Childhood & Early Life
Brooke Valentine was born Kanesha Nichole Brookes, on October 5, 1984, in Houston, Texas. She was the eldest of the three children in the family.
She was tomboyish while growing up. She got into a lot of fights. In fifth grade, she accidentally discovered her love for singing. She had an extroverted personality, and that helped her sing in front of her classmates when she was in school.
These experiences filled her with a strange sense of confidence, and she became determined to become a singer upon growing up. Her family knew nobody in the music industry, and that made things difficult for her.
Her love for singing intensified as she grew up. By the time she was in high school, she had become serious about a career in music. After she graduated high school, she joined a female group named ‘Best Kept Secret.’ Although the group was quite serious about music, it was going nowhere.
An accidental turn of events got her in touch with Deja the Great, who was at the same mall as Brooke and one of her friends. Déjà approached her and asked about her friend. They began talking, and when Brooke came to know that Deja was a music producer and the CEO of the label ‘Subliminal Entertainment,’ she decided to approach him to help her.
Initially, Deja did not take her seriously. However, Brooke soon proved that she was serious about a career in music. They started working together. Sometime later, Deja flew to Los Angeles for some work and Brooke followed him. They continued to work together, and Brooke bagged her first record deal soon after.
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Brooke was offered a contract by ‘Virgin Records’ in 2003, and shortly after that, she released her debut single, ‘Girlfight.’ The lyrics talked about her childhood and the fact that she got into a lot of fights with other girls in school. The single featured Big Boi and Lil Jon and was extremely successful. It peaked at number 23 on the ‘Billboard Hot 100’ chart. It also reached the top 50 on several charts in Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.
The single was featured in her debut album, ‘Chain Letter,’ which was released in March 2005. She worked with many rappers and producers, such as Bink!, Jermaine Dupri, and Lil Jon, to work on the album. The album featured a soundtrack that incorporated elements of hip-hop and crunk.
The album was appreciated by both critics and listeners. Its rawness was compared to the works of film director Steven Soderbergh. The album also performed well commercially and peaked at the 16th spot on the ‘Billboard 200’ chart. It featured 15 singles and was dubbed as one of the most successful debut albums of the year.
In 2005, Brooke was approached to work on a song for the movie ‘Roll Bounce.’ The song, titled ‘Boogie Oogie Oogie,’ was produced by her in collaboration with rappers Yo Yo and Fabolous.
Within a year of the release of her debut album, Brooke started working on her sophomore album. The album, titled ‘Physical Education,’ was announced in 2006. Later that year, she released the debut single from the album, ‘D-Girl.’ The single was moderately successful but could not achieve the same success as its predecessors.
Another single, ‘Pimped Out,’ followed shortly but was yet another failure. While Brooke’s fans awaited the release of her album, Brooke received a major blow when it was announced that her album was going to be on hold for a while.
The delay was due to the supposed merger of ‘Virgin Records’ with ‘Capitol Records.’ Deja the Great, her old friend and the CEO of ‘Subliminal Entertainment,’ came to her rescue and bought the rights of the album from ‘Virgin.’ The album was released as ‘Physical Education Mixtape’ in 2009.
However, it was later clarified by Brooke that the album was doomed from the very beginning. She was not too pleased with the way ‘Virgin Records’ had approached her work and also dealt with the death of one of her close cousins. A few months after the release of the mixtape, Brooke announced that she wished to take a break from her solo projects and that she was working on other producers’ albums.
In January 2012, she made a comeback with the music video of the song ‘Insanity.’ The video was shot on an ‘iPad’ and was directed by Deja the Great. She also announced her new album that was slated to be released later that year.
Two singles from her new album, ‘Rub It In’ and ‘Forever,’ were released shortly after the album’s announcement. However, later that year, she announced that the album was going to be delayed a bit more due to her other ongoing projects.
In 2013, she released an EP titled ‘Love Letters,’ which brought her critical and commercial success. A single from the album, titled ‘Don’t Wanna Be in Love,’ was featured on the ‘Billboard Adult R&B Chart.’ This was her first chart appearance in 6 years.
She turned to TV in 2014 and shot a few scenes for the ‘VH1’ reality series ‘Love & Hip Hop.’ However, she was not featured in the final cut that was aired. The same year, she announced her second studio album.
In 2016, she released three new singles: ‘Grow Up,’ ‘Games,’ and ‘#CRAIG.’
In June 2017, it was officially announced that she was going to appear in the new season of the reality series ‘Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood.’ The following season, she was made a regular contestant.