As a young girl, Divine Brown used to sing along with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan and Tina Turner on the radio.

"I tried to get that same kind of vibe," she said.

Even back then, the R&B singer, who makes her home in Toronto, said she always knew that her music would take her places.


After years of work -- singing in the Toronto club circuit, breaking into musical theatre as a cast member of shows like Ain't Misbehavin‚ and Rent, and releasing two albums -- people of all ages are now singing along with her.

She released her self-titled debut -- which included the hit Old Skool Love -- in 2005 and followed it up with The Love Chronicles late last year.

Brown will perform songs from both when she headlines at Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest this Sunday. And when she does, both her fans and those who are new to her music will experience just a little of what it's like to be the artist.

"I get my inspiration from different conversations I've had with friends about love relationships, as well as my own," she said. "So it's very cathartic for me."

And she doesn't mind the audience knowing that.

"I do talk about it when I perform," she said. "I tend to personalize some of the songs that way. One More Chance is one of the hardest songs I perform -- not just because it's vocally challenging, but in that I have to temper my emotions, so I don't get lost in them," she said.

While she's looking forward to returning to Ottawa -- "the audiences here are very appreciative," she said -- Bluesfest is just one of the stops she's making at festivals across Canada this summer.

"What I like about festivals is that they are outdoors," she said. "I love festivals because there are such big crowds and it's really a challenge to engage the audience," she said. "It's a challenge and I love that."

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