Brí is an Irish indie pop artist, whose stunning new single, and accompanying video, ‘In My Head’, is out today, September 9. Along with this comes the news that her highly anticipated debut album, ‘Hide’, will drop on October 22.
Brí comes from Offaly, a county in the very centre of Ireland, but hasn’t allowed anything to hold her back, with her debut single, ‘Low Supply’ receiving high praise from a diverse range of blogs, along with radio play. She performed a sold-out headline gig at the world-famous Whelan’s venue in Dublin, and was chosen to perform at Beatvyne’s Music X Tech Experience. Additionally, in 2020 she performed at Whelan’s Ones to Watch, and The Ruby Sessions, plus headline shows at The Sound House, Spirit Store, and festival line-ups, including Vantastival. While Covid-19 restrictions this year have seen fewer opportunities for live performance, nonetheless Brí has used her time wisely, building momentum for her upcoming and hotly-anticipated debut album, ‘Hide’.
Lisa had the chance to talk to Brí about her new single, and her upcoming album.
Hi Brí, thank you for agreeing to speak with us!
Hi Lisa, thanks for taking the time to chat with me!
Your new single, ‘In My Head’, is out September 9, ahead of your debut album, ‘Hide’ on October 22. What’s been the process of writing and recording ‘In My Head’? What’s inspired the song?
‘In My Head’ is a song that I wrote a long time ago about a half-way point of growth; where you’ve become able to recognise the people who are not worth spending more of your time or energy on, but you haven’t fully figured out how to let them go. I originally wasn’t going to include it on the album and it was the last song that I decided to include, but I think it ended up becoming both mine and my producer Asta Kalapa’s favourite. The vocals for eight out of ten tracks on the album were recorded by me in my bedroom (mostly during lockdowns) and I would send them remotely to my producer, describing my ideas and he would take flight with them.
You’ve received high praise for your sold-out show at Whelan’s, and you’ve been labelled “one to watch”. How does the girl from Offaly feel about this? Is it overwhelming, or are you taking it all in your stride?
At every milestone I feel excited and grateful, but also very aware that music comes with highs and lows and that every moment is fleeting. I tend to spend my time feeling excited about unannounced news that won’t be happening for another 6 months’ time so I have to remind myself to live in the moment and celebrate the now too!
With ‘Hide’, the feeling is that you’re no longer taking any crap from anyone, you’re standing up to let your voice be heard – what’s inspired you to make that move, and is there anything more you want listeners to take away from it, besides not being afraid to be themselves?
I think that is a perfect summary! I think growing up I thought that to ‘be nice’ meant to be as agreeable as possible. I would feel physically unwell when I disagreed with someone as I feared that this would result in a conversation that would inevitably turn sour.
Making an album as an independent, self-managed artist has meant organising photography, videography, actors, musicians, producers, carrying out your own PR or working with PR, making DIY videos, managing relationships, booking gigs, communicating with sound engineers, agents, venues and I think that at the end of it all you have to admit to yourself that – just maybe – you might know a thing or two.
I felt that the experience of making the album in itself gave me the voice I needed to back myself better. I think it’s important to always be open to advice and constructive criticism from others but it’s also smart to allow weight to your own dreams and visions when it comes to decision-making.
I hope people take away from my album that even the worst heartbreaks can lead to better days, the most difficult moments can be the best catalysts for growth, and painful situations can inspire the most beautiful art that can colour your life back in.
Ireland is a country filled with talented singers and musical artists; what is your unique selling point? What makes you stand out from the crowd?
I grew up truly respecting and admiring the vulnerability of songwriters and I write from my heart about real situations, feelings and experiences that I’ve gone through. I’m often told that the vulnerability of my lyrics, paired with ethereal vocals provides an emotionally immersive experience. It’s my hope that this is the case for anyone who listens to my music, that you feel like I can relate and that it heals you like it did me.
What advice would you give other artists just starting out in the music business? Any tips or pointers?
I would advise new artists to be open to the advice of others but to trust your gut too. It surprised me how many people will tell you that what you are doing is wrong in some way. Sometimes you will agree but it’s okay if you don’t. It’s okay to take what they are saying with a pinch of salt and to do what you want to do anyway. The worst thing that will happen if you are wrong is that you will learn from the experience.
What’s the songwriting process for you? Do you start out with an idea of what you’re going to write, is there a melody in your head first of all, or do the words flow like poetry to start with? Maybe you have a completely different way of doing it?
I start out with a bubbling feeling; I can’t describe it but I know the feeling of when there’s a song inside of me and that’s when I sit down with my guitar or my keyboard and I mess around with chords until it sounds like what I’m feeling. When it sounds like the right chord progression, that’s when I write the lyrics and melody simultaneously. Songs tend to flow out of me within 20 minutes and it usually feels as though I didn’t write them; it feels like they write themselves.
What inspires you? Who inspires you? In music, and in life?
I’m inspired by people who are authentically themselves and by people who are unafraid to be raw and vulnerable. Nobody is happy 100% of the time and I think if we can openly admit that from time to time, then maybe we wouldn’t be so hard on ourselves when we do have a bad day. I’m inspired by haunting vocals and heartfelt lyrics and I adore artists like Birdy, Laura Marling, Charlotte Lawrence, Gabrielle Aplin and Lana del Rey.
Now that restrictions are easing up in Ireland, what plans are you making in terms of touring?
While touring plans are not lined up for me just yet, I’m currently making plans of a headline show locally and getting my full band back together after a very long year and a half apart during Covid so we are really excited for that.
And finally…what question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does?
I feel like I’ve been asked a healthy mix of questions over the years. I enjoy talking about the songwriting process and I find it interesting how the process can vary so much between songwriters so I rate your questions 10/10!
Some things in life are inevitable. For a while, that inevitably was a new Shrek movie with an updated pop cover like “I’m a Believer” from Smash Mouth. These days it’s a new Despicable Me movie, this time in the form of spinoff Minions The Rise of Gru. And just as we all predicted, the new Steve Carrell led film comes stacked with a loaded soundtrack headlined by St. Vincent.
For her contribution to the Minions: The Rise of Gru soundtrack, St. Vincent covered “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc. Her version was produced by Jack Antonoff and continues a run of luck for the musician that earlier this year saw her win a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album.
Antonoff also gave St. Vincent a shout-out for her album Daddy’s Home when he won Producer of the Year at the Grammys.
Announcing the release of her funky cover, St. Vincent took to Twitter and wrote, “Excited to say the @Minions (including @jackantonoff) and I have just released our version of ‘Funkytown’ from #TheRiseofGru soundtrack. Shout out to Gru and them…” Included with the post was a graphic of St. Vincent as a minion.
Joining St. Vincent on the Minions: The Rise of Gru soundtrack are Tame Impala, Kali Uchis, Brittany Howard, Thundercat, Caroline Polachek, Diana Ross, and Weyes Blood, just to name a few.
The album will be released on July 1, coinciding with the film’s theatrical release. You can listen to St. Vincent’s cover of Lipps Inc. “Funkytown” below!
Back in October of 2021, Parmalee released ‘Take My Name’ as the second single from their third studio album. It was written with and produced by David Fanning, producer of the massive hit ‘Carolina’ that introduced me to the band back in 2008, Ashley Gorley and Ben Johnson. Robyn Collins of ‘Taste of Country’ described the song as “a musical marriage proposal” and lead singer of the band, Matt Thomas, says it was inspired by the marriage of brother Scott; he says “it made me think about what I would want to say to my future wife.”
Some songs almost become bigger than themselves when they tap into the lives and moods of everyone and this is very much one of those songs. It’s not difficult to see why this song has been adopted by fans all over the world irrespective of their taste in music; its words conjure all the romance and love that you’d hope to feel when you ask someone to marry you. It’s lyrically a shopping list of everything you feel at the moment you realise you’ve met the one, even if that’s after only a short time. I remember proposing to my wife after just 8 weeks and if I try to remember what I was feeling at the point I proposed and tried to put it into words I would hope it was very similar to this song. Now over 31 years later and still happily married I listen to this song and it brings all those feelings back in a rush so why wouldn’t it be the perfect song to overlay a proposal, sing at the wedding or just be part of the moment; it’s how I’d love my sons to feel when they propose to their partners.
Parmalee are very aware of their fans needs and were quick to record a wedding version for such occasions with a less catchy percussion and a softer piano focussed vibe than the original version. There have even been brilliant occasions where the band has turned up to “crash” a wedding and sing this song to the happy couple reminiscent of Maroon 5 and their song ‘Sugar’. None of those guests will forget that wedding in a hurry!
With all the interest in the song and the brilliant videos and messages the band have received, they felt the time was right to make their own narrative video to accompany the song as an addition to the previously released visualizer. The ‘Wedding Version’ video of the romantic song was filmed in Gallatin, TN and directed by Shane Drake. The heart-warming story follows the journey of the protagonist through middle school and all the way to adulthood featuring kids from a local school, an original 1968 Mustang Shelby GT350 and appearances from the band with the lead being played by frontman Matt Thomas.
“From the jump, the fans have really latched onto this song in such an amazing, life changing way- our fans have been the reason for so many of our own major milestones, so it means that much more to us that folks are using our song for their proposals and weddings and allowing us to be a part of those major moments in their lives. We wanted to pay tribute to the fans who have been on this journey with us since the beginning so in the music video you’ll see a story of love and loyalty unfold across the years-but don’t expect to see any weddings or proposals – the fan created videos far exceed anything we could depict. We love watching them.”
With over 135 million global on demand streams, the song has raced up the Country charts, outpacing the band’s previous single, the multinational Number 1 smash ‘Just The Way’ with Blanco Brown and has been popping up all over TikTok with creators playing the song over proposal and wedding videos and even sparking a trend of using the sound of the song and writing “if your man doesn’t make you feel this way then what are you doing?” over the video.
Coming from their recently released album ‘For You’, an album that has garnered critical acclaim with American Songwriter calling it “authentically real, genuinely inspired” and Billboard saying that “Parmalee find itself in the enviable position of being able to tap into multiple audiences”. What is very clear is that Country music is slowly starting to find a new, younger audience in the UK to stand alongside the existing fans of the genre. Zack Bryan has recently found himself high on the Spotify album charts and UK stars like Ed Sheeran have appeared alongside Country stars like Luke Combs at the Country2Country festival. Even Tom Odell has found himself headlining the British Country Music Festival in the Summer. Parmalee may be the band to really break down the barriers between Country music and the UK Charts with this song as the musical genre of this release is far less important than the honesty and emotion of the lyrics and Romance will always break down all of the barriers, or at least I would hope it would.
‘For You’ is out now and can be streamed and downloaded here. Find out more about Parmalee and their music online on their official website.
This Copenhagen DIY pop artist has managed the difficult task of mixing her soulful voice with vibrant dreamy production and lyrics with real streetwise attitude. The result is something that has given her the hit single ‘Obvious’ which Danish radio loved and the internationally acclaimed single ‘Back to Business’. Now she is releasing the excellent lead single ‘Summer’s Already Gone’ which sounds very modern Bond in its lo fi production but tells an unusual love story. Not a story about falling in love with a person, but about the love affair that always ends; the affair with Summer.
“I wanted to write a song that could represent both the fearlessness of the magical Summer days and the truly blue sadness of the re occuring love story it actually is when Summer eventually comes to an end. I know it’s a heartbreaking, melancholy feeling but it’s also everything I love about Summer.”
The song was written in Mercedess’ living room with Danish indie superstar Goss and the guitarist Søren Breum and is produced by the critically acclaimed artist Vera. It allows the velvet of the artist’s voice to tumble over the muted trumpets, break beats and flirty acoustic guitars and strings bringing to life the seasonal heartbreak.
The fact that it is about the love and anticipation felt for Summer is almost more poignant this year as we embark upon the first free Summer for a few years. The affair with Summer this year promises to be a torrid passionate affair as we’ve been apart so long but the heartbreak of its end will be felt more keenly. This song will be the soundtrack to the affair for sure.
The single is released on the same day as the debut album from this exciting new talent. Mercedess says of the album: “Casa Fantasia is an album about longing for closeness and honesty. These songs are an escape from reality-a place to feel free and be yourself. Writing it was a personal journey and process to me that hopefully will make space for creativity, art and emotions for others too”
The album promises to do just that with the artist’s melancholy and yet warm and dreamy vocals and marks an exciting new chapter for an artist destined to find international acclaim with this collection of music. Summer may come and go but I’m sure the appeal of Mercedess will be perennial.