Foto-© Eric Ray Davidson

Überall rund um den Globus wird die Powerfrau Bishop Briggs für ihre Musik gefeiert – mit Recht! Nur 18 Monate nach der Veröffentlichung ihres Debütalbums Church of Scars, veröffentlichte sie letztes Jahr ihr Zweitwerk Champion. Die Sängerin, die in Japan und Hong Kong aufwuchs und in jungen Jahren nach LA zog, um Musik zu studieren, weiß, was sie will. Als sie im Dezember auf Tour auch nach Deutschland kam, trafen wir sie, um mehr von ihr zu erfahren zum Interview!

Welcome to Germany! First of all and congrats to your new album Champion. How is your Europe tour going so far? I heard that your Hamburg show a few days ago was sold out and someone described you as a total bundle of energy on the stage. How do you experience such tours? What do you feel?
It’s been so surreal. I truly can’t believe that all these people are coming out to the show. I’m sometimes just pinching myself. And as far as energy on stage goes, I just feel so much adrenaline and that’s how I express myself, too. Absorbing the energy on stage and feeling free.

What do you connect to the name Bishop Briggs, besides that it is your artist name and it is the town where your parents are from? Is there more to it?
I want to be reminded of home every single time I introduce myself and as you already said my parents are from a place in Scotland, called Bishop Briggs. It’s a close reminder to where I can be anywhere in the world and still be reminded of them and still have these warm feelings from home.

You were born in Great Britain and also lived in Japan and Hong Kong. When did you start with singing and making music and why?
Uhhh, as far as I can remember I’ve been singing. I was really lucky that my parents played a lot of music like Aretha Franklin and Etta James in our living room in Japan. And then on top of it we always went to karaoke bars and that was when I first saw my dad singing Frank Sinatra and I saw this gleaming in his eyes, so I’m chasing that feeling ever since.

Did Japan and Hong Kong influence your music or you as a musician in any way?
I would say a hundred percent. You know, I think it is really helpful, that those places are vibrant and eccentric and incredible places to live and grow up. So it definitely influenced a lot of my writing. I was a normal high school student, I also had my first heartbreak and that offered me a lot of writing material for the future. 

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I read that you were writing poems when you were younger? Are you still doing that?
Oh yes, I love to write poetry. It was always a way to have therapy for me and dive deeper on what I was feeling and express myself in a different width.

Do you think something would be different if your career would have started in Great Britain instead of LA?
Uh, that’s hard to tell. I think no matter what I would still be writing and singing as much as I possibly could. I have no idea but it is an interesting question to think about.

I heard that you moved to LA right after graduation high school and you are still living there.
Yes, I am. I’m at year ten now and I’m in love with Los Angeles. It’s crazy to think about.

Do you ever want to live somewhere else or do you think this city grounds your music and this is where everything started and where you want to stay forever?
It really is a place that feels like home. And the weather is so amazing, that it’s hard to beat. But I think nothing is for sure but I am really really content and I really love it.

What would your older self now tell your younger self, when you were 18 and freshly moved to LA?
It would be to keep going but I don’t know if I would really tell myself anything, but I mean that in a positive way. I think as I get older, you sometimes come to peace with certain decisions and the things that happen in your life, that is somehow how a human being grows. So I think it would be just to keep going and to remain positive. Also have these hopes and dreams because that is something that prepares me every single day to wake up and try and try.

Let’s talk about your album. Did it feel different to publish your second album?
It did. This album was written within two weeks non-consecutivly. It definitely felt like an approach of emotions and it was such a specific time, place and events whereas my first album Church of Scars was covering a variety of topics, feelings and it was over the course of two years. I was also touring during that time, whereas with this album it was process where I needed to write. I don’t know even if I wanted to write but I needed to. I needed to be creative and do something with the grief I had living in my body. So I just started showing up at producer studios and baring myself.

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Did you change personally or as an artist in between that short but probably intense time in between the two albums?
For sure, I think with every year you change and grow and learn things about yourself. I think one of the most important changes and shifts I made in my life was truly working with people that were feminists and that were kind. I do think that there is a deep connection with kindness and talented people. I feel that this was something that was a really beautiful shift in my life.

What did you feel writing and composing the new album?
It was very emotional. It really was a different stage of that grief, you know. I tried to use the writing as a way to heal and to hopefully find solid at the end of it. I feel that was the outcome of pouring my heart into writing and finding more peace than I thought.

Why did you decide to feature gospel in some of your songs? would you think fits that to your music, in contrast to some of your electronic and energetic beats?
I love gospel music and growing up I was actually in a gospel choir when I was really young. It was when I first became super fascinated with harmonies and vocals and even with the first album I liked using a lot of layer vocals. And with the new album and especially songs like ‘Tattooed on my heart’ we actually had a gospel choir come in and sing background vocals. So that was so surreal and exciting. I find it really important for when you are creating a track to feel as true to you as possible. And I find that gospel vocals are so soulful and deeply emotional. There is so much truth being told. So I was really excited and wanted more of that in my album.

What are your musical influences or even inspiration?
I love Hozier and Alabama Shakes. I think a lot of the music that I listed to growing up, like Janis Joplin and Etta James, they all really influenced me and there are constantly musicians that I turn to when I’m looking for true talent. Those are the people that I admire and always seek inspiration from. Ohhh and Amy Winehouse and Adele.

When I hear you singing, your voice sounds so powerful and rebellious. Have you always been like that or is the music an instrument for you to gain self-esteem in this though industry nowadays?
I don’t know. I have always loved using music as a way to express myself. It is always about letting out an emotion whether its anger or sadness. So I think, adding emotions while you’re singing, is so important and it’s something that I always try to have.

You played as an opening act for Coldplay, were at Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show, released two successful albums and many singles – what are your goals for the next 5 years?
I think it’s really important to live every single day as it would be my last. That’s why I put my all into every performance, in every song and into the people that I meet and interact with. So I would say my wish for every single day is to always be creative, be kind and to put my all into everything I do. I just hope for the future that I do more of that.

And last but not least. What does Sarah McLaughlin do when she is not playing a show or singing? What do you love to do in your spare time?
I love coffee with friends, I love Sims, I love writing, I love being in the studio, I love hot yoga, I love trying new food and travelling. But I also love my bed a lot and to sleep as well haha.

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Sarah Tobias

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