All-Access Where isn’t Superchic[k]? From the movie “Legally Blonde 2,” starring Reese Witherspoon, and JCPenney commercials to Josh McDowell’s latest series of conferences, the group has commanded the attention of both the Christian and mainstream music fan masses. But you would probably never guess it if you met Melissa and Tricia Brock, the girl power fronting the band. By profession a rock star guitarist and lead singer respectively, the sisters emphasize their normality and vulnerability not only in their music, but also in their lives.
It’s the message they want to pass on to everyone who thinks they are totally alone in their struggles: Even if we look happy and perfect in our press photos, we are real people who need God’s help just as much as everyone else!
While Melissa and Tricia Brock don’t have all the answers, they do have a new album, a new apartment, a new message and a willingness to reveal who they really are. So here it is — the all-access, A to Z scoop on the Brock sisters, along with band members Max Hsu (keyboards, guitars, turntables, resident producer), Matt Dally (bass), Dave Ghazarian (lead guitars) and Brandon Estelle (drums).
Beauty From Pain
Beauty From Pain is the first all-new Superchic[k] album since 2002’s Last One Picked. The songs are deeper than any they have ever written. “People will see there is more to this band than just fun, happy songs,” Tricia Brock says.
While Superchic[k] represents the most desirable qualities in a “crossover” act, the band has not actively pursued a mainstream record deal. One reason they lack peace about crossing over is the environments in which mainstream bands typically perform. Tricia Brock recalls performing at a water park, where many of the audience members were scantily dressed. This made the band very uncomfortable!
Up two half-flights of stairs sits Tricia and Melissa Brock’s two-bedroom Nashville, Tenn. apartment. Framed photos of Audrey Hepburn cover the walls (a tribute to Melissa Brock’s love for the actress) and both fresh and silk flowers line the fireplace mantel and tables. Each girl’s room is different — Tricia’s is black and red and Melissa’s is light in color and eclectic in furnishings and decorations. The kitchen is painted bright green with pineapple rugs on the floor.
Why did the Brocks move to Nashville in the first place? Originally from Indiana, the sisters had always wanted to be roommates. So they decided that while they still could, they would pick a place they thought it would be fun to live in, find a cool apartment and re-locate.
Since Nashville is the center of the Christian music industry and many of their friends already live there, the two decided it would be a good place to call home. It is still within driving distance of their parents’ home, as well as the studio in Chicago where the band records its albums and most of the other band members live.
“[Movie production companies] send us a pilot of what they have of the movie,” Tricia Brock says. “It’s choppy with no music. They’ll say, ‘Write a song for this scene and maybe we’ll use it.’ That’s how we got into ‘Legally Blonde 2.'”
Besides “Legally Blonde” and “Legally Blonde 2,” Superchic[k] songs have been featured in movies such as “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen,” “The Glass House,” Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s “Holiday in the Sun,” “Van Wilder,” “Sleepover,” “Catch That Kid” and many others.
Two sisters voluntarily living together is an indication of how close the Brock clan is. Family photographs lining Melissa and Tricia Brock’s entry hall are further evidence. One older brother who is married with two children completes the list of siblings and their parents, who the sisters describe as (surprisingly) “VERY conservative,” head up the family.
Though they often miss their mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew, they travel home often and keep in touch via phone and Tricia Brock’s incessant text-messaging (which Melissa Brock teases her about).
Though their last album was written from the perspective of kids the group met on the road, Superchic[k]’s latest CD follows the band members’ lives over the last year, especially Melissa and Tricia Brock’s.
The most intimate song on the album is the title track, featuring mostly piano and Tricia Brock’s raw vocals.
“[The song is about] heartbreaking stuff, but also holding on to the hope that God brings,” Tricia Brock explains. “I don’t know how people get through a broken heart without God. There are days when you don’t want to get up and you think, ‘I don’t love anything in life right now.’ You go through the fires of, ‘Do I doubt God? What does this mean?’ And then you get to the end and it makes sense. That is what ‘Beauty From Pain’ is all about.”
Superchic[k]’s record label, Inpop, was actually founded by the Newsboys. One of the group’s favorite things about their label is how accepting and encouraging they have always been.
“When we brought our first album to our label, we said, ‘This is who we are; this is what we do,'” Tricia Brock says. “And they didn’t want to change anything. We loved that. And when the second album came around, they said, ‘We just want you to do your thing.'”
Much of Beauty From Pain’s lyrics come from the sisters’ journal-writing. “When I notice something [in my journal] that looks poetic, I’ll copy it down and give it to Max (Hsu),” Tricia Brock says. “Then Max builds music around it and it sounds like what you want the emotion to be.”
Several youth pastors have told the band they can ask almost any high school kid, “Have you heard of the band Superchic[k]? They were on the ‘Legally Blonde’ soundtrack.” Half the kids say “yes” and will attend an outreach featuring the band.
“On our last album, we had a song called ‘Princes and Frogs,'” Tricia Brock says. “The boys wrote it for me a few years ago because I was in an I-don’t-like-boys phase for a year. I’d say, ‘Love stinks! I never want to fall in love!’ I was just at a point that God hadn’t brought anybody into my life that made me think the dream was out there. It’s a cute song, but I can’t tell you how many people at concerts come up to me and tell me, ‘My favorite song is “Princes and Frogs!”‘ And I think, ‘Um, that’s the one song I’m not even singing!'” She laughs.
The founder of the Superchic[k], Max Hsu is a production genius, the sisters say. Melissa Brock credits him with being one of the main reasons the band has remained so focused on reaching out to their listeners and staying faithful to their own integrity, without compromising the message or music of the band. Tricia Brock describes his willingness to take the time to help each of the band members develop their talents, be it sharing production tips and tricks or showing the girls how to write effective melodies.
“Max is so great about that,” she says. “If you go in [to his studio] and say, ‘Hey, I have a melody in my head, will you help me write a song around it?’ you do it in two hours and suddenly you’ve got a little demo recorded.”
“He knows so much about producing,” Melissa Brock adds. “Last week I did that with him. I had a song [in my head] and even knew how I wanted it to sound. By the time he was done, the quality of it sounded like a demo. I sat there thinking, ‘Did we really do that tonight? Did that really happen?'”
Not always cool
“During concerts, we say, ‘Here’s life and I struggle. I’m not all put together all the time,'” Tricia Brock says. “That vulnerability makes kids think, ‘Well, maybe I should give it [Christianity] a try. Maybe there’s more to them than just a person who is always cool on the stage.’ They think we wake up and always look cool, and we don’t!”
Both Melissa and Tricia Brock are vocally trained to sing opera, but joke that though years on the road have strengthened their voices, it has been in every way opposite to that which their voice teacher taught them.
Pillar, the band
The newest addition to Superchic[k] has a name that may sound familiar to many. Brandon Estelle (who band members joke looks like Reuben Studdard), the group’s new drummer, is the brother of Lester Estelle, the drummer for Christian rock band Pillar. Beauty From Pain will be the first album Brandon is a part of.
Melissa Brock’s dog, Belle, has been a part of the Brock family for about two years. Though the sisters joke that “Queen Belle” runs the household and does things on her own terms, the little dog goes with Melissa almost everywhere and even sleeps under her covers.
“We have always refused to write a song thinking, ‘This song is going to get played on the radio,'” Tricia Brock says. “Then it is not coming from our hearts. It is coming from, ‘We can write a song, so we’ll make it to make money.’ A lot of people can do that, but then where is the heart behind it?”
Superchic[k] meets yearly to evaluate the band. Melissa and Tricia Brock say they talk to one another about whether or not they feel their ministry is still needed. “Are the doors still open? Do we still believe in what we’re doing?” they ask themselves.
“But we all have other desires,” says Melissa Brock, who would love to be a songwriter, travel the globe, make her own independent album, open her own coffee shop or write professionally.
Both Dally and Ghazarian eventually want to record solo projects. Ghazarian also works as a pharmacist when not with the band. Hsu produces for many other artists and often turns down work because he is too busy. He even declined an opportunity to produce Hilary Duff.
“I’ll probably end up being the one who becomes a wife and mom,” Tricia Brock says. “I’ll want to be a worship leader in a church. I would love to keep singing. I’m actually really interested in doing commercial stuff.”
In addition to all the movie soundtracks, Superchic[k] songs have also been featured on TV in: ABC’s “Alias,” “The Practice” and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire;” MTV’s “The Real World” and “Road Rules;” WB’s “Felicity” and “Jack & Jill;” CBS’s “Joan of Arcadia;” ESPN’s “Winter X Games;” several Disney Channel movies; and many others.
While driving on the freeway, a song from Superchic[k]’s remix album, Regeneration, comes on the radio. Tricia Brock turns up the volume and sings along. Sadly for those of us who are musically untalented, her voice sounds just as beautiful live and in person as it does professionally recorded.
Both Melissa and Tricia Brock favor vintage clothing and d飯r. Their style of dress usually involves mixing thrift store finds with inexpensive department store clothes and customizing their outfits with items from their extensive collection of accessories.
Superchic[k] would someday like to record an all-original worship album in which each member writes a few songs. Though Melissa and Tricia Brock love worship, they want to be careful to write a worship album because God has called them to and not because it is a trend.
The Brock sisters are single, and have been pretty transparent about the pain involved in a break-up. Check out their online journals at Superchick.net to read about it in their own words.
Beauty From Pain was originally scheduled for release in Dec. 2004, but has now been pushed back until spring 2005. Visit Superchick.net for details.
From the most conservative-looking church parents to nonbelieving people with questionable backgrounds, adults approach the band members on a nightly basis and thank them for the influence they have had in their children’s lives.
“On our last album, ‘Hero’ was a huge song,” Melissa Brock says. “We would have kids come up and talk to us all the time, saying, ‘I struggled with wanting to commit suicide and I didn’t think anybody understood. Then I heard that. Your music changed my life.’
“When you hear actual life or death situations that your music has affected, it makes you realize regardless if it is one person or a thousand people, it could have saved somebody’s life. It’s more than I ever thought could happen.”
Copyright © 2004 Christian Music Planet, used with permission.
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