Los Angeles-based sibling duo the Belle Brigade were recently featured in an installment of the GRAMMY Museum's Homegrown series, which spotlights up-and-coming local artists. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, Barbara and Ethan Gruska discussed their musical influences and the creative process behind their 2011 self-titled debut album. The duo also performed a brief set, including "Losers" and "Where Not To Look For Freedom."
"I remember that [song] being done and us feeling, lyrically, that we had been pretty real," said Ethan Gruska regarding "Losers." "For the first record, that was the one that talked about who we were as people the most."
Barbara and Ethan Gruska were born into a musical family. Their father, Jay Gruska, is a film/TV composer and their grandfather is 21-time GRAMMY-winning composer John Williams. The duo studied music in both high school and college and became adept at multiple instruments: Barbara plays drums and guitar while Ethan plays piano and guitar.
They formed a band in 2008 and began writing songs, with the results showcasing rich harmonies and musical elements reminiscent of classic folk and pop artists such as Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Fleetwood Mac, and the Everly Brothers. One of their compositions, "Sweet Louise," caught the attention of Warner Bros. executive Lenny Waronker, who subsequently signed the duo. Released in 2011, their debut album, The Belle Brigade, has been described by the Los Angeles Times as containing "a dozen California pop gems." The album was co-produced with Matthew Wilder (Kelly Clarkson, No Doubt) and features the singles "Losers" and "Where Not To Look For Freedom." In 2012 the duo contributed a cover of "No Time To Think" to Chimes Of Freedom — The Songs Of Bob Dylan (Honoring 50 Years Of Amnesty International). The Belle Brigade are currently working on their sophomore album.
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include An Evening With California Saga (July 10) and Abbey Road To Ziggy Stardust: The Talk With Producer Ken Scott (July 19).
For more information on the GRAMMY Museum, visit http://www.grammymuseum.org/.