I am Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes. Ask Me Anything.

Our latest album “Sound & Color” is available now: http://smarturl.it/shakes-scitunes

Catch us on tour! http://www.alabamashakes.com/tour/

Watch our performance of “Joe” on COLBERT from earlier this week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7APKju97GJg

Social Media Links



Proof: https://twitter.com/Alabama_Shakes/status/657673744853377024

I heard you guys used to do Black Sabbath covers. Which is your favorite?

Fairies Wear Boots.

Great question. Thank you.

What inspired your little speech before your set this year at Bonnaroo? It sounded extremely heartfelt and sincere. Did you get a chance to check out any sets after/before yours?

I was overwhelmed by how many people were out there. It was emotional to see how far we had come from the last time we played. I did check out kendrick lamar for a bit. But, then i split to get some rest. I was tired. It was the last night of tour.

Do you have a song of yours that’s a personal favorite?

Over My head

In your young career so far what performance/moment/venue/award/whatever stands out as the biggest holy shit! moment?

Playing at Prince’s house. Holy Shit.

What’s your dream collaboration?

My dream collaboration is:

Alive: Probably would like to work with Bjork and Prince

How did your performance with Sir Paul McCartney come to fruition?

Paul’s managers reached out to us a few weeks before and asked if I would be up for it. I guess it was because we were playing on the same stage back to back. We then discussed which song, went through some options and landed on Get Back. It was quite the experience. They treated me really well. I won’t forget it.

Which performances in your life have been the most memorable and why?

My most memorable show is the first time in Boston and played the Paradise. It wasn’t a big show, but the crowd was so alive and loud. It felt like everything was on at that point. I also remember the show in Dublin, we met a shaman who said a hindu prayer for us and it led to an amazing show.

Can you tell me something awesome or interesting about each member of the band?

Yes Zac is really good at math Steve is really interested in primitive survival Heath is a great artist Me, i am good with names

You worked for the US Postal Service. What is your favorite commemorative stamp?

Martin Luther King, Jr. Big hero of mine.

On the Shakes’ last release ‘The Greatest’ at 1:20 is that considered a time sig. change or tempo change?

Great question. It’s a change of rhythm, still in 4/4

Do you find that you enjoy playing at live festivals more than regular shows?

My favorite thing about performing is a great audience so I am happy either way. Could be a theater show, club show, festival stage, when the audience is great I get super into it.

If you could create your dream festival lineup, what 5 acts would you book?

Open the day with a performance by Sly & the Family Stone, and then relax the mood a bit with Simon & Garfunkel, next up Buena Vista Social Club, then of course Led Zeppelin and then close with Queen.

What’s your favorite venue to play and why?

My favorite venue is the Greek Theatre in Berkeley

When did you start to realize you had a lot of traction with people as a band? Was there a particular moment that stands out or did it kind of creep up?

It crept up. Back in 2012, when we started touring in far away places and there were a lot of people there. It felt a bit surreal, like how do these people know about us. I remember one time specifically at the Belly Up in San Diego. There were 600 people in line. I was like “Wow”.

So who is your favorite EDM artist?


What’s your favourite planet or moon to perform on so far?

Neptune for sure

With the recent success of Alabama based musicians and bands (Ya’ll, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, DBT, Jason Isbell etc…), who do think will be the next Alabama based act to “break through” in terms of commercial success? Who is the best Alabama act no ones heard of?

We are big fans of Lee Bains and Dexateens. I haven’t been home enough to see local music. Let me get back to you.

How does that feel knowing that you have fans all over the world at this point. Is that weird that people all over the planet now talk about you?

It is surreal. I am just an ordinary person like anyone else. It is pretty strange now that you bring it up. It is really great.

Who were your biggest musical influences growing up?

Growing up, Chuck Berry or Elvis Pressley

What advice can you give a 25 year old who is just starting to play guitar? Is it ever too late?

It is never too late. My advice would be to only play what you are interested in playing because you will stick to it. Don’t follow fads. When your fingers start hurting, give them time to heal, but don’t take too much time off

Has Bo Hicks ever not been the coolest person in the room?

He always is the coolest. Duh. He is the mayor. Vote Bo 2016.

What are your favorite pizza toppings?

pineapple and pepperoni and onions

As an Athens resident, what is your favorite place to eat and why is it the taco truck?

Sabor Latino, the best torta i have ever had in the entire world. Beyond amazing, 800 hwy 72 west.

You sing with the most soul I’ve ever heard from an artist. When you began performing in front of crowds of thousands, how nervous were you? Did you have any specific (maybe funny) things you thought of to calm anxiety?

I am like anyone else, i get nervous in certain situations. i try to not think of things and just remember that we are all human beings. It is great having other people on stage with me and to think that we are all going through the same thing.

I’ve noticed that you and your band are very involved with the community, especially when performing events in their town (i.e. volunteer for an event where you perform and get to watch you for free). What inspired y’all to do this? And will you do this again?

Our community is the world to us. We will definitely be doing more of it.

Can you recommend me some tracks by other musicians to check out? Maybe some of your favorite songs?

Ave Maria by Aaron Neville Like the morning dew by Laura MvVula I’m Sorry you’re sick by Ted Hawkins Ain’t no stopin’ by Sister Nancy Hot Dreams by Timber Timbre

Who designs your dresses?? They are amazing!!

Thanks. It is Christian Joy. Besides being a great designer, she is just an incredible human being.

Do you still go out to eat, put gas in your car, stuff like that? In bands of your size who handles finances?

We have accountants and I do everything myself. I actually just got up to sweep my porch for a second.

If you could teach the world one thing, what would it be?

To be more understanding

What song makes you cry and do you see sounds?

I see sounds as colors. Little Green Apples by Tony Joe White

How does it feel to be in the musical spotlight? Do you ever wish you could go back to the days when you weren’t as widely known?

That is a good question. Yeah, sometimes i do quite frankly. I am really proud and happy with our success, but i also do love going home and hibernating and being normal Brittany from Athens, not Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to other females trying to break through in the music industry?

Forget you are female. Music does not have a gender.

When did you realize that you wanted to be a musician ?

when I was 11 and I saw my first live concert in our high school gym

What’s your go-to sandwich?

a nice patty melt

What are you listening to these days? Favorite artists out now?

Laura MvVula, harry Nillson, Gregory Porter

Favorite guitar?

classical guitar

As someone that’s been to 7 Bonnaroo festivals, I’ve gotten the opportunity to see you twice, once on a tent stage, and then this past year on the What stage (both were incredible btw) and I’d just like to know what the experience is like playing at a festival of that size. Also, how does it feel to go from the more intimate tent stage to the massive field that sits in front of the Which stage?

Both shows had a ton of electricity. Bonnaroo is a really special festival. It’s all about the music. Both shows were awesome. It was pretty emotional to step on that main stage this year to that many people.

As your catalog expands can you see your band changing up the set lists on a per show basis like Pearl Jam?

We do mix it up a bit. But, I think it will happen more as we get more songs in the repertoire.

Has anyone ever mistaken you for the wrong age? I was surprised to find out you were only 27!

Some days i wake up and look 45, sometimes i act more my age or younger. Yes.

Can you talk about your songwriting process? “Joe” and “Hold On” sound extremely personal and powerful, do you handle all of the songwriting and take from personal experience?

Songwriting comes from a lot of sources, sometimes personal, sometimes it can be other people’s experiences, other times it is completely fictional

Your lyrics are truly captivating and ripe with emotion. Are there any lyricists or poets that inspire you in your writing?

I am inspired by a lot of people, the best thing is to write what is true and what you know about.

I was at the Pegasus show in Florence in 2011. Did you expect everything to happen so fast after that?

Definitely did not expect it to happen this quickly. Not in a million years. I do remember meeting Patterson Hood that night and i was so excited that he actually liked our music. Everything after that has been pretty surreal.