“I joined chorus in junior high school and would get goose bumps every time we would sing together in harmony. That’s when I decided that I wanted to be that vocalist. The one who gives you goose bumps.
I was 15 the first time I ever sang on stage with a live band and my knees were knocking. It was at Roanoke’s Festival in the Park and the crowd response was overwhelming. It was so emotional that I cried afterwards. I felt like I had found my home.
In 2011, my mom passed away unexpectedly. I still miss her every day. She could belt the blues like no other. During my shows she would yell song requests at the top of her lungs and have ‘conversations’ with the sound crew about ‘turning the damned guitar down so she could hear her baby girl.’ She always encouraged me to pursue my passion and supported every one of my musical endeavors. I’m fairly confident that if I stopped singing, she would haunt my ass until I started again.
I’ve never had much interest in being famous, but I have always wanted to share my voice with as many people as possible. I’ve been singing with the band Groova Scape for six years now, and I love our band family and the bond that we share. Ideally, I want to make music my career and sing for my supper. I’ve never been as passionate about anything else except my daughter.
I’ve learned that if you’re an artist pursuing a career in music, your heart will likely break more than once. But I’ve also learned that music can can heal it. Here is my advice: Always keep trying. No matter how many gigs you play to an empty room or how many criticisms you receive, stay true to your craft. Never turn down an opportunity to share your talent because of ego or money. Learn to play covers well, but learn to play originals even better. Be open, kind, and honest in your music and it will be reflected in the response of your audience. That’s what you’re working for. That’s what makes all of the time and effort worth it."
If you’ve ever heard Brittany Sparks sing, it would probably come as little surprise that many compare her distinctive voice to the legendary Janis Joplin. She’s a female powerhouse on vocals and her raw, edgy voice is the perfect compliment to the bluesy jams that Groova Scape brings to the stage. While the group performs a nice blend of covers and originals, the depth and range of Brittany’s voice is on full display during covers of Grace Potter’s “Nothing But Water,” which she begins a cappella.
After appearing last year as part of the FloydFest On the Rise series, Groova Scape is steadily booked in venues in and around Southwest Virginia. In addition to the live gigs, you can find Brittany’s vocals on a variety of studio recordings. She most recently provided backup vocals to Hoppie Vaughan for his newest album, “Living the Dream,” and has also been displaying those sassy vocals for local jam band “The Mad Iguanas.”
You can hear Brittany in action online on the Groova Scape ReverbNation page.
Brittany Sparks performs with Groova Scape at the Roanoke Strawberry Festival. Photo credit: Siobhan Donegan Cline