BRIDEY is a musician whose earnest-yet-whimsical songwriting, unrestrained vocals, and dreamily pure guitar tones combine to evoke a stirring sensation in listeners. She’s been compared to Lucy Dacus, Cat Power, Angel Olsen, and Sharon Van Etten (Van Etten is one of her personal heroes), but her sound is redolent with a variety of influences reaching far beyond modern alternative. Her 2019 debut album Honey dips into ’60s psych pop, gothic rock, and even light shades of Americana. The best way I can describe BRIDEY’s oeuvre is if Phoebe Bridgers predominantly listened to Tom Petty instead of Elliott Smith.
Now BRIDEY is navigating a transitional period in her life where the future is uncertain and the possibilities are endless. She’s moving back to California in the fall to be closer to her family and is putting on a farewell show at Chicago’s Sleeping Village, which will feature performances by local indie band Modern Nun, drag by Derry Queen, and comedy by Colin Rourke and Miranda Roza.
A Grrrl’s Two Sound Cents caught up with BRIDEY to discuss bidding Chicago farewell, growing up in a musical family, and the magical emotional transference of songs.
Welcome, BRIDEY! Would you mind telling me a little bit about yourself?
I’m a musician based out of Chicago. I first came here for a comedy film school in 2017. I did a bit of comedy and a lot of screenwriting and production work for the first 3 years of my time here. Fastforward to this point in the p*nd*mic: I play my music solo and with a band, but I tend to like the band thing a bit more. I grew up in San Diego, so I am also very ~cool~ and very ~chill.~
Would you be able to tell me about how and why you started creating music?
I come from a sort of music-obsessed family. My dad had a little recording studio in our garage my whole life, so there was quite a bit of music coming and going in my household. I would carry my dad’s guitar case from the car into the house every chance I could. If you can imagine little shrimpy kid Bridey white-knuckling a guitar case with two hands, taking one step at a time–you’ll understand that I didn’t have to do this and that this was a huge flex. So I think just being in the general vicinity of music made me very curious about it. When I was around 12-13, I learned guitar via youtube tutorials and then tried to learn songs I could play, and that ended up just being Tom Petty hits [laughs].
I started being intentional about playing and creating music in 2016. I found a reason to write a bunch of songs that felt true to me and at the same time very therapeutic and fun, so I just went with it. That’s been the “why” ever since.
This upcoming farewell show marks a new chapter in your life and budding career. What are you going to miss the most about Chicago, and what are you most looking forward to in the future?
The dreadful humidity that’s remedied by one single jump in the lake, and how strong my calves get in the winter from trying not to die from simply *walking on the sidewalk*. I will miss nearly everything, but the magic of Chicago is its people. What I’m certain of is that I’m very lucky to have started out playing shows in this city. The community is so intensely supportive, kind, and flooded with genuine talent.
Whatever the next community looks like, I kind of won’t have it be anything other than uplifting. I’m hopeful and excited that I can bring these standards with me, and I’m also looking forward to being closer to my family, playing fun shows, meeting new people/connecting with old friends, and feeling the sun on my face in the month of Feburary, etc.
What are the key takeaways you hope listeners glean from your songs?
I’d be happy if people took away feelings of love and hurt and horniness and nostalgia and fun and softness. But the wildly cool thing about music is whatever an individual takes away is the truth (for them.) So at that point, it’s not really up to me.
I hear so many rich references (old and new) in your music from The Cure and Marianne Faithfull to Julia Jacklin. Who are some of your favorite artists of all time?
iGasp! That is incredibly cool to hear. I have shower cried to Marianne Faithfull more times than I can legally admit. Tom Petty, DEVO, and Sharon Van Etten are the trifecta for me.
What part of your upcoming show are you most looking forward to?
Performing alongside people I really care for, giving sincere thank you’s, and playing some songs we’ve never played live before. I assume there will be a lot of laughing and crying and laughing again. I asked my three close friends to do comedy and drag, and two of them are flying in from New York, so it’ll be a really special goodbye.
If you could ask one of your idols anything, what would you ask them?
Hmm, this feels hard. I don’t know if i’d be brave enough to ask anything other than like, “what’s up?” If I was feeling brave, I’d probably ask some “how” questions followed by a few “why” questions.
Are there any upcoming artists or bands you’d recommend we check out?
What does the rest of the year have in store for BRIDEY?
Hopefully a lot of things. I’m moving at the beginning of September, so having time to get settled and rest will be pretty high on my priority list. You may see an EP release, but I could also see that being a treat for early 2023. I’ll be doing a small solo tour up the West Coast with La Bonte out of Los Angeles in October. So I’m looking forward to sharpening my solo performance, meeting good people, and seeing some damn cows.
Grab tickets to BRIDEY’s farewell show at Sleeping Village here.
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