Owen Valentine: The Science of Sound
By Kharisma McIlwaine
Owen Brown, known to many as “Fiidla”, is widely recognized as a virtuoso. The vocalist, violinist, multi-instrumentalist and vocal coach to the stars, has spent his career carving a lane that is truly his own. Brown, who recently rebranded himself as Owen Valentine, did so with great intention. The name ‘Owen Valentine’ translates into “Prince of Healthy and Strong.” The dual hats he wears as Owen Valentine the performer and Dr. Owen Brown the naturopathic vocal coach, have allowed him to continue to lend his expertise to the music world.
Born in London, Brown became a transplant of Philadelphia and attended Temple University. Brown’s path to becoming one of the most sought after vocal coaches in the country, was one that occurred as a result of happenstance. Brown said, “I was a serious jazz singer at one point. What happened was, people kept asking me “How did you do that?” That was initially the start. I was helping people figure out a particular run, riff, or how to hit this or that note. I didn’t want to do it… I once swore I would never be a teacher. It wasn’t something I wanted to do, but I kept doing it. Eventually I realized that not only was I good at it but I liked it. I ended up finding a passion that I didn’t know was hidden in me.”
That hidden passion has been instrumental in the careers of some of the most established singers in the business. Brown has coached Earth, Wind & Fire, Jill Scott, Lil Kim, Mary J. Blige, David Hollister, Mario, Boyz II Men and many more. After six to seven years, Brown became serious about teaching and found himself teaching as many as eight to ten sessions a day. Additionally, Brown was hired as a vocal coach for some of the biggest labels in the world including; J Records, Sony Music, Atlantic, Hidden Beach and Interscope. As non-conventional paths go, Brown found himself on yet another journey to creation.
After spending many years as both a voice teacher and a performer, Brown noticed how many singers were getting sick. There was an absolute need and niche for something that could help them combat illness, vocal fatigue, and injury. Encouraged by his own naturopath Dr. Frank Wyatt to explore, Brown went back to school and received his doctorate in naturopathic medicine. After five years of research, testing, and trial and error, Brown created the SMT “Save My Throat” formula. His invention would later save his voice and the voices of many others. “I invented the formula after receiving a serious vocal injury myself. I swallowed a piece of broken glass that was in a glass of water while on the road. That was the reason I invented it… nothing existed that was getting my voice back, [and] there was nothing out there that would actually fix my voice.” Brown added, “And Western medicine, the first thing they want to do is charge you $2000 to stick a camera down your throat and that can make it worse so I kept looking for another option.
Now the voice doctor, the voice teacher, and naturopath had to find his own answers… and I did. I’ve had a 100 percent success rate with SMT. It’s an all-herbal formula that I brew and combine through a process. It literally repairs voices.” Thankfully for the music world, SMT will be on the market and available for purchase very soon at www.drowenbrownjrnd.com.
After a lifetime of creating, developing, and nurturing his career and the careers of many others, Owen Valentine is stepping to the forefront yet again for another performance. Valentine will take his eclectic mix of soul and jazz vocals reminiscent of D’Angelo, Eric Benét and Maxwell and pair it with his own orchestra, Urban Classique. Urban Classique, includes live strings, a trumpet, piano, guitar, and bass,vocals lead by Valentine and his five string electric violin.
The Science of Sound 2 show will take place on September 9th at The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street in Philadelphia. In addition to Valentine and Urban Classique, the show will also feature guitarist Gab Guma. Doors open at 7:00 PM, the show begins at 7:30pm. Tickets are available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-science-of-sound-2-groove-able-notions-tickets-36552065211. Purchase your tickets while they last… this is a musical experience you don’t want to miss!
'A desperate cry for help.' 400 busted Philly school instruments revived for Symphony for a Broken Orchestra
by Samantha Melamed, Staff Writer
Updated: NOVEMBER 20, 2017 — 3:08 PM EST
Owen Brown, band leader of Urban Classique and a former member of the Sun Ra Arkestra, had a different take: “I think it’s going to sounds like a desperate cry for help—which is exactly what’s going on.”
Su Spina normally plays kettledrums. But when she went to pick up the instrument she’d be playing in the Symphony for a Broken Orchestra — a new composition for 400 amateur and professional musicians all playing broken instruments from the Philadelphia public schools — her options were limited.
“Would you prefer a violin without strings? Or an autoharp?” Andy Theirauf asked her.
Spina, 22, a recent college graduate who studied music at Franklin & Marshall, said if knocking on a broken violin for 40 minutes is what it takes to get these instruments fixed, she’s in.
“I started music when I was in elementary school,” she said. “So, knowing a whole bunch of students in the Philadelphia School District don’t even have access to instruments, I wanted to be a part of anything that helps.”
The project — conceived by Robert Blackson, director of the Temple Contemporary art gallery — is part crowdfunding campaign to fix the instruments (adopt one at symphonyforabrokenorchestra.org) and part avant-garde music experiment, with a score from Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang.
Its world premiere is Dec. 3 at the 23rd Street Armory. It is a one-night-only event: After that, the instruments will be repaired and returned to schools.
But, it may be the start of something even bigger.
“We’ve gotten many, many, many requests from school districts all around the country,” Lang said. They want to perform his symphony with their own broken orchestras. “To me, that’s a really beautiful thing — that it has given other people the opportunity to imagine how they can help to fix their own instruments.”
The Inquirer and Daily News first covered the launch of the project in February. The work started with collecting the instruments, and cataloging the special way in which each one is broken: horns with stuck valves and long-lost mouthpieces; violins and cellos missing bridges, let alone strings.
INDIANA UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
ALUMNUS “FIIDLA” BROWN TO PRESENT CONCERT IN NEW YORK’S LINCOLN CENTER
Posted on 2/4/2014 11:31:05 AM
Music alumnus Owen “Fiidla” Brown ’96 will perform at Lincoln Center in New York City on February 14, 2014. This will be the first, highly anticipated collaboration between Emmy award-winning tap dancer Jason Samuels Smith and the noted musicians of the Fiidla Brown Quartet.
The work is based on the rhythmical and creative elements rooted in the African American experience, and is a musical response to the acclaimed film 12 Years a Slave.
Owen has performed with the Sun Ra Arkestra, Gil Scot Heron, and a host of other legendary figures from the jazz and hip-hop world. He completed his Master of Music Degree in Performance in 1996, studying with IUP Music Professor Stanley Chepaitis.
The performance takes place at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center. For more information and program updates, visit the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center website.