The Brown Sisters have been singing together for more than 20 years. Well-known in their home city of Chicago, they’ve shared the stage with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Bobby McFerrin and Mavis Staples. For the last 12 years they’ve traveled throughout Europe singing at concerts and festivals, and have continued to perform as backup singers in the United States. The sisters decided that now was the right time for them to release their own CD, The Brown Sisters Live in Chicago.
What prompted this quintet to finally step out on their own with an album? Eldest sister Vanessa Brown Dukes says it was a simple desire to sing God’s praises and to offer songs with positive messages that will uplift and deliver people during these tough times. That sense of hope rings throughout the album, on which four of the five sisters collaborated with other writers for songs that declare God as an “Awesome God” and the “King of Glory.”
“You Reign Lord,” Dukes says, “talks about how our God reigns in every situation, over sickness, death, poverty, any kind of depression, any kind of situation you find yourself in He reigns in these situations.” Capturing the essence of live recordings, the song ends with the sisters testifying about how God brought their mother back from death’s door. “It’s a real powerful testimony about what God is doing, and that we serve a God who is able,” Dukes says.
The Brown Sisters know part of their calling as a group is to walk in unity and love. Yet it’s their obvious affection and respect for one another that often garners the most attention from those who meet them for the first time. “We want to display God’s love in our music and in our ministry,” Dukes explains. “You have so much hatred going around. … We just really want to display the love of God.”
Because of the highs and lows that they’ve experienced as a family, the sisters have held onto Ephesians 3:20: “Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.”
“He is doing it right now,” Dukes says, referring to the new album, which releases today and features a variety of musical styles. “We have a little upbeat, we have a little worship, we have a little calypso, we have a little Latin flavor. … We’ve got the down-home churchy feel. We’ve got a lot of stuff on there. You won’t be bored, I can tell you that much,” she says with a chuckle.