Phoebe Bridgers

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Phoebe Bridgers
Bridgers in July 2018
Bridgers in July 2018
Background information
Birth namePhoebe Lucille Bridgers
Born (1994-08-17) August 17, 1994 (age 26)
Pasadena, California, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)Musician
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active2014–present
Labels
Associated acts
Websitephoebefuckingbridgers.com

Phoebe Lucille Bridgers (born August 17, 1994)[1] is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer from Los Angeles, California. She made her solo debut with the studio album Stranger in the Alps (2017), followed by Punisher (2020) which earned Bridgers widespread critical acclaim and four Grammy Award nominations, including Best New Artist. Bridgers is also known for her membership in the musical groups boygenius (with Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus) and Better Oblivion Community Center (with Conor Oberst).

Early life[edit]

Phoebe Lucille Bridgers was born on August 17, 1994[1] in Pasadena, California, where she was raised.[2] As a child, Bridgers made extra money by busking at the Pasadena Farmers Market.[3] Bridgers graduated from the Sequoyah School in Pasadena and Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.[4][5] She spent some of her childhood in Ukiah, California.[6]

Career[edit]

2014–2018: Early beginnings and Stranger in the Alps[edit]

While in school, Bridgers was a member of numerous bands, including Einstein's Dirty Secret and Sloppy Jane, and frequently played shows around Los Angeles as a solo act.[7][8] Her career gained traction when she met American singer-songwriter Ryan Adams through mutual collaborator Harrison Whitford, and he produced her extended-play, ‘’Killer’’, released on Adams' record label PAX AM in 2014.[9][10][11][12][13] Bridgers also supported Julien Baker on her 2016 tour of the East Coast.[14][15]

In January 2017, Bridgers released the single “Smoke Signals” and opened for Conor Oberst on his European tour.[16] The two had met the previous summer at a secret showcase organized by Oberst at the Bootleg Theater in LA; he and his Bright Eyes bandmate Mike Mogis contributed vocals and production to Stranger in the Alps.[17] Bridgers joined The Joy Formidable and Ryan Adams for select dates on their respective U.S. tours before playing at South by Southwest in March 2017.[16] In June 2017, Bridgers signed to independent label Dead Oceans. She released her debut studio album Stranger in the Alps in September to critical acclaim.[18][19] The album was produced by Tony Berg, Ethan Gruska, and Rob Moose, all of whom would become consistent collaborators with Bridgers.[20] To promote the album, Bridgers performed on CBS This Morning and the NPR Tiny Desk; numerous songs off the record were featured in television productions throughout 2018, including Switched at Birth, Castle, Burden of Truth, Lethal Weapon, and Netflix's Trinkets.[21][22][23]

Bridgers has been referred to as a “serial collaborator,” and has either been featured on or co-released tracks with Lord Huron, Fiona Apple, Matt Berninger and The National, Manchester Orchestra, The 1975, and Kid Cudi, among others, in addition to full-album projects with Conor Oberst, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus.[24][25]

2018–2019: Boygenius and Better Oblivion Community Center[edit]

Bridgers performing onstage at the Haldern Pop Festival in 2018

In 2018, Bridgers teamed up with fellow indie singer-songwriters Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus to form the group Boygenius, signed to Matador Records.[26] They released three songs in August 2018 and subsequently announced an eponymous EP, which was released on October 26, 2018 to widespread acclaim.[27][28] Pitchfork called the collaboration “magic,”.[29] The band toured the U.S. in November, appearing on Late Night with Seth Meyers and the NPR Tiny Desk.[30]

Bridgers and Conor Oberst announced the formation of their band, Better Oblivion Community Center, on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in January 2019. They released their debut album later that month through Dead Oceans.[31] The band appeared CBS This Morning and earned Bridgers her third appearance on NPR’s Tiny Desk series.[32] Bob Boilen, creator of the Tiny Desk Concerts, said of their album, "It's that rare musical partnership where each injects vibrancy into the other's creative side."[33]

2020–present: Punisher[edit]

On February 26, Bridgers released the single "Garden Song" alongside its music video.[34] In April, The 1975 released the song "Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America" with Bridgers, ahead of their studio album Notes on a Conditional Form, off which Bridgers features on three tracks. She was slated to tour with them in summer 2020 before the tour’s cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[35][36] On April 9 2020, Bridgers released "Kyoto"[37] and announced on Instagram that her second album Punisher would be released on June 19, 2020. Bridgers released the album June 18, stating, "I'm not [delaying] the record until things go back to 'normal' because I don't think they should. Here it is a little early."[38] The album received widespread positive reviews.[39][40] In July 2020, Bridgers released the music video for her single "I Know the End".[41] While working on Punisher, Bridgers also produced Christian Lee Hutson's album Beginners, which was released on Anti- Records in May 2020.[24] That September, she played to an all-virtual audience of 4 million at Red Rocks Amphitheatre as part of their Unpaused Concert Series. In October, Bridgers announced the formation of her own label, Saddest Factory, an imprint of Dead Oceans.[42]

While awaiting the results of the 2020 United States presidential election on November 3, Bridgers tweeted that she would cover "Iris" by Goo Goo Dolls if then-president Donald Trump lost. The cover, which was recorded as a duet with Maggie Rogers under the name Phoebe & Maggie, was released exclusively on Bridgers’ Bandcamp page for one day only on November 13. The song received 28,000 downloads with proceeds going towards Stacey AbramsFair Fight Action organization to promote fair elections both in the state of Georgia and nationwide.[43][44] On November 10, Bridgers announced an extended-play of four reworked tracks from Punisher, entitled Copycat Killer, in collaboration with Rob Moose. Copycat Killer was released digitally on November 20, 2020.[45] On November 23, Bridgers released a cover of Merle Haggard's "If We Make It Through December", with proceeds going towards Los Angeles' Downtown Women's Center.[46]

Bridgers garnered four nominations at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards for Best New Artist, Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song, and Best Alternative Music Album.[47] On December 1, 2020, Bridgers released a music video for the song "Savior Complex," directed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and starring Paul Mescal. She featured on the Kid Cudi track "Lovin Me" which appears on his album Man on the Moon III: The Chosen (2020), and sang backing vocals on two songs by Charlie Hickey.[48][49] Bridgers was a musical guest on the eleventh episode of the 46th season of Saturday Night Live, playing "Kyoto" and "I Know the End" and closing the performance by attempting to smash her guitar on a fake stage monitor.[50][51][52]

Artistry[edit]

Bridger's music has been categorized as indie rock, indie folk and emo folk. It often centers around acoustic guitar and incorporates atmospheric strings, production and electronic instrumentation. Her music has been described as "anxious", "melancholy" and "haunting". Lyrical themes include death, trauma, therapy, depression and strained relationships, "undercut by her dry wit" and "straightforward delivery".[53][54][55] Several of Bridgers' songs are about personal issues, such as "Kyoto", which was inspired by her strained relationship with her father, and "Motion Sickness" and "ICU" which are about previous breakups.[56][53] Her complex storytelling and use of evocative imagery has also been commended, such as in "Garden Song".[57][58][55]

Bridgers has cited Elliott Smith as one of her favorite artists and her biggest influence on her songwriting and production style.[54][59][60] Her song "Punisher" explores her meeting Smith if he were still alive.[54] Other musical influences include bluegrass music, Bright Eyes, Blake Mills, Tom Waits, Avril Lavigne and Nine Inch Nails.[61][62][58][63] Her music often features a wide variety of popular culture references[64] - the writing of author Joan Didion, ASMR videos, television series Fleabag and true crime podcast My Favorite Murder were influences on Punisher.[53][54][65][66]

Personal life[edit]

Bridgers is bisexual.[67] Bridgers dated Ryan Adams beginning in 2014, before eventually breaking up; her song "Motion Sickness" is about their relationship.[3][68][69] Along with several other women, Bridgers accused Adams of emotional abuse in a 2019 report by The New York Times.[56] Bridgers was in a relationship with touring drummer and musical collaborator Marshall Vore until around 2017. Bridgers and Vore co-wrote her single “ICU" about their relationship.[70] Her song "Smoke Signals" is also believed to be about Vore. The two remain close friends and collaborators.[53]

She has spoken about her struggles with major depressive disorder and anxiety, for which she has sought therapy.[71][63] Bridgers is very active on Twitter and has been noted for her humor on the site.[54]

Politics[edit]

Bridgers, Fiona Apple and Matt Berninger released a cover of Simon and Garfunkel's 1966 song "7 O'Clock News/Silent Night" updated to reflect events in 2019, including the shooting of Botham Jean, the opioid epidemic in the United States and the testimony of Mick Mulvaney in President Donald Trump's first impeachment trial. Bridgers released this song with a statement, "Happy Holidays to everyone whose family has been literally or figuratively torn apart by Donald Trump. And to my racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, hypocritical family members, fuck you."[72] In 2020, she expressed support for and encouraged donations to racial justice charities via her website and called for the abolition of police during Punisher's release amid the George Floyd protests[73] and released her and Maggie Rogers' cover of "Iris" as a single specifically to raise money for Stacey Abrams' Fair Fight Action, having vowed to release the cover if Trump lost the 2020 presidential election.[43][44] In October 2020, Bridgers performed as part of the virtual fundraiser festival "Village of Love", of which all proceeds went to benefitting Planned Parenthood in Los Angeles and New York.[74]

Discography[edit]

Accolades[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated Work Result Ref
2018 Libera Awards Best American Roots & Folk Album Stranger in the Alps Nominated [75]
2021 Grammy Awards Best New Artist Herself Pending [76]
Best Alternative Music Album Punisher Pending
Best Rock Performance "Kyoto" Pending
Best Rock Song Pending
GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Breakthrough Artist Punisher Pending [77]

References[edit]

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