When it comes to the creative process, “it all begins with telling the truth and then allowing my subconscious to lead the way even if it’s hard to admit,” explains multi-platinum singer-songwriter Bishop Briggs. You’ve certainly heard the truth in Briggs’ soulful songs that drive powerful narratives and are cathartic for the soul. While her sound style flows beautifully between folk, pop, and electronic, Briggs’ fashion sense includes a mix of every band she worshipped at Warped Tour plus a touch of femininity. Briggs gives 5’ELEVEN” the details of her creative process, her thoughts about the music industry and her style.
Images courtesy of Sony Music.
We understand you grew up in Japan and Hong Kong, but where do you consider to be home and why?
I think home has always been an ever-evolving and ever-changing construct in my mind. Is that too deep to start this conversation off with?! I have found a home in holding my partner's hand while we are stuck in a waiting room or laughing with a friend so hard that I think I might wet myself. Those are the things that represent home to me these days.
Describe your perfect day.
It is a few days after a show I just played…sitting in the garden eating bagels with my husband as we coo to get the neighbour’s black cat to love us.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
You never know if it’s someone's first show they have ever been to or their last. Crazily, that was advice from Chris Martin when I opened it for him! I think it really mirrors the idea of life and how fleeting it can be – there is importance in being present and taking in every single second.
If you weren’t a singer-songwriter right now, what do you think you would be doing instead and why?
I think I’d be working as an advocate for people in hospitals. I wish there was more patience, kindness and emotional consideration for those in need.
How do you think the music industry has changed from 2015 to now?
I think the biggest change was the #MeToo Movement. I was very conditioned to accept the boy’s club behaviour that exists so strongly in the music industry. I think there is always room for more change, but I feel grateful to that movement as it drastically changed my life.
What are your thoughts about “identity” and how do you think it changes with the fast-paced music industry?
I think identity is a journey and I think there has been a collective amount of freedom in releasing having to know all the answers.
Tell us about your creative process. Do you have a go-to place when you feel like you need some inspiration?
It all begins on my little keyboard where I play generally the same emo chords and I sing over it. Sometimes I’ll bring in what I have written to a producer and other times I’ll be sitting in a session and feel completely overcome with melodies. Regardless, it all begins with telling the truth and allowing my subconscious to lead the way even if it’s hard to admit.
In general, your songs drive powerful narratives. What is your favourite lyric of yours and why?
Thank you. It would have to be a lyric that I wrote in my notes long before I ever added music to it. It’s in this song called “High Water” and it is “I hate that I lost you when I’m not lost anymore.” That line was stuck in my head and I hated what it represented. It meant that my sister was gone and I was going to have to navigate this world without my soulmate. The messiness of life doesn’t care about our time frames.
Congrats on releasing two new, incredible singles, “High Water” and “Art of Survival” which you have spoken about in detail as odes to your sister. We would like to talk more about your song, “River” which came out in 2016 and recently went viral on TikTok.
It has meant so much seeing the response with dance, art and so much more with “River” as the accompaniment. It was one of the first songs I released - so seeing it have such a journey throughout the years has made my heart so warm.
You blend different genres - folk, pop, and electronic – what genre do you think you consistently keep?
I think the most consistent sound throughout has been soul. I grew up listening to Motown artists like Etta James and Aretha Franklin. I think my obsession stemmed from the transparency in every lyric and every note! I was also in a gospel choir when I was young, so I think all those elements have allowed me to find influence wherever I can in my own music.
There is an undeniable intersection between fashion and music. What are your thoughts about this?
I truly love creativity in all forms and I think the intersection (especially when you can tell the artist is passionate about fashion) is a really special thing.
Your incredible vocal range allows you to reach listeners on a deeper level. Do you use fashion as a similar vehicle of expression?
Thank you so much. I can only hope that my fashion allows people to get a deeper insight into who I am and where I came from. I love taking influence from growing up in Japan and also as a way to connect with what my younger self wanted to wear.
How would you describe your personal style?
I think my personal style is a mix of every band I worshipped at Warped Tour growing up and lacing femininity in there wherever I can.
Do you have a favourite brand/go-to brand and are there any brands you want to work with?
I love R13. They play with textures and have a unique punk influence that I admire.
What are you working on next?
I’ve been writing a lot so I am hoping to release new music very soon. I’m also going to be having a little baby in a few months!