There are some people you notice in life because there is something about them that is relentlessly intriguing. They are bold because they know boldness is key to achievement. Their personalities are big yet their spirits are humble. They are strong because they fought through something. Their hunger for victory is palpable. Their daily lives though often hectic, are grounded in something much bigger than themselves. Christina “Brave” Williams stands tall among these captivating people with the confidence of a seasoned warrior. Her beautiful glowing mane of blonde curls is an outward manifestation of her inner beauty and strength. There is much more to Brave than having been one fourth of the short-lived yet unforgettable girl group, RichGirl and she is ready to stake her claim in the music industry.
Growing Up Brave
Coming from a very large family – 16 brothers and sisters – out of Baltimore, Maryland, Christina always knew how to fight for what she wanted. At 16-years-old, after an open mic event, she met Grammy award-winning producer, Rich Harrison. “Upon meeting Rich, after doing a very strong spoken word piece he looked at me and called me “brave.” From that moment, the name always stuck.”
She directly signed a contract and went to work. But in a devastating turn of events, she was released from her prized contract, being told she was vocally underdeveloped and the hit single which was originally written for her (“Crazy In Love”) was given to megastar, Beyonce Knowles. When most people would be knocked to their knees, never to recover, Brave's drive was only intensified. “That experience taught me volumes. It prepared me in the sense that you have to have tough skin not only in the business but in this world. I don't deal with rejection well in the sense that I don't accept it. Rejection fuels something in me that forces me to work that much harder so that I know when it’s time to deliver- there’s no room to be turned down.”
Brave, the RichGirl
And she was not turned down when another chance came around three years later. She was prepared. Brave and Rich Harrison crossed paths again in California and she pitched her idea for a new girl group. He liked her idea and they went to work. Having a very specific idea of what she wanted in a group, Brave worked diligently to ensure that each member embodied everything her vision held. “The process for picking the members was a lengthy one because there were certain criteria that I didn't want to negotiate. Each member had to be a believer [in] God and have a true sense that He is our strength. Each girl had to be humble, yet when it was time to turn it on [would be able to] completely turn it on. Each member had to be able to sing and look the part.”
Her sincere desire to create something worth remembering would not let her rest until she reached her goal. “I was so passionate and certain I could find this in strong women that Rich and I never settled when looking. The secret was that I knew I wanted sisters, not just members. Being that I have two sisters, I knew what to look for.”
And the fruit of that effortless sisterhood was sweet. Brave, Seven, Lyndriette and Audra wowed fans all over the world as RichGirl with their graceful harmonization, down-to-earth personalities and flair for fashion. It was the first time since the 90s that the world was seeing a girl group where all the members got equal amounts of shine. The group split in 2011 which left Brave with a decision to make. Would she try another group or would she strike out on her own and pursue a solo career steeped in the poetry and rap where it all began? She gathered up every ounce of bravery she had and chose the solo route.
The Essence of Brave
Her single, “Break Me Down” recently made its debut on the 106 and Park Countdown, receiving rave positive reviews from fans all over the world. Brave says the main message she wants people to get from the single is to never give up. “The MAIN thing I want people to take away from Break Me Down is that no matter what people say [or] do, however they may criticize you or doubt you - YOU have to be strong enough to NOT be defeated and let it break you down. Society will always have an opinion about something or someone- but you must have tough skin to know that their opinion should NEVER be the reason to make you feel any less [than you are]. It’s amazing that people are hearing the message and responding.”
Her story to this point is inspiring to say the least and it makes one wonder if she has always possessed such self-confidence. Her answer? She’s always been certain of who she is but as with anyone, she’s had her bouts with insecurity too.
“There were absolutely times when I walked insecurely because of my gap, or my smile, or even my weight. I've [learned] that my imperfections – like my gap - are what make me, me. I smile harder! [laughs]… My daddy is black and my mama is Cezch. When kids would make fun of the size of my butt or the color of my skin it hurt because at the time I didn't know why. Now I know because being different or unlike the people around you is special and not everyone can understand that uniqueness.”
When asked what advice she had for girls with low self-esteem, Brave did not hesitate. “I tell girls everywhere to walk in confidence BECAUSE of those unique traits. There's only one YOU.”
She leads by example, with one immensely successful single out, Brave is pushing forward, forging her own path, making a way for her forthcoming EP as only she can do. Knowing the fickle temperament of the music industry, she holds tightly to her faith and a resolve to keep pushing, even on the hardest days.
“My faith [in God] is what keeps me going. My faith is such a huge reason why I can come back as a solo artist and do what I [always] dreamed of doing. Once you understand that man truly does NOT decide your destiny- there's power in that. I look to THE Man who created all of this and consult Him… I just never stop. That’s the biggest mistake an artist can make- to just STOP. Days when I had no clue what the next step was and felt lost and ready to throw in the towel… I just didn't stop moving forward and somehow, someway, I was making a way and a path for myself without even knowing it. There's no blueprint to ANY of this. There's an infinite amount of ways to get to the same goal- but each way is different. Some ways are longer, some ways are shorter. But the fact is- you'll never get to the finish line if you just STOP. SO DONT!”
Brave has grown into a show-stopping performer, humble artist and optimistic woman. Most people would take complete credit for their success and character. She gives honor where it is due – to her shero, her mother. Brave credits her mother as being her biggest example of how to live by faith.
“She is truly THE ONLY woman [I know] who lives her life like that. It didn't matter if there was no money, didn't matter if tragedy hit – she ALWAYS pulled her faith from God and was never EVER upset or pessimistic. That was very honorable. I appreciate that about her.”
With her new EP “Brave New World” soon to be released this year, Brave is clear on what she wants her listeners to get from her music.
“[What I want my listeners to gain] (especially my girls) is that you don't have to do what everybody else is doing to feel special [or] a part of something, or to even "make it”… YOU are the trendsetter. You don't have to be a part of the trend. “Brave New World” is going to be an explosive EP. Songs ranging from love to real life issues, singing, dancing, rapping and ballads. I am so many things in one, and you'll get a personal invitation to some of those things through the EP.”
A few things are clear. Brave has earned every right to the stage name “Brave.” She has persevered through countless trials, to emerge a little older, much wiser and using her growing platform to instill positivity in young women from all walks of life through her music and her daily life.
“One of my "Bravisms" that I live by is, “NEVER TAKE THE WORD "NO" SERIOUSLY.” [To me] the word "No" is like telling me to "hold on a second” and that second just gives me enough time to figure out how to get a "yes.”