Music

Written in the Stars

Eau Claire hip-hop artist’s first full-length album five years in the making

Olivia Kroner |

STARRY EYED. Cudlino, aka Bruce Brown, recently released Written in the Stars, his first full-length album. The album took around five years to complete.
STARRY EYED. Cudlino, aka Bruce Brown, recently released Written in the Stars, his first full-length album. The album took around five years to complete.

Bruce Brown, known by his stage name, Cudlino, recently released his first full-length album, titled Written in the Stars. Full of hip-hop music influenced by R&B, rap, and rock, Brown’s album is a celebration of life, love, and the lessons he’s learned throughout his life so far.

The album itself took around five years to complete, and began with a competition to record 15 songs in 45 days, using instrumentals created by the producer who was hosting the contest. Brown, a native of California, decided to enter while he was also working on his first EP, California Dreamin’. He didn’t win the competition, but ended up with 15 songs to use in the future. Because of the simultaneous work on his EP, Brown ended up shelving the songs, coming back to them a year later after his California Dreamin’ tour and the birth of his first son.

“At this point, I was only satisfied with a few of the songs,” Brown said. “I could release them all as a mixtape, but wanted to come out with a debut full-length album.”

Written in the Stars was Brown’s favorite song from that first batch of 15, and he decided to reshape his album around it. The birth of Brown’s second son led to another hiatus from the album, as he chose to focus on watching his children grow up. When it finally came time for the album to move forward, Brown searched to find the perfect song to tie the entire album together. This song became “Don’t Fall Short,” the second track of the album.

“It is the most personal and vulnerable song I have ever written or released,” Brown said of “Don’t Fall Short.” “To me, it was the perfect connection to help summarize the main theme of this album.”

For Brown, that theme revolves around how we’re all born with the potential to be the greatest versions of ourselves.

“We can overcome any pain, struggles, or vices we encounter throughout life,” Brown said. At its core, Written in the Stars is a collection of stories about Brown’s life, from being young to growing older.

Other patterns that crop up throughout Brown’s music are the nods to his musical influences, including artists such as Usher, Snoop Dogg, and Michael Jackson, to name a few. Listeners may notice references to Ice Cube in Brown’s song “Days Like This I Need” and Kendrick Lamar in “Written in the Stars,” but as for any other Easter eggs, Brown prefers to let the listener discover them on their own.

Brown thinks that opportunity and support are what sets Eau Claire apart in the music scene. “Eau Claire is a growing city that is enriched in music of all genres and different forms of art.” Brown said. “A lot of the people here try to help support us independent artists for the love of music.” He commends the generosity of venue owners, as most of them don’t charge artists to perform.

“One thing I have learned from being based here is that listeners will support good music and music they can relate to,” he said.

The release of Brown’s album doesn’t mean that he’s about to take it easy. In addition to booking a summer/fall tour in collaboration with Minneapolis-based artist Dee Bomb, Brown is also working on new music videos that will be released throughout the year and an album created jointly by artist B-Str8 The Clippa. With all of this to look forward to, it’s clear that the journey is far from over for Brown. One might even say his future is written in the stars.

Written in the Stars is available now on all digital platforms, or at cudlinomusic.com. You can also find Cudlino on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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