While browsing Twitter recently, I saw someone asking: how do you personally define “good music”? My first reaction was hello, loaded question. But when it comes down to it, good music to me is the kind that makes me feel something—chills, a heartbeat in my throat, a desire to sing along even when I don’t know a song well enough yet, etc. Good music ignites something in me.
Enter: Bishop Briggs.
I discovered her in early 2016 through my perfectly curated “Discover Weekly” Spotify playlist (when she was known simply as BISHOP). At that time, I couldn’t find more than a drop of vague information about the dark musical goddess whose song “Wild Horses” was pleasantly haunting me. And I couldn’t put my finger on what it was about her that drew me in, but looking back, I think it was simply the way her music made me feel. Chills? Check. Heartbeat in my throat? Check. A desire to sing along even when I didn’t know the song well enough yet? Check.
My semi-newfound badass queen of alternative has quickly become one of my favorite female vocalists. In the last year, Bishop Briggs has been dominating alternative radio with her dark melodies. The 24-year-old singer/songwriter’s stage name comes from her family’s Scottish hometown, Bishopbriggs, and serves as a way to remind herself where she came from (which, despite her familial roots to Scotland, includes growing up in London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Los Angeles).
With a voice that reminds me of artists like MS MR, Banks, and DOROTHY, Briggs is a vocal powerhouse who flawlessly reaches sweet falsettos and raspy deeper tones, and throws in a gospel choir homage for good measure. She’s been known to describe her sound as “trap-soul,” but one thing is for sure: regardless of labels, she has perfected her craft in blending a variety of genres together fluidly. The outcome is a dark, yet energetic sound that is so perfectly unique to her name. On April 14th, Briggs released her debut self-titled EP featuring two of her more familiar songs, “Wild Horses” and “River.” Both of which have been gaining momentum through commercials, radio, and Spotify.
Every song on her new EP balances mellow and intense—you’ll hear elements of pop, rock, and deep vibrating bass, with a taste of soul, gospel, and hip hop. “Dark Side” begins with light intro that melts into a strong beat and a slightly eerie melody with bursts of powerful, fluttering vocals. Together, a gospel choir and thumping beat back Briggs’ emotional pleading vocals on “The Way I Do.” You will never know my love, you will never feel the way I do… The EP ends with “The Fire,” which is one of her more upbeat tracks that perfectly combines every element she’s quickly becoming known for—sharp, soulful vocals and those lovely eerie/dark tones. Of the three tracks I hadn’t heard before the EP release, this is one really makes me want a full-length album from Briggs stat.
In the number of interviews with Bishop Briggs I’ve watched and read, the coolest things I’ve picked up on—aside from her impressive musical background and the well-deserved nods to the hard work she’s put into getting as far as she has—is her authenticity, her humbleness, and her desire to create something real and honest. She’s all about exploring every side of herself. It’s an ongoing journey of discovery, artistry, passion, and unfiltered expression.
After rocking stints at SXSW and Coachella, Bishop Briggs is now headlining her own tour and has dates set at a number of upcoming summer festivals. While I won’t be braving the chaos that is Lollapalooza this August, I can’t wait for future tours to experience Bishop Briggs’ contagious, energetic stage presence for myself.
EP Track Listing:
The Way I Do
Dead Man’s Arms
Other Noteworthy Tracks:
Be Your Love
Pray (Empty Gun)
So Tied Up – Cold War Kids feat. Bishop Briggs
Image Credit: Chad Kamenshine