The artist-actor and songwriter known as B. Notes is foremost a businessman. He’s the founder of Camilien Music Group, his own music publishing company. Ever heard of artists like Kanye West, Trey Songz, Lil Wayne, Jennifer Lopez, Jason Derulo, and Taylor Swift? Well, he’s worked with the producers on tracks for all of these artists. Born in Haiti, the now-artist and producer moved to Brooklyn when he was a pre-teen.
For his newly-released sixteen-track EP entitled This Isn’t For Everybody, he worked with a variety of producers in the New York area, including Soundwriter Music, JCanan, Downtown Music, DJ Shaw-T, Jcaspersen. The song “Laurie” rings so true you wonder if “Laurie” isn’t a real-life ex-girlfriend. The singer pleads, wishing for her comeback. But the lyrics state the ugly truth: she gave too many changes, and forgave too many transgressions. It was her time to go, and close the chapter and the book on the relationship forever. Produced by the c.u.b.s, and with producer-singer Elliot “Wolf Brown” providing background support, the track has all the emotions of a 1970s soul song, and all the earnestness of a Jodeci or Mint Condition track.
Produced by Diamond Style, “100K Miles” speak of finding fulfilling love at last. “Ride with Me” is a collaboration with producers Maskerade and Beats Hooks. B.Notes’ vocals seem to have been influenced by John Legend and Akon. Written by B.Notes, as is practically is the case with all of B.Notes songs, this track has the narrator as the victim. Payback for “Laurie”, maybe?
So, how did he get to where he is? Let’s get to the bottom of the story of B.Notes.
Kreyolicious: Tell us about yourself.
Music is my first life. I used to be a barber. I studied premed, music and acting in college. I do work to address social and health inequalities. I’m the oldest of 5. I’m an uncle. An ordinary guy with a goal to surpass expectations. Growing up in the hood was crazy, especially coming from a different culture and now in a whole new world, not being able to speak English. So you get picked on you know. It sometimes felt like survival of the fittest. [Laughter] I got into trouble here and there but music was always my escape or at least a way to deal with the weight of the world. As a singer and rapper, I make R&B, soul, trap, hiphop and pop music but as a songwriter, I write for artists from all genres; country, gospel, kompa, reggae to EDM. I’ve been blessed to work with various talented musicians from the up-and-comings to the Grammy winners. I’ve had a few big placements so far, but I’m grinding to one day win a Grammy myself. [Laughter]
Kreyolicious: A great aspiration to have. Who gave you the name B. Notes?
It was very hard to get a stage name that I was comfortable with. It took me a while to come up with B. Notes, but the process was enjoyable. The “B” is for my birth name “Brignel”, and “Notes” is for the fact that music is made of notes, and music is in my DNA.
Kreyolicious: Why do you think you are drawn to music?
Coming from a place that has extreme poverty, music was one of the best coping mechanisms around. You feel the drums in your heart and the notes in your soul. On top of the poverty, I was somewhat of a lone child. My father traveled to America before I had a chance to meet or remember him and my mother was a go-getter. She had no choice since she was the sole provider. She had a second child, but he passed away about a year after birth. Following his death was my mother’s own passing. So my childhood was something like a nightmare I wish I could wake up from. My family didn’t have the money to buy me toys and there were few recreational activities, so I liked building stuff and since my uncle used to play the guitar and build percussion for the local church, I started helping him. Eventually I learned to play them. My family told me that I used to always move to music and sing when I was a baby. My aunt Antoinette sent me a radio and I used to act like I was a real DJ. [Laughter] Going around with my shades on, playing music. You couldn’t tell me nothing. [Laughter] I was about four or five years old, I think. I knew I wanted to do music for the rest of my life, I just didn’t know how to make that happen. When I came to America, I fell in love with R&B, hip hop, gospel and soul music. But I first had to learn English in order to sing and write the English songs. I used to always sing in church. Dealing with the challenges in the hood required an escape and music and my faith was that for me. Honestly, my reason for learning English was more so that I can sing and write in English. [Laughter] Not really because I wanted to do well in school. When I realized that I was good at making music, my passion only got stronger and I wanted to become a professional, making a living doing it so that I can take care of my family, friends and others in need, especially the people I left back in Haiti.
Kreyolicious: Is the music scene in your hometown pretty exciting?
Absolutely, but it also depends on the type of music you’re making or you’re into. But generally, yes. Brooklyn is one of the most exciting places in the world.
Kreyolicious: What advice would you give to up-and-coming artists? There are so many things I want to share but for the interest of time, I will hit a few of the main points here.
I would say learn the business, work on your craft and be the best you. I used to think if I didn’t sound like my favorite artists, I wasn’t good enough and I think that’s something a lot of upcoming musicians struggle with. But after analyzing the business and the many talented musicians out there, I realized the one thing that they all have in common is that they are the best version of themselves. What I mean is, don’t be afraid to explore your craft and musical abilities but don’t focus so much on trying to sing like Beyonce or rap like Kendrick Lamar or Kanye when your natural voice or flow is more like Drake, Rihanna or Adele. Basically, they are all very talented musicians with great voices, flow and image but at the same time they are all different. No matter how you sound or flow, perfect that and tell your truth, people will listen. The world has billions of people and you just need to connect with those that share your experiences or those your truth resonates with. I myself am still growing everyday and I’ve learned so much over the years from the bad to the great experiences, I can go on for days.
I feel that learning the business is key to having a successful music career. Also, unless you already have an invested inside connect with a big label or have a good buzz on the streets, your precious time will be better spent building your brand as opposed to chasing the labels. Because at the end of the day, it’s mostly about the money to them and they are more likely to choose a person that have more followings and a bigger buzz than a talented musician without those numbers. Because that’s a safer investment, numbers wise. It’s business. So, use the internet to help build your buzz. Get a team. It’s very hard and almost impossible to build a successful brand alone. Once you get enough buzz and traction, the labels will come to you and at that point you may not even need them. Also, humility goes a long way. Don’t let ego stiffen your growth. Use the power of networking. Invest in your music. The closer you get to achieving your dreams, the more hate and negative energy will come your way, but don’t give up or lose focus. Use the negative energy and hate to fuel your drive. Pray. Don’t get discouraged. Every mansion was build starting with one brick. So, don’t ever feel that you can’t do it because you can. Make this year your best year so far.
CHECK OUT BNOTES, HIS MUSIC AND HIS JOURNEY BY VISITING HIS WEBSITE HERE! ARE YOU A MUSICIAN? GET MORE ADVICE FROM BNOTES ABOUT THE MUSIC BUSINESS! | THE ARTIST ON FACEBOOK! | GET A TASTE OF HIS MUSIC HERE!