Interview: Bishop Briggs

Bishop Briggs

Bishop Briggs talks about opening for Coldplay on their “A Head Full of Dreams” tour, experiencing a hit single with “River,” making everything about the music, and never having a Plan B.

From a pure logistical standpoint, how does a 24-year-old with just four songs released and a handful of tour dates under your belt end up with a hit single and opening for Coldplay? How much time and hard work behind the scenes has gotten you to this point that people might not fully realize?

That is a huge first sentence! Wow. I am so thankful for that sentence – I’m still wrapping my head around that one myself! I think with music, it’s all about resilience and having a standard of who you want to work with, no matter how desperately you want this dream.

What have the last several months been like to experience? As someone who started singing and dreaming about doing music since the age of four, what is it like to see those dreams start to come true in reality? Has it had time to sink in yet?

It is absolutely surreal. I’m just so thankful to be waking up each day and doing music. That has always been the dream. I don’t think it will ever sink in!

Walk us through what opening for Coldplay at a football stadium is like. Is it surreal? Intimidating? Exciting beyond belief? How do you go about performing on a stage so big and trying to win over a crowd like that?

Well, in a way it’s all of the above. At this point I’m so in shock that I’m here that I’m just trying to soak in every second and enjoy myself. As far as performing, all I can do is be authentically myself. I think whether it’s a stadium or an intimate crowd, that will always translate.

What has it been like seeing “River” break through, first on Spotify to making the Alternative top 10 to playing on The Tonight Show? How big do you think/would you like to see the song get?

Simply put, I’ve been full of gratitude for all of it.

What was the key to writing “River?” Did it feel different at the time, like you knew you were onto something?

It did feel different to anything I had written before. I wrote it with the producers behind the track, Mark Jackson and Ian Brendon Scott. It was the first song we had ever worked on together, and after we finished it, we decided to keep going!

You released another stunning new song this month, entitled “Pray (Empty Gun).” What’s the story behind that one?

Thank you so much! That song was about a time in my life where I had to take the higher ground and send positivity, no matter how difficult it became.

How difficult was it breaking into the L.A. music scene when you moved there? I heard you would play a show every two days or so. Was it relatively smooth sailing, or were there moments of self-doubt where you wondered if you had made the right call?

It’s a creative field – is it ever smooth sailing?! Ha! Even in my darkest days, I knew I would wake up the next morning wanting to do music. That’s still how I am today. There has never been a Plan B and I think that helps keep self-doubt at bay, even if it’s temporary. This is such a strange field, so if you are pursuing it, even subconsciously, you must think you are capable and in turn want to prove to those around you that you are.

What was the early period of discovery like when you first started singing and writing? How have you been able to nurture and develop that passion and those skills over the years?

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I can only hope that lyrically and melodically I’ve improved! I’ve gotten into the habit of writing every day, even if it’s jotting down in the notes section of my phone. It helps your brain always be “on.” I also think it’s important to collaborate and work with people that push you.

You’ve described your writing style as “dark poetry.” What all does your lyrical process entail? What kinds of things do you draw from or find you gravitate the most towards?

My process isn’t so much of a process as it is a release. Writing is my outlet to be creative and close chapters that I want to be closed. I am inspired by anything and everything, but my writing is generally about the longest and most strenuous relationship I’ve ever and will ever have, which is with music.

You’ve talked about wanting to keep things about your work mysterious, such as not talking a lot during shows or saying what your real name is (which is now online, for better or worse). What’s your rationale and approach with that stuff?

It’s more so making everything about the music. I think mystery is so valuable in this day and age, where there is accessibility to everything. That being said, I was oddly relieved when my name showed up on Wikipedia one day! We are on this journey together, and just as I am learning more about those around me, I’m appreciative that people can and want to learn more about me as well.

When can we expect more new music and/or a full-length album? Is there a vision and ideas you have for that album already?

Just know I always have something up my sleeve!

What do you think has been the biggest factor in your journey and success so far? The biggest factor needed to take things even further?

Commitment to the craft and all that comes with it. No matter how little money I had in my bank account or how few gigs I could book, I relentlessly made the biggest effort I could in the hope that I would look back on my life without regret.

Looking ahead to your future, what excites and terrifies you the most? Where does Bishop Briggs go from here?

This whole journey has been a constant tie of extreme excitement and extreme terror! I don’t think that will ever change. Well literally from here, I am sitting in the backseat of a van on my way to our biggest show yet, opening for Coldplay at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas. As always, I am continuing to write, and can’t wait to share more with all of you!

Catch Bishop Briggs on tour with Kaleo this fall. Her latest single “Pray (Empty Gun)” can be heard here.