Del Brown and Naja Todd, founding members of the Tacoma-based multi-genre music duo, Mirrorgloss, met on MySpace.com and bonded quickly over the music of Jeff Buckley. Brown, who stumbled on a picture of Todd on the early social media site, knew instantly they would be close friends. She had a feeling. And as they shared their love for the Lilac Wine-soaked singer, as well as their love of tattoos, body- and sex-positivity and Heavy Metal music, the two knew a band was soon to be in their future.
The first time Brown and Todd, each of who started singing at an early age in church and at home, performed together was, as it would turn out, at a 2012 tribute show for Jeff Buckley they helped organize in Tacoma. They had instant stage chemistry, creatively and interpersonally. Both have big, consuming voices. Both are unafraid of showing off their hip shaking and their playful and sultry signature personas. But above all else, both are ready to laugh.
“Getting to that point in your life is tough,” says Todd. “Me and Del have been through a lot of things – just being in a band together, life, things like that. But we have a positive outlook. I want to be a happy person and the way to do that is to be ready to laugh and have open arms toward people while still keeping it real.”
Brown and Todd, since the early days, have lived together for the majority of their 17-year friendship. It’s safe to say they know one another well. And a major draw of their live shows is witnessing their friendship and its intimacy unfold in real time.
“When we’re on stage, it’s a window into our friendship and our lives,” says Brown. “We hope people feel the same. We want people to be real, happy, authentic in their skin. And to know everyone deserves love and respect.”
The two women matured as artists in the Tacoma music scene together. They joke about wild nights they experienced together; happy that camera phones didn’t exist when they were at shows. They worked for a Metal record label, with promotion companies and were “band girls.” The two are so close that Todd’s mother considers Brown a surrogate daughter.
To date, Mirrorgloss has released two EPs, 2015’s YEAH and 2017’s Something New. In 2014, the Tacoma alt weekly newspaper, The Weekly Volcano, named the duo the year’s Best New Band, providing some local validation for the group’s sound. On YEAH, Brown and Todd soar vocally on tracks like “Impasse,” a mixture of dramatic 80s electronic production and full, operatic voices. On their follow-up record, the band is more reserved, hypnotically lamenting a broken relationship on the single, “Something New.”
In 2019, the duo released their latest single, “I Feel Free,” a return to YEAH’s theatrical vibe, combined with the front women’s skill at filling space with sound. The song is about shedding insecurities and embracing the high moments when you can appreciate both yourself in the world and the music swirling around you.
“I don’t mince words,” Todd says. “‘I Feel Free’ is about those times when we’re on the dance floor. A lot of times we’re not the skinniest people in the room. But when the DJ hits the song just right, you have those moments when you open up and feel free and enjoy being a human being listening to beautiful music.”
Cherishing oneself is an important theme in the music of Mirrorgloss. Many of the songs express ideas of self-love and self-empowerment. Just got dumped? You’re still beautiful! Feeling down and depressed? You got this! And a major aspect to the band’s work is encouraging people of all shapes and sizes to feel desirable in their own skin. Brown and Todd, who acknowledge their body types aren’t often typically portrayed in media, say that confidence, itself, is sexy.
“It is a perceived conclusion that men are not hitting on fat girls,” Todd says. “But you can look into our lives and see that is not really a thing. We are sex symbols, we’re beautiful and sexy. Beautiful men hit on us and we hit on beautiful men. And we need to talk about that – even if it shocks people.”
“I want people to know that fat girls aren’t sitting at home in bed on a Friday night eating fried chicken and crying,” Brown says.
Over the years, the band has made a solid home for itself in Tacoma. Mirrorgloss leans on people in the city to help with low-cost photoshoots, merch production and other areas that help keep a band afloat in the artistically prolific though expensive Pacific Northwest. As a result, they’ve released videos that amount to thousands of views, have played a sold-out Neumos stage in Seattle and graced numerous top bands lists. And, in turn, Mirrorgloss has helped shape the city.
“I don’t know that anybody can hang out with us and not be left with some sort of impression,” Todd laughs.
“We definitely bring a uniqueness,” echoes Brown, “as far as what the average musician or duo or band in the area looks like. And we hope it helps people to be themselves. It’s important to know you can be fat, black, queer, anything you want to be, and it’s okay.”
Look out for new music from Mirrorgloss in early spring 2020.