Art begets art, even four centuries apart. See, somewhere around 1610, William Shakespeare—heard of him?—penned a play called The Tempest. In the play, the main character named Prospero has magical powers that allow him to control his surroundings, but in the end, Prospero gives up his powers and surrenders to human nature. “Every third thought shall be my grave,” he proclaims.
Fast all the way forward to 2017, when 24-year-old singer-songwriter Brika (born Briana Martinez) read Prospero’s ancient declaration and found new inspiration. “The same way we have positive things in our life, we have negative things in our life—these insecurities that we keep and these cycles that we keep finding ourselves in that often put us in the places that we don’t want to keep finding ourselves in but we are,” Brika explains. “That’s kind of what that line meant to me.”
The result will be released into the world on April 26 in the form an EP titled, yes, Every Third Thought. While the surface may be Shakespearean, Every Third Thought comes directly from Brika’s heart, and actually, this EP has been brewing since Brika discovered her love for music as a three-year-old in Miami. Throughout six tracks, Brika comprehensively confronts the messiest parts of her life.
Lyrically and sonically, the EP shows range—upbeat one song, slow and nostalgic the next, but always honest. However, what completes the project is Brika’s vulnerable processing of complicated life experiences that make up the human condition for not just her but you and you and you, too.
The cover art for “Distracted”—released as a single on March 1—features Brika as a child, looking off into the distance. Innocent, distracted by her own little world and unaffected by the world around her. “When you’re younger, you are you. There’s no filter, there’s no life experience that gets in the way,” Brika adds.
In the song, she fittingly sings, “Never could I understand the way my life would all align / All related to, All related to / Feel like it’s something we don’t choose / But I’m trying to now.”
“The three-year-old version of me who has always been obsessed with music just wanted to make music, period,” she continues. “So, I think just the act of making music in itself is already fulfilling a dream, and I would say that the little girl version of me just wanted to make something I was proud of and that was honest. That I was actually talking about things that are sincere and not just singing just to sing. … I’m actually writing about things that are true to me, not just to be cool. So I guess the little girl version of me would be proud of that.”
It is the title track, though, that has made the most lasting imprint on Brika. She wrote the song and after realizing how important the song instantly was for her, gave the EP the same title. For the most part, she has filed away the subject matter she sings about on the EP. She has moved on romantically. She has dealt with her distractions. She, as any human does, has grown in the year and a half since she officially began writing these songs. That said, her insecurities weaved into “Every Third Thought” are still very much present.
“I just feel like that song really encompasses—I mean, I’m not trying to sound cheesy, but my soul,” she says. “Not that all my songs don’t, but it’s just something that’s so deep inside of me. All my insecurities are in that song. All of my recurring thoughts are in that song, especially lyrically. Even if it’s not super obvious. I’m not saying, ‘Hi, I am insecure about this.’ But it’s like a metaphor for the things that I wrote about. I’m just very vulnerable and very naked in that song, so I guess I just have an attachment because I feel like it really embodies me.”
Now, she’s in the middle of embarking on a move from her hometown Miami to New York City—a move she wouldn’t be ready for without Every Third Thought allowing her to clear her mind and organize her emotions. She likens it to having a conversation with a friend: “When you meet someone new, like a friend, you tell them things that have happened to you in the present [and] about things that have happened to you in the past. So, you know, even though it is things in the past, it’s still part of you. I guess an album does that as well.” – she proceeds – “In any case, I just hope that music is timeless for the person and they’re able to connect with it even if it wasn’t the original intention,” she details as her hope for Every Third Thought. “That they’re able to connect with it in some way, and I think in general as an artist, I kind of want to be someone who can be there for someone when they’re feeling the most alone. That’s how I’ve always listened to music and that’s what I feel music has been for me.
“You have friends, you have family you can go to, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you want to go to them. So, I just hope to give what music was for me, which was when I was most alone or when I felt I was alone and needed to have some sort of cushion or a friend, you go to music. I hope that people can turn to me and my music in some way.”
Regardless of if people hear her upcoming release now or four centuries from now – ‘Every Third Thought’ has already done wonders for Brika. What it will do for her listeners is both out of her control and her driving force behind why she makes music in the first place.
Every Third Thought is out on April 26th.