Popping Up: Bishop Briggs

Rachel Sonis | July 27, 2016 9:00 am

Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey — Rihanna and Katy were once unknown, too.

Things are looking good for Bishop Briggs. With only three official songs under her belt, the California-based singer already has a huge online following thanks to gritty gloom-pop anthems like “River” and “The Way I Do.” Not to mention, her sound – which is something of a cross between AWOLNATION circa Megalithic Symphony and Delta Rae – has also caught the attention of Coldplay, who the 24-year-old is set to open a number of U.S. shows for this August.

It’s a surreal skyrocket to success and one that Bishop is not taking lightly.

“Every day that I wake up, and I get to perform and write and talk to people about music is a day that I really don’t take for granted,” she says. “Every morning, I’m just waking up and feeling so thankful.”

Read more about the rising singer as she talks to us about her influences, her love for Jack Garratt and why she never Googles herself.

How did music come into your life? It was really early on for me. I grew up in Japan. For me, it was all I’ve ever known. When I lived there, it was very normal to go to karaoke bars. Whether it was someone’s seven year old’s birthday, it was always something that people would do on the weekends, and I saw my dad singing. He was just doing it for fun, but I just saw this light that he exuded, and I just wanted a piece of it.

Your music style is very percussive and soulful. How did you find your sound? The producers that I work with are Mark Jackson and Ian Brendon Scott, and I think just the combination of all of our influences kind of created this sound that we were all very excited about.

Were you ever influenced by soul records? Oh my gosh, yes. That’s all I listened to growing up. Aside from the karaoke stint, I listened to tons of Motown records – Aretha Franklin, The Supremes, Otis Redding, even Barry White. It was a huge part of what made me excited about music.

Do you have an all-time favorite album? I know this sounds like a safe bet, but my go-to is Abbey Road by The Beatles. That album, just every single song – it’s like I find no fault in it.

How did you get your big break? I’ll let you know. [Laughs]

Do you have any artists that you see as role models? Oh my gosh, yes. So many. I mean what sort of sticks out straight away is Jack Garratt. His live performance just blows me away every time. And then there’s this band that I saw at one of the festivals who played named Beaty Heart, and they just have this experimental nature. They’re not afraid to take risks.

Have you ever seen Jack Garratt live? No, I’ve seen YouTube videos, you know, like a true creeper. I feel like I’ve seen so many shows through YouTube now. I kind of love it, but I think I might be hopefully playing a festival where he’s playing as well so I will be there, front row.

What’s the most unusual place you’ve written lyrics? I was in a coffee shop, and I had an idea, but I didn’t want to write it in my phone. I wanted to write it down on paper, but I didn’t have paper. I had a pen, and I had an envelope that had my rent check in. I just went on a tangent on the back of this envelope, so I don’t know if it’s really a place. I mean, it was a little coffee shop, but it was more like the intensity of having to write it down.

When was the last time you Googled yourself? I have never Googled myself. I feel like Twitter is Google in itself because people will tell me things they’ve found or things they’ve scoured across the Internet. In a way, I kind of get that same effect.

What would you be doing if you hadn’t pursued music? Truthfully, this is all I’ve ever wanted to do. I’ve just tried to have tunnel vision, and I think sometimes the key is to not having a plan B, which is scary. But it’s what I’ve been trying to live my life by.

You’re going on tour with Coldplay soon. How did that come about? I was actually in the studio and my manager came in and broke the news and it’s one of those very surreal, standout moments I’ve ever had on my whole life. Because you don’t know if you should laugh or cry or both. It was pretty surreal.

How do you get prepared for a show? I always warm up before a show, and I always meditate. I am someone that, no matter what, I will be nervous. So I try to use it to my advantage and turn it into excitement as best I can.

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