. So that was the start of everything. It was pretty much a full couple of years of waitressing, writing, rehearsing our band and working our tails off.
How did you come up with the name Miss Willie Brown?
Watkins: There’s this song called 'Big Willie Brown' which is about Kasey’s father. In trying to come up with names at work while we were serving barbecue, we wrote down a ton of things, but nothing really stuck to us. Then we were like, well … what about Miss Willie Brown? Because in the old days, the woman took the full man’s name. That kind of sounds cool, and we’re bluesy and we have a lot of soul. We thought that encompasses who we are as human beings when we’re together. The name stuck and everybody liked it, so we went with it. The coolest thing about it is when you look at it, it’s MWB. My last name is Watkins and her last name is Buckley. Not even knowing that … I think that is really cool. It was totally on accident.
How was it to work in the studio on your debut album/EP?
Watkins: It was good, but it was scary. It was scary because we had done everything on our own prior to this. We’d never handed music over to a producer and been like, "Here, what do your ears hear on this?" It was definitely a scary thing, but it’s been amazing.
Buckley: We were very relaxed in the studio because Keith Stegall created a platform for us to be very relaxed. He’s so laid back.
Was it important for you to write a lot of the songs?
Buckley: We love writing. That is how we came together. That’s what we were born out of but we, a long time ago, decided and made an agreement that whatever was best for the album and whatever is best for Miss Willie Brown would concur all. We wanted to make the best album that we could make, regardless if we wrote anything on it or not.
Watkins: She is 100% right. We will do what’s best for the band. To be honest, what it’s looking like [is] it’s all songs that we’ve co-written.
What strengths does the other person bring to the table that make up Miss Willie Brown?
Buckley: She brings focus like melodically and musically. I am very good at telling stories and feeling things and seeing things and putting myself out there whether it be fashion wise or words or the way I am with my personality. She brings it in. She’s like mama. She’s so good. She makes sure everything is even for us. Where I’m kind of crazy and outside of the bounds, she brings balance to it in a way. She can write a chorus like you wouldn’t believe, and she's also very soulful as a singer.
Watkins: I think it’s funny because everything that are my weaknesses are her strengths. Most of her weaknesses are my strengths. Like she said, she’s great at telling a story. I’m really good at getting to the point. When we write, in the beginning, it was very much like, "Hey, here’s the chorus I wrote." She’d be like, "Here’s your story!" Then, when it comes to our live show, and I’m going to reiterate it’s not so much like this anymore because being with each other and knowing your weaknesses and bouncing it off the other person, your weaknesses can become strengths. In the beginning, Kasey is really good at talking and entertaining a crowd, and I was really nervous about it. I will sing the hell out of a song and I will jump all over that stage, but I was real nervous about talking. That was huge! That really helped a lot. Kasey also has a very strong voice. It’s a lower alto voice. It has this thing that nobody else has. She doesn’t sound like a regular country singer. It’s like this emotional, raw voice. Me, on the other hand, I’ve had a lot of training and I have a higher voice. Mine is more focused and round. When you put it together, it just makes sense, and we don’t know why but it does.
Watch Miss Willie Brown Behind the Scenes in the Studio