It was a frigid December day in Manhattan when we went to visit pop goth goddess Bishop Briggs
at Island Records. Layers upon layers had to be worn, but once we made it inside the building, things really warmed up. Not just because the people at Island Records aren't barbarians who live without heat in the dead of winter, but because of the company we were graced with. When Bishop Briggs entered the room along with her sister (who I continually joked should be her manager), her enormous smile emitted enough positivity to end a war. And no, I'm not exaggerating. She filled up the room with an immediate warmth that was so tangible and infectious, it made for one of our most fun interviews yet.
After being born in London to Scottish parents, moving to Tokyo, then Hong Kong, and finally Los Angeles, it's safe to say Bishop Briggs had an exotic upbringing, unique compared to most. When asked where she was located when she decided she wanted to become a musician, she spoke about being introduced to karaoke culture while growing up in Japan. "I saw my dad performing and I was like 'there's nothing more that I want than to have a piece of this passion I see on stage.'" When asked if she'd ever consider moving to New York, she admitted she was considering it - until she felt the intense winter breeze. Fair enough.
Something notable about Bishop is her dark style. Flaunting a classic black Adidas zip-up with skeleton gloves, a choker, and two Sailor Moon-inspired hair buns, she creates her own character. However, although she visually has this borderline-gothic aesthetic, talking to her seemed very authentic. We touched on how broad the term "gothic" is becoming today, and when asked if she considered herself to be categorized as that, she responded, "Depends on the day. But I do think gothic kids and that whole world is becoming very 'in' right now. Don't you feel they're kind of the center of the high school cafeteria? At least thats what I hope."
What's even more important is the music. Bishop doesn't even have a full album out yet and she has already garnered a massive following, specifically with her single "River," which has 22+ million streams on Spotify alone. But it's not hard to understand why: when you hear Bishop's soulful voice and the enthralling punch of a chorus, it will be in your head all day long. "Wild Horses" is another dark pop song with a hauntingly eerie drop that will pump you up as much as it will give you chills. She also recently released the lyric video for her single, "Dead Man's Arms," with a nice personal touch, as it is actually made to look like a karaoke screen to pay homage to her past. And it's one of her favorite songs, "Whenever I perform it live I feel angry inside." But in a good way.
During our conversation, Bishop promised to release more music this year. While we eagerly wait, let's dive into her world of travel, chokers, and quirky darkness via our latest and enjoyable interview.
BRIGGS WAS BORN IN LONDON TO SCOTTISH PARENTS FROM BISHOPBRIGGS, SCOTLAND, WHICH INSPIRED HER PROFESSIONAL NAME. AT AGE FOUR, SHE MOVED TO TOKYO WITH HER PARENTS. SHE SANG IN PUBLIC FOR THE FIRST TIME AT A TOKYO KARAOKE BAR, AND IMMEDIATELY REALIZED SHE WANTED TO CONTINUE PERFORMING THROUGHOUT HER LIFE. GROWING UP WITH THE CITY'S KARAOKE BAR TRADITIONS AND HEARING MUSIC FROM MOTOWN MUSICIANS TO THE BEATLES AT HOME ALSO INFLUENCED HER TO PURSUE MUSIC. SHE STARTED WRITING HER OWN SONGS AT AGE SEVEN, WHICH SHE WOULD PERFORM FOR HER FAMILY. SHE MOVED TO HONG KONG AT AGE 10, WHERE SHE LIVED UNTIL SHE WAS 18. AFTER GRADUATING FROM HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL SHE MOVED TO LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA.
AFTER MOVING TO LOS ANGELES, BRIGGS STARTED HER CAREER BY PLAYING IN ANY VENUE SHE COULD, OFTEN FOR CROWDS AS SMALL AS THREE PEOPLE. SHORTLY AFTER A 2015 PERFORMANCE IN A LOCAL BAR THAT GAINED THE ATTENTION OF FORMER A&R REPRESENTATIVE GEORGE ROBERTSON, BRIGGS RECORDED HER FIRST SINGLE "WILD HORSES" UNDER THE NAME BISHOP. THE SONG WAS PRODUCED BY MARK JACKSON AND IAN BRENDON SCOTT. MANY USERS FOUND BRIGGS VIA SHAZAM WHEN SEEING AN ACURA COMMERCIAL WHICH FEATURES THE SONG.
IN JANUARY 2016, BRIGGS RELEASED THE SINGLE "RIVER" AND CHANGED HER RECORDING NAME TO BISHOP BRIGGS TO AVOID CONFUSION WITH A HEAVY METAL BAND OF THE SAME NAME. THE SONG WAS A COMMERCIAL SUCCESS. SHORTLY AFTER ITS RELEASE, THE SONG QUICKLY MADE IT TO NUMBER 1 ON HYPE MACHINE'S POPULAR CHARTS AND REACHED NUMBER 2 ON SPOTIFY'S GLOBAL VIRAL 50. IT ALSO RECEIVED AN HONORABLE MENTION ON SHAZAM'S PREDICTED SONGS OF THE SUMMER 2016, WHICH WAS FEATURED IN BILLBOARD. AS OF MAY 2016, "RIVER" WAS STEADILY CLIMBING THE SHAZAM FUTURE HITS CHARTS. "RIVER" HAS SO FAR PEAKED IN THE TOP 10 ON THE ROCK AIRPLAY AND THE ALTERNATIVE SONGS CHART.
IN MAY 2016, SHE RELEASED HER THIRD SINGLE, "THE WAY I DO". IT WAS ALSO ANNOUNCED THAT SHE WOULD OPEN FOR COLDPLAY IN THE FALL OF 2016 ON NINE OF THEIR TOUR DATES. BRIGGS MADE HER TELEVISION DEBUT ON AUGUST 1, 2016, PERFORMING "RIVER" ON THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON. SHE RELEASED HER FOURTH SINGLE, "PRAY (EMPTY GUN)" ON AUGUST 12, 2016.