Anitra Brooks

Musician, singer-songwriter, actor, educator.

Singer-songwriter and musician Anitra Brooks is in love with the truth.  She writes songs for the sheer satisfaction it brings her, keeping in mind something her mother always told her: "There are many lies, but only one truth." Anitra wants her songs to live in this world - no matter how absurd the thought, frightening the dream or difficult the circumstance that inspired them - because they are true.   

With a resonant contralto encompassing all five natural elements - equal parts earth, fire, water, air and ether - Anitra is unique among women singers. The alluring timbre and warmth of her voice ranges in expression from tantalizing and ethereal to soulful and grounded. Her voice has been described as giving the feeling of "being held in your mother's arms" and "spine-tingling when it drops like a bazillion octaves".  The songs she creates are an eclectic blend of pop, jazz, folk and blues with a side of reggae and Latin.  Her music - which often comes to her while she is dreaming - is infused with inspiration drawn from some of her favorite artists:  Lila Downs, Lhasa de Sela, Bjork, Ozomatli, Peter Gabriel, Esthero, D'Angelo, Prince.  Every night brings endless musical possiblilties. 

Anitra learned to play lots of instruments as a child including the piano, metallophone, viola and saxophone. In the second decade of her life she developed a love of fretted instruments and learned to play the banjo and ukelele, and now accompanies most of her songs on the uke.  

Anitra's singing career began in high school when she figured out how to add a harmony part to the Star-Spangled Banner which she and her cheerleading co-captain eventually sang at all of the basketball games. In college she sang with and soon became the primary song-arranger and  musical director of Brown University's award-winning a cappella group The Chattertocks.  After college, she toured the world with Big Nazo, the internationally known Drama Desk Award-nominated puppet performers and masked musicians, opening for a range of artists from James Brown to The Village People.  Complementing that experience, she studied and performed with Grisha Coleman, founder/composer/choreographer of Hot Mouth, the Drama Desk Award-nominated "bad-ass masters of vocalogy".  She has also written songs for a number of plays (which she also acted in) in New York City, including Suzan-Lori Parks' 365 Days 365 Plays performed at The Public Theater.