Though March is coming to an end, Black Talent TV continues to celebrate Women’s History Month with exciting interviews and today’s spotlight is on the exceptional Nicci Gilbert. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Gilbert is a singer-songwriter, producer, creator, director, and actress who are well known for being 1/3 of the Grammy-nominated R&B group Brownstone. As far as acting is concerned, she’s guest starred on many critically acclaimed sitcoms, such as Martin, Living Single, and Sister, Sister. After being a cast member for two seasons of TV One’s R&B Divas: Atlanta, as well as serving as executive producer alongside Faith Evans, Gilbert decided to create her own project—From The Bottom Up. Currently in its third season with a whole new cast, From The Bottom Up airs every Saturday at 10/9c on BETher.
Check out our interview with Gilbert where she discusses how she came up with From The Bottom Up, why she decided to feature a whole new cast for season three, what’s next for her, and more below.
1-You’re a woman with many professional hats. Which is your favorite?
Creator is my favorite hat because there are fewer limitations. I love the idea of creating something that fills a void and inspires people.
2-You’ve guest starred on some critically acclaimed TV series. Which project was your favorite to film?
It’s hard to choose a favorite because I liked each project for a different reason. I would say, based on the number of reruns, the favorite amongst viewers would be Martin.
3-Besides “If You Love Me,” which was your favorite Brownstone song to perform?
“Grapevyne” was always a favorite to perform because it was just in your face harmony and lyrics.
4-How did you come up with From The Bottom Up?
From The Bottom Up is the title of the first Brownstone album released almost 25 years ago, which was about coming from poverty and having dreams and aspirations to rise up. In 2014, after a really tough couple of years, I found myself at rock bottom again and I also realized that there were other women like me who were at the height of their careers and life happened, causing them to fall from grace. I remember the day I shared my idea about the show and the title with Maxee and how excited she was. While filming the sizzle, a scene for the show, I got the call that Maxee died. This was the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life, but I knew that I had to make it my mission to, not only, entertain but to also uplift and inspire because her legacy was attached to this creation.
5- Why did you decide to feature a whole new group of ladies for season three of From The Bottom Up?
It was a collective decision to use new women this season between BET, Flavor Unit, James Dubose(Show Runner), and I. The premise of the show is helping give women the platform and opportunities to rise up from the worst of circumstances. The audience will see some of the previous seasons cast, but most of those women are moving in a positive upwardly direction. We also wanted strong, very compelling stories to reach a younger demographic so we intentionally looked at stories that would also appeal to younger viewers because those women need to see stories and women they can relate to.
6- What can fans expect from season three of From The Bottom Up?
This season, you will see women who served very long jail sentences, women who were one decision away from suicide and even murder. Viewers will see women taking accountability for their actions and working very hard to heal and rebuild their lives and their families.
7-Not too long ago, BETher presented you with the 2018 Woman of Impact award. How did it feel to be recognized by the BET family?
I was very surprised and honored to receive the BETher Woman of Impact Award. It feels great to be recognized by BET for doing creative work that positively impacts women and girls. To come from a previous situation where I felt punished for literally fighting to keep things positive, to end up at BET where I am rewarded for it—it’s an amazing feeling and restores my faith in networks supporting positive uplifting content.
8-In 2017, you released a new song, “Fly,” which was amazing. Any plans for new music in 2018?
My new single “FLY” is available on iTunes and the music video is available at www.brownstonemusic.com. I plan to release an EP over the summer and in 2019, I will be releasing a Brownstone 25year box set.
9-What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in the entertainment industry?
The best advice I could give someone who wants to pursue a career in entertainment is to start creating and build your audience. These days, networks and record companies are looking for creative people who have already built an audience for their content. Times have changed and with the advent of social media and online distribution outlets, you have direct access to your audience. The best thing you can do to succeed in entertainment today is to create & distribute.
10-What is NEXT for Nicci Gilbert?
Next up, I am putting the finishing touches on my documentary film, Broken Things, which documents the horrific journey of singer Sara Stokes as she finally sees her father who molested her at the age of 12 who was recently sentenced to 30-60 years on five counts of criminal sexual misconduct. In addition to the documentary, I am starting preproduction of my first of many scripted projects.
Photo Credit: Nicci Gilbert/BETher