Hippy chick or cash machine- cum-karma merchant?
MEREDITH BROOKS unveils her destiny. Words: Alastair Mabbott
"l‘here is so much depth to that song it‘s not even funny.’ says Meredith Brooks. And she’s not joking. In the months since her pop anthem ‘Bitch‘ stormed the international charts like a berserk rhino, she’s been catapulted from guitar-toting wannabe to stardom.
So why isn’t ‘Biteh’. for all its cheery, self- satisfied positivity, a laughing matter? Aside from the colossal pull it exerted over radio programmers everywhere, it was one of those bits which can tell you a great deal about the culture that made it succeed. lt surely merits more than just a footnote somewhere that America embraced and understood a song which is a boiled-down summary of Jung’s theory of archetypes.
A woman with leanings of a decidedly New Age persuasion — she has always had a keen interest in psychology and spirituality, learned the secrets of astral projection early and now has a helpful guru who frequently wraps her up like a mummy and tones her bodily energy centres with sound — Meredith Brooks clearly has her finger on the pulse. Ten. or even five, years ago, the singer agrees, that song ‘would have bombed’.
‘lt was timing. without a doubt,’ she says. ‘I spoke from a consciousness that was happening on a greater level. I don‘t think I
‘The more I get the less I care about any of it. What's really important to me is how I feel.’ Meredith Brook
said anything that everyone didn’t already get, it was just that nobody had quite said it that way.
Whether or not she continues in music, Brooks is convinced that her role is to be a healer in some way. Blurring The Edges, the album, was conceived less as a bunch of songs than as a source people could draw strength from. a statement with a consistent ‘theory and psychology‘ behind it.
‘Hopefully. they will see that I’m very human and I’m writing about subjects that . . .’ she hesitates before continuing. ‘l‘m taking not so much a mature approach but definitely an evolved approach to life. In other words, you can’t sit in the muck and mire forever. Maybe when you’re nineteen it’s fun to wallow. but when you get into your twenties you feel that. wait a minute, life’s too short, I wanna live in a more positive way.’
She's risen to that challenge, using the extraordinary leverage of ‘Bitch’ to see to it that she has enviable control over her career. Is she hard-headed in her business dealings?
‘Hard-headed‘.’ I‘m very much involved with every aspect of my business. There isn’t anything I don‘t know about. and every decision goes through me.‘
But is it only a matter of time before her spiritual and business philosophies will clash, now that she‘s a player in what is, after all. a very materialistic industry? ‘I don’t look at spirituality as being non-materialistie,‘ she replies. ‘I think manifesting is one of the most spiritual things in the world, because I think what keeps us from manifesting is emotional blocks and when we’ve come through the blocks that keep us from manifesting then we‘ve evolved.’
By ‘manit'esting‘, she means things like making money or making opportunities happen — which provokes the image of hordes of Yuppie Buddhists chanting for success in the 80s. Brooks, however. has her way around this, and her answer suggests other reasons why such large numbers might be identifying with her.
‘When money doesn’t come to us I believe it‘s because we have blocks that keep it from us, not because we can‘t make it,’ she says. ‘I think often times we‘re sabotaging in some way or we’re not allowing it to come to us. Though I find the more you‘re able to manifest in the world, on a material level, actually my opinion is you’re more spiritual, because you‘re more evolved. What also should come with that is detachment. And it’s true, the more I get the less I care about any of it. What‘s really important to me is how I feel.‘
So it’s not simply a growing acceptance of New Age philosophies that’s put Meredith Brooks where she is, but perhaps a sense of relief at the arrival of a new star who says it’s okay to be spiritual and make money too. Not ajoke, at all.
Meredith Brooks plays The Old Fruitmarket. Glasgow on Thu 19 Feb. See music listings.
Meredith Brooks: it's okay to be spiritual and make money too
6—19 Feb 1998TI|EU8123