2014 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

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Role models who give us Reasons to Believe in the power of education

Norman Brown

Wyandotte High School, 1982

Nedra BondsNorman Brown is a Grammy award-winning musician who has been engaging audiences for more than two decades. The multitalented guitarist, composer and singer is known for his rhythm and blues and contemporary jazz.

Brown grew up with parents who appreciated classic jazz music. Guitar music was always around and he began playing the guitar at the age of eight. He said he was nine years old when his father realized he was serious about the guitar so he sat him down and had him listen to the music of his favorite artist, Wes Montgomery. It changed everything for Brown and he found his stylistic holy grail. It was during his high school years at Wyandotte that he fully developed his musical style for which he is known today.

After graduating from high school, Brown moved to Los Angeles to pursue his musical career attending The Guitar Institute of Technology (now called the Musician’s Institute) where he also taught for a time. He began writing his own music and developing his own sound and performed in local clubs. People began comparing him with George Benson, and soon he was discovered and signed to the MoJazz label, a division of Motown. By that time, he had written more than 100 songs.

His debut alum “Just Between Us” was released in 1992, and was followed with the gold-certified “After the Storm” and then “Better Days Ahead” in 1996. He has released a total of nine solo albums, and two albums with his BWB band which includes saxophonist Kirk Whalum and trumpeter Rick Braun.

In addition to his success as a musician and producer, Brown has launched a successful career as a broadcaster. In 2007, he brought his engaging personality to Broadcast Architecture’s Smooth Jazz Network as an on-air personality, hosting his own weekend radio show.