Phoebe Bridgers

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Phoebe Bridgers
Bridgers in October 2021
Bridgers in October 2021
Background information
Birth namePhoebe Lucille Bridgers
Born (1994-08-17) August 17, 1994 (age 27)
Pasadena, California, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer-songwriter
  • guitarist
  • record producer
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • bass guitar
Years active2014–present
Labels
Associated acts
Websitewww.phoebefuckingbridgers.com Edit this at Wikidata

Phoebe Bridgers (born August 17, 1994[1]) is an American singer-songwriter[2][3] from Los Angeles. 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 a member of 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.[4] She spent some of her childhood in Ukiah, California.[5] As a child, Bridgers made extra money by busking at the Pasadena Farmers Market.[6] Bridgers graduated from the Sequoyah School in Pasadena and Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and briefly attended Berklee College of Music before dropping out after her freshman orientation.[7][8][9]

Career[edit]

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

While in school, Bridgers was a member of various groups, including Einstein's Dirty Secret and Sloppy Jane, and frequently played shows around Los Angeles as a solo act.[10][11] After deciding not to attend college to focus on her career, her growing presence in the L.A. music scene led to her befriending producer Tony Berg, who began working with her on her first album for free.[12] Playing in an Apple commercial with Sloppy Jane had given her some financial security, so she planned to complete her record and then sell it to a label, rather than attempting to get signed first. This allowed her much more time and creative freedom to create what would become Stranger in the Alps.[13] Around this time, Bridgers met American singer-songwriter Ryan Adams through mutual collaborators, and he put out her EP Killer on his label PAX AM.[14][15][16][17][18] Bridgers also supported Julien Baker on her 2016 tour of the East Coast.[19][20]

In January 2017, Bridgers released the single "Smoke Signals" and opened for Conor Oberst on his European tour.[21] 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.[22] 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.[21] 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.[23][24] The album was produced by Tony Berg, Ethan Gruska, and Rob Moose, all of whom would become consistent collaborators with Bridgers.[25] To promote the album, Bridgers performed on CBS This Morning and the NPR Tiny Desk;[26] numerous songs from the record were featured in television productions throughout 2018, including Switched at Birth,[27] Castle,[28] Burden of Truth,[29] Lethal Weapon,[30] and Trinkets,[31] among others.

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, Maggie Rogers, Kid Cudi, and Taylor Swift, among others, in addition to full-album projects with Conor Oberst, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus.[32][33]

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.[34] They released three songs in August 2018 and subsequently announced an eponymous EP, which was released on October 26, 2018, to widespread acclaim.[35][36] Pitchfork called the collaboration "magic".[37] The band toured the U.S. in November, appearing on Late Night with Seth Meyers and the NPR Tiny Desk.[38]

On December 5, 2018, Bridgers released a Spotify Singles session recorded at Spotify Studios NYC featuring a performance of "Scott Street" and a cover of The Cure's "Friday I'm in Love".[39][40]

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.[41] The band appeared on CBS This Morning, and Bridgers appeared for the third time on NPR's Tiny Desk series.[42] 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."[43]

2020–present: Punisher[edit]

On February 26, Bridgers released the single "Garden Song" alongside its music video.[44] 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, which features Bridgers on three tracks. She was slated to tour with them in summer 2020 before the tour's cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[45][46] On April 9, 2020, Bridgers released "Kyoto"[47] 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."[48] The album received widespread positive reviews.[49][50] In July 2020, Bridgers released the music video for her single "I Know the End".[51] While working on Punisher, Bridgers also produced Christian Lee Hutson's album Beginners, which was released on Anti- Records in May 2020.[32] 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.[52]

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 to Stacey Abrams' Fair Fight Action organization to promote fair elections both in the state of Georgia and nationwide.[53][54] On November 10, Bridgers announced an EP of four reworked tracks from Punisher, entitled Copycat Killer, in collaboration with Rob Moose. Copycat Killer was released digitally on November 20, 2020.[55] On November 23, Bridgers released a cover of Merle Haggard's "If We Make It Through December", with proceeds going to Los Angeles' Downtown Women's Center.[56]

Bridgers performing onstage at the Shaky Knees Music Festival in 2021

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.[57] In December 2020, she released a music video for the song "Savior Complex", directed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and starring Paul Mescal. That same month Bridgers also featured on Kid Cudi's track "Lovin Me", on his album Man on the Moon III: The Chosen (2020), and sang backing vocals on two songs by Charlie Hickey.[58][59]

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 smashing her guitar on a fake stage monitor.[60][61][62] On March 9, 2021, Bridgers released a second Spotify Singles session featuring a cover of John Prine's "Summer's End" and a version of "Kyoto" featuring vocals from Jackson Browne.[63] In August 2021 it was announced that Bridgers would appear on Taylor Swift's second re-recorded album Red (Taylor's Version) on the track "Nothing New",[64] and The Killers' album Pressure Machine on the track "Runaway Horses", released August 13.[65] That same month, she released a cover of Metallica's 1991 song "Nothing Else Matters"; the song appeared on the cover album The Metallica Blacklist released the following month as one of 12 covers of the song.[66] She also provided background vocals on five tracks from Lorde's third album Solar Power, released on August 20.[67]

On September 3, 2021, Bridgers embarked on the Reunion Tour, starting in St. Louis, Missouri.[68] She featured on Muna's single "Silk Chiffon" released September 7 on Saddest Factory.[69] She also featured on the song "Atlantis" from Noah Gundersen's album, "A Pillar of Salt", released in October 2021. On October 13, Bridgers' version of Bo Burnham's "That Funny Feeling" opened at No. 2 on both the Rock & Alternative Digital Song Sales and Alternative Digital Song Sales charts.[70]

Artistry[edit]

Bridgers' music has been categorized as indie rock, indie folk, and emo folk.[71] It often centers acoustic guitar, and incorporates atmospheric strings, production, and electronic instrumentation. Her music has been described as "anxious," "melancholy," and "haunting." Themes include death, trauma, therapy, depression, and strained relationships, "undercut by her dry wit" and "straightforward delivery."[72][73][74] Several of Bridgers' songs are about personal issues; "Kyoto", for example, was inspired by her relationship with her father, while "Motion Sickness" and "ICU" are about past breakups.[75][72] Her complex storytelling and use of evocative imagery, such as in "Garden Song," have also been commended.[76][77][74]

Bridgers has cited Elliott Smith as one of her favorite artists and the biggest influence on her songwriting and production style.[73][78][79] Her song "Punisher" explores her meeting Smith if he were still alive.[73] Other musical influences include bluegrass music, Bright Eyes, The Replacements, Blake Mills, Tom Waits, Avril Lavigne, The Beatles, Jackson Browne, and Nine Inch Nails.[80][81][77][82] Her music often features a wide variety of popular culture references[83] – the writing of author Joan Didion, ASMR videos, television series Fleabag, and true crime podcast My Favorite Murder were all influential in the making of Punisher.[72][73][84][85]

In 2021, she received the Libera Awards as both Best Live/Livestream Act and Record of the Year 2021 for her album Punisher (Dead Oceans) by the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM).[86]

Both of Bridgers' albums contain Halloween-themed visual motifs, with the album covers of Stranger in the Alps and Punisher containing ghost and skeleton imagery respectively. She is known for wearing variations of a skeleton onesie, inspired by her reported love for "creepy and corny stuff."[87]

Personal life[edit]

Bridgers and Vore performing onstage at The Crocodile in Seattle in 2018

Bridgers is bisexual.[88] Bridgers dated Ryan Adams beginning in 2014, before eventually breaking up; her song "Motion Sickness" is about their relationship.[6][89][90] Along with several other women, Bridgers accused Adams of emotional abuse in a 2019 report by The New York Times.[75] 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.[91] Fans believe songs "Scott Street" and "Smoke Signals" are also about Vore. The two remain friends and collaborators.[72] Since June 2021, Bridgers has been in a relationship with Irish actor Paul Mescal.[92][93]

Bridgers has spoken about her struggles with major depressive disorder and anxiety, for which she has sought therapy.[94][82]

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 murder 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."[95] 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[96] 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.[53][54] In October 2020, Bridgers performed as part of the virtual fundraiser festival "Village of Love", benefiting Planned Parenthood in Los Angeles and New York.[97]

Discography[edit]

Tours[edit]

  • Stranger in the Alps Tour (2017-2018)
  • 2018 Tour (with Boygenius) (2018)
  • 2019 Tour (with Better Oblivion Community Center) (2019)
  • Reunion Tour (2021)

Accolades[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated Work Result Ref
2018 Libera Awards Best American Roots & Folk Album Stranger in the Alps Nominated [98]
AIM Awards Independent Album of the Year Stranger in the Alps Nominated [99]
Independent Track of the Year "Motion Sickness" Nominated
Independent Breakthrough of the Year Herself Won
2019 AIM Awards Best Independent Album Better Oblivion Community Center Nominated [100]
2020 Libera Awards Marketing Genius Nominated [101]
2021 Grammy Awards Best New Artist Herself Nominated [102]
Best Alternative Music Album Punisher Nominated
Best Rock Performance "Kyoto" Nominated
Best Rock Song Nominated
GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Breakthrough Artist Punisher Nominated [103]
Libera Awards Record of the Year Won [104][105]
Best Alternative Rock Record Won
Marketing Genius Nominated
Video of the Year "Savior Complex" Nominated
Best Live/Livestream Act Herself Won
AIM Awards Best Independent Album Punisher Nominated [106]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]