For seven years, Brittani Washington has served as the lead keyboardist for Beyoncé. Traveling the world with this generation’s premier superstar allowed her to hone her skills in music, business and prepared her for a solo venture.
While touring to promote her debut album Space for Music, Washington spoke with rolling out about her new solo career and life touring with Beyoncé.
How were you introduced to music?
I started out at the age of playing keyboard in my father’s church. I come from a musically inclined background. I played in my father’s church for 21 years. I wanted to create feel good music.
You were able to tour and serve as keyboardist for Beyonce. How did that come about?
A friend told me the night before that there was an audition. Once I got there, I realized it was for Beyoncé, who was looking to put together an all-girl band. It’s unusual to see an all-female band so I thought that was interesting. I auditioned in front of Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Mathew Knowles, Tina Knowles and Kelly Rowland. I made the finals. Six days later, I did the 2006 BET Awards. That was my first TV performance.
What did you learn most from that experience?
I’ve learned that it takes time and dedication to put into music. A lot of artists sit back and let other people handle things. Beyoncé is very hands-on. She knows everything that’s going on. I also got a chance to play with 10 different females from across the country. They taught me so much. I was young and straight out of church. I learned to relax and look at everything that’s going on around me.
What has been your biggest challenge?
The challenge is that a lot of labels have come to me and tried to make me another Rihanna or pop star. I’m 100 percent a musician. That’s what I live for. I can’t dumb myself down for that audience. Music speaks for itself. A lot of times, we don’t give music the credit for being so powerful. We try to tweak it and add glamour to it. It’s more entertaining for me to hear raw organic music.