Danielle Brisebois

Brisebois-01ADanielle Brisebois is an American pop/rock singer, songwriter and producer, born in Brooklyn, NY, on June 28, 1969. Brisebois released two of the best and most underrated pop albums of the ’90s that you never heard. But, she actually started out, in the ’70s, destined to become a future former child TV star. She played Stephanie Mills, a 10-year-old taken in by the Bunkers, on the last season of the classic sitcom All In the Family (1978-79) and its spin-off Archie Bunker’s Place (1979-1983).Brisebois-02 Her legacy would have ended with that role, but, in 1992, she met a talented singer/songwriter named Gregg Alexander, her music soul mate. Alexander co-wrote and produced both of Brisebois’ solo albums, Brisebois joined him in his short-lived band New Radicals, and together they began writing and producing for other artists.

Danielle Brisebois’ debut, Arrive All Over You (1994), was dripping with Gregg Alexander’s distinctive blue-eyed soul meets pop/rock sound and Brisebois’ tuneful screams made you feel her pain as she sang, mostly, about the downside of love. The album included gems like the lead single “What If God Fell From the Sky”, “Crawling”, “Promise Tomorrow Tonight” (a duet with Alexander), and the undeniably catchy “Gimme Little Sign” (a cover of a 1967 soul classic by Brenton Wood). But, it also included Brisebois’ first signature song, “Just Missed the Train”, which she re-recorded for her second album. “Just Missed the Train” has since been covered by many other artists including Kelly Clarkson and Norwegian singer Trine Rein, as well as influential Japanese rocker Shiina Ringo who, by the way, is my favorite female Japanese rocker ever.

Watch the video for “What If God Fell From the Sky” here:

Now, I thought I was the only one with a dirty mind who thought the title of her debut was a double entendre, but I wasn’t alone and I was right. Watch Danielle on Howard Stern’s radio show promoting the album here:

In 1998, Danielle Brisebois joined Gregg Alexander as a member of his band New Radicals whose excellent album Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too yielded the huge hit single “You Get What You Give”. Believe me, you know the song. Brisebois also co-wrote the second single “Someday We’ll Know”, which was covered by Mandy Moore and Jon Foreman (of Switchfoot) for the 2002 movie A Walk To Remember. I love the line: “I’m speeding by the place that I met you / For the 97th time … tonight!” Sadly, New Radicals soon collapsed under the weight of their own fame.

Watch Danielle playing bongos in the video for “Someday We’ll Know” here:

After the demise of New Radicals, Danielle Brisebois recorded, with Gregg Alexander, her amazing second solo album, Portable Life. The album was supposed to be released in 1999, but only promotional copies surfaced for which I paid $50 for one! The album was officially released, digitally, in 2008. Portable Life is best comparedBrisebois-03 to Alanis Morissette‘s Jagged Little Pill (1995) but with a dash of Alexander’s blue-eyed soul. The album included an even better version of “Just Missed the Train”, and her second signature song “Need a Little Love”, whose line “I’m so famous, I’m unknown,” could be the title of Brisebois’ autobiography. Other amazing tracks are “I’ve Had It”, “Five Friends”, “Give Me a Day” and the snarling “Stop It Hurts You’re Killing Me Don’t Stop”. But, the best song on this album, by far, is the heart-wrenching “If I Died Tonight You’d Have to Think of Me” which is about an suicide threat driven by obsessive love spurned. “This pain won’t go away, though I want it to,” she sings, achingly. “This pain won’t go away / But if I died tonight you’d have to think of me / I need to know, would you even cry?” Brilliant, and sadly beautiful.

No video, but listen to “If I Died Tonight You’d Have to Think of Me” here:

And, listen to the best version of “Just Missed the Train” here:

In 2001, Danielle Brisebois and Gregg Alexander co-wrote and produced the debut album, Ultimate High, for an up-and-coming Irish pop singer named Carly Hennessy, and it was another pretty awesome but sadly overlooked album. Hennessy covered both “Just Missed the Train” and “Need a Little Love”, while “Rip In Heaven” (written by Brisebois alone) and “No One’s Safe From Goodbyes” (written by Alexander, Brisebois and Hennessy) are stunning new tracks. In the latter, Hennessy sings: “When I woke up yesterday / I threw my heart down on the floor / So please be careful where you step / When you’re walking out the door.” I love that! Carly Hennessey became Carly Smithson and redefined herself as a tattooed hard rock chick who went on to become the 6th place finalist on the 7th season of American Idol. Then, she hooked up with Ben Moody (ex-Evanescence) and formed the gothic rock band We Are the Fallen which was, basically, Evanescence without Amy Lee. But, it’s not bad.

Listen to Danielle’s demo version of “Rip In Heaven” here:

Anyway, Danielle Brisebois has also written and produced songs for many other artists including Natasha Bedingfield (“Unwritten” and “Pocketful of Sunshine”) and Leona Lewis (“Alive” and “Let It Rain”), among others. But, more importantly, she also co-wrote “Here’s To Us” with Lzzy Hale for Lzzy’s band Halestorm‘s latest album The Strange Case Of… (2012). Need I say more?

Brisebois-04Danielle Brisebois (Solo) Discography
1994.05.10 – Arrive All Over You [Album]
1999 – Portable Life (released digitally 2008.09.30) [Album]
2006.09.26 – Just Missed the Train [Best Album]

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6 responses to “Danielle Brisebois

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  5. Danielles first solo-Album did get audience in Europe but totaly flopped in USA because of a huge lack of PR

    the album and some of the singles charted in some char-list of Europes countrys but never reach gold/platina status

    the album is in my “top five” of the 90s so i must say you right about her

    used to talk to her on myspace some years ago

  6. Pingback: Danielle Brisebois « Girls, Guns & Zombies!·

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