Raised to love a wide range of music, Bridget Rian grew up on everything from country to jazz.
Living in Long Island, New York, her mom had bought her a guitar for her 10th birthday, and soon after she began songwriting at age 11. Rian took her parents’ love for music with her, and in high school a choir teacher had strengthened her desire to pursue a life of music.
After majoring in music in college and often changing her mind, she moved to Nashville in the summer of 2019 to start focusing on her craft. Signing with Lady Savage MGMT & PR in the fall of 2020, she is days away from releasing her debut single with an EP to follow later this year.
Recording at The Smoakstack in Nashville, Tennessee, the EP was recorded with help from producer Paul Moak. He was able to understand Rian’s vision and brought out the best of her creative abilities. Rooted in the ideas of mortality and loss, the dark and ethereal sound gives way to intricate storytelling and touches on the familiar topic to her of ghosts. Having funny and interesting stories as a baby talking to ghosts, Rian knew that would be the theme of this project when she realized that in every song she’s either talking about ghosts, her past self, or to someone who has passed.
An embodiment of her sound as a whole, her debut single, “Type of Girl,” which drops this Friday February 26th, blends indie, pop, and rock with a twist of Americana instrumentation. The pensive lyrics and soothing vocals work seamlessly as a match for the entrancing acoustics. Through experience of negative relationships, Rian came to the understanding that it’s possible for anyone to find themselves in a relationship they never saw coming, and she had to learn how to forgive herself for putting pressure to be the “type of girl” who would never get played. The girls who get hurt may seem weak, but getting stronger is the only way to move on.
We had the chance to chat with Rian to dig in a little bit more.
So what genres of music did you grow up with while in New York?
I grew up surrounded by all different types of music. My grandad played guitar and introduced me to classic country artists such as Hank Williams. My other grandfather loves jazz music, and would cook Sunday dinner every week while listening to his record collection. My parents love music, and I grew up listening to everything from Frank Sinatra, The Grateful Dead, and Stevie Wonder, to artists like John Prine, and A Flock of Seagulls. I couldn’t even list everything they introduced me to. And my high school choir teacher introduced me to singer-songwriters like Fiona Apple, Ani Difranco and Ingrid Michaelson. Of course being from Long Island, the hometown of bands like Brand New and Taking Back Sunday, I have love for a lot of emo music, too.
Can you describe your musical journey and how you decided to move to Nashville?
I knew from the time I was 15 that I would end up in Nashville. My mom took me to visit in high school, and I just felt like it was where I belonged. After graduating high school at 16, I interned for a year in the music industry and then went to college. When I graduated college, I lived at home and played a few shows in New York, but I started writing more and more and just felt like it was time for a change. Nashville was my dream, so I quit my job and packed up my car and drove myself to Nashville.
What artists inspire your songwriting and sound most?
This is such a hard question because I feel influenced by so much music. For my recent project, I think my biggest influences were Imogen Heap and Radiohead. Country/Americana songwriting is also a huge influence for me and so are artists like Sufjan Stevens, Fiona Apple and Damien Rice.
Could you walk us through a day in the life of your songwriting process?
I try to write pretty frequently. I think there are two different creative processes I follow. I co-write with other songwriters a couple times a week. There we meet up and talk about our lives. Eventually, we will work on a song collaboratively. I love doing that. It’s a really special process.
For “Type Of Girl” and the other songs on my upcoming EP, I wrote them alone. Sometimes I sit down during the day and block off a couple of hours for me to just feel, write and see if something comes out. Other times, I will feel like I really have something to say and I need to say it. It’s like therapy. I think that’s what happened with “Type Of Girl”. It was late at night and I just felt like I had to sit down and process some things going on in my life. It kinda just came out from top to bottom, and I’m not sure I really had anything to do with it.
How long has your upcoming debut EP, Talking to Ghosts, been in the works for?
I decided to record this project this summer in about late July, early August and I recorded it in September. I feel like I’ve been waiting forever to share it.
Are the concepts of loss and mortality more intriguing to write about and does it just come naturally?
Honestly, it just comes naturally. I think mortality and loss were some major topics in my life at the time that I wrote these songs. It’s more interesting for me to write about the truth than anything else. I didn’t plan on writing these songs. I wrote about what was happening in my life and what I’ve been personally dealing with.
What was it like having Paul Moak produce your EP?
Paul is the best. I felt like he really understood me and what I wanted. We really went over the material carefully before recording. He put together the best band. He really cares about the music. Paul’s studio, The Smoakstack, is really vibey and awesome, too. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience and producer for this project… he’s a genius.
How did the concept behind your debut single, “Type of Girl”, come to be?
“Type Of Girl” came from a string of bad dates. Dating in your twenties just kinda sucks, especially when you move to a new city. I had a guy tell me that I’m, “not like other girls,” because I wear Vans [insert eyeroll here] so I was frustrated and wrote this song. It’s really about gender expectations, high expectations and forgiving myself.
Did anyone else play a part in writing “Type of Girl”, and are you one to get involved in co-writing?
I wrote “Type Of Girl” by myself. I do enjoy co-writing. It’s really the culture here in Nashville and it’s fun to write with other people. I just felt the most connection to some songs I wrote alone for this project.
What can fans expect from the rest of the album?
A lot of feelings!
Do you have plans in place for after the EP that your fans can anticipate?
I know we are working on some live performance video type things. Nothing is set in stone but I am sure everyone will be seeing a lot more music and content from me soon!
Photos by Libby Danforth