Nili Brosh: Michael Jackson ONE — it was amazing!

female guitarist
Photo by Jack Lue
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As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 9 – Autumn 2019 – Ladies of Metal

When it comes to guitar music of the 21st century, Nili Brosh is a force to be reckoned with. She’s a Berklee alum that not only graduated at the top of her class but went on to become one of the youngest faculty members in the Berklee Summer Guitar Program. From there, she quickly began to add to her already impressive resume, performing and recording with such heavyweights as Yngwie Malmsteen, Tony MacAlpine, Andy Timmons, Jeff Loomis, and Guthrie Govan. Her solo albums, Through the Looking Glass (2010) and A Matter of Perception (2014) are not only characterized by fiery solos, but they are also dripping with tasteful melodies and saturated tone. Be sure to follow her on Instagram at @nilibrosh and check out her inspiring #Nilick series!

You moved to Boston from Tel Aviv at age 12. Did any Israeli music play a role in your development as a musician? Has it influenced your writing?

Sure! It’s not something I was super into as a kid, but as an adult searching for their roots – of course. I definitely see elements of it (or Middle Eastern music as a whole) coming out of my writing now, seemingly out of nowhere. 

How has your tone evolved over the years? 

My concept of tone hasn’t really changed – I’ve always been the person who dials a tone mostly from the amp and adds very few effects to it. I like leaving room for my finger tone to do the heavy lifting, and that’s what has evolved over the years.

The track “Never Be Enough” off of your 2010 debut album Through the Looking Glass has beautiful guitar harmonies throughout it. Is there a specific approach you take to writing melodies and harmonies?

Not really that I think about in specific terms – I usually hear the melodies in my head, and the rest (harmonies, for example) kind of works itself out by ear. If I were to go back and analyze, I’d probably find running themes and approaches, but it’s not something I necessarily think about beforehand.

You spent the last two years performing with Cirque du Soleil’s “Michael Jackson ONE” Las Vegas show. What was that experience like?

It was amazing, as well as intense and crazy – basically everything that you can imagine! The bulk of it is mostly that it’s incredibly hard work – the show is at the highest level of production possible, thus looking very glamorous to people on the outside. While true, the reality of doing 10 shows a week for 48 weeks a year kind of manifests itself in feeling just extremely fatigued at the end!

Now that you’re settled back in Los Angeles, do you have any upcoming projects that you are looking forward to?

Getting my third album done and out and touring my solo stuff.

Do you have any advice for musicians hoping to attend a music school like Berklee?

Listen! To as many musicians and genres as you can, and to the words of your peers. The connections you make at a music school can end up being invaluable for the rest of your life and career.

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