Gramophone feature

From Gramophone, April 2011

The effect seems only to accentuate the distinctive timbre, weight and elegance that endow Brownlee’s singing with such a recognisable personality. [Renee] Fleming, who had never sung with him before Armida, calls Brownlee “a miraculous tenor” and singles out his “virtuosic facility combined with a warm, even, rich sound. Add to that extraordinary musicianship and musicality, and he’s simply one of the best allaround singers I’ve worked with.” 

For all his success, Brownlee himself remains easygoing and decidedly down to earth. The eagerness with which he has been perfecting his Italian is echoed by his devotion to salsa (he dances and has lately taken up DJ-ing to show off his prized collection of rare salsa bands on vinyl) and indeed to sports – including bowling when he relaxes at his Atlanta home with wife Kendra and their newborn son. “The last thing I want to happen,” confides Brownlee, “is to become the archetypal divo, with a full-of-himself personality. I try to maintain my identity as a normal guy. Being an opera singer, after all, is what I do, not who I am.