Juno award-winning soul/R&B singer Divine Brown’s current single is Gone. Her latest album, Something Fresh, will be released early in 2013.
Do you have brothers and sisters?
Well, there was my father’s family and my mother’s. If I combine them, that is 11 in total.
Eleven! Can you name them all?
Okay, so there is Kimberly, Noel, Junior, Nigel and Juliette.
And on my Mom’s side … let me think, there’s Sonia … Danny … um … Dionne, Dianne, Denise and Zavaroni.
And yourself. Were you born “Divine”?
No, it is a stage name.
Where are you in the mix of 11?
Basically, in the middle.
At some point, were all 12 siblings living together in the same house?
No. It was pretty broken up. I guess the most was four.
Did you notice differences in how siblings were treated and how they interacted relative to their age ranking in the family?
The younger kids got more spoiled. It is always like that in the family dynamic. The younger kids get more. They didn’t get hand-me-downs.
I thought hand-me-downs were the fate of any younger siblings. Did you have older sisters? Did you not get their hand-me-downs?
Some. It wasn’t crazy. In my dynamic, the young kids got the new stuff, too.
With so many, were sibling relationships fraught?
No. We were pretty cool. It was interesting, the dynamic between my older sister and I. She’d let me get away with some things – others, no. Honestly, we did stick up for each other. There was quite a lot of tension in the household. It can be difficult when you are dealing with a step-parent.
Are you all adults now and living on your own?
Do you still see your siblings on a regular basis?
No. I see some more than others. Some I don’t see at all because we don’t live in the same country. I’m closest to my younger siblings on my father’s side and my older sister on my father’s side.
Are relationships formed in childhood static? In adulthood, is Big Sis still the big sis? Do you still get bossed around by an older sibling or feel motherly toward a younger sibling?
I didn’t grow up with all of them. I spent the most time with the siblings on my father’s side. By default, I’m just closer to them. If anything, with my older sister, we got closer as we got older. We both had kids. We can identify more with each other when we talk about “Why is it we are always behind in laundry?” With my younger siblings, it is interesting to see them grow into adults and their trials and tribulations. Some have had an easier transition.
We can’t choose our family, but we can choose our friends. Are you “friends” with your siblings, too?
There are some of my siblings whom I’m closer to, “friends” with more than others. It’s natural. You are not always going to get along with all your siblings.
I only spent time with three of my siblings. My youngest sister on my Dad’s side, I’m closer to her now in adulthood. Sometimes, we would have little petty fights. But that is part of growing up. The older sister/younger sister dynamic … we are definitely closer now, but we always stood up for each other when we needed to.
Does family matter?
Absolutely. Always, when there is some degree of tragedy, a death in the family. It is a shame that something like that that makes you more aware of how important family is. It is a truth.
More so in a big family? I wouldn’t know. I have only one sister.
Absolutely, and more than that, the importance of bonding together extends out far beyond siblings in a family in times of need. I’ve had instances where blood is thicker than water. Other times, it is completely irrelevant.
It is always great. When I was on my journey to become a vocalist, a recording artist, my siblings were always very supportive. That was important. Siblings getting together was of importance. We started a trend. Because all of my siblings on my father’s side weren’t here in Canada and we didn’t get the opportunity to grow up together, all of us would get together for each of our respective birthdays. Even if it wasn’t actually on the day, we would get together and just bond. That is when it became vitally important. That family, our sibling interaction and establishing that bond became important.
Can parents affect sibling interaction? Certainly they can play favorites, but can they change the dynamic between siblings?
There has to be a serious effort made. But sometimes, if there’s a serious rift, there’s nothing they can do. Not speaking from experience, but from observation: Siblings that were very close growing up, something can happen to alter that dynamic and it is a horrible feeling for parents when there is nothing they can do to fix it. In adulthood, it is up to siblings themselves to fix it.