ARTIST NAME: Lydia Briggs
SONG TITLE: Rock Bottom
RELEASE DATE: August 9th, 2019
GENRE: Indie Pop/Alternative
Born and raised a mile from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Lydia Briggs has been playing piano non-stop since the age of 5. Clearly, on a mission from the start, she created her peace/love/victory logo at the age of 3 and held performances for schoolyard friends…
At 11, she began writing songs; at 13, filed for her first business (Gin House Records); and at 14, copyrighted all her material.
She is honored to have worked with the legendary, multi-platinum producer Jim Wirt (Fiona Apple, Incubus, No Doubt, Hoobastank, LIVE, Hidden In Plain View) for the recording of her first EP.
Tell us how you build the confidence to face the audience.
It can be challenging building up to the moment when a new song is released.
Like anybody else, I worry about what people might think about me. But I also realize there will always be someone who will say something negative that I don’t want to hear. As long as I keep that in mind, it doesn’t affect me as much. I put my heart and soul into what I do. And in the end, I want to share my music with people, even if they don’t care about it as much as I do.
Being on stage is never hard when I’m singing because I’m in the moment – in the song. I feel it’s harder to talk on stage than to sing to the audience. I’m still working on that piece.
Tell us your weakness and strength in performance.
My strength is my vocals are solid, and I’ve learned to harmonize with almost anyone during a performance. I put my soul into my work. I am genuine, and I care about the song and the lyrics. I like to take my time and study each song. I really think about the song and try to connect with it. I want to approach every song with care.
My weakness is that I am a very quiet person, naturally. This makes it hard for me to talk to the audience. This year I am working more on my performance.
Discuss your songwriting.
I always end up writing songs when I need to get thoughts out. Mainly I write songs when I’m dealing with overwhelming feelings, so many of my songs tend to be a bit heavy-hearted.
List your other skills apart from singing.
Keys and songwriting – And I am also able to see auras. It’s a great skill to have because you can gain insight into a person’s personality pretty quickly.
Tell us the most memorable moment in your music career.
It was the first time I walked into Superior Studios to work with multi-platinum producer Jim Wirt. The recording was something I always dreamed of doing. I was so nervous, but Jim was amazing at creating a relaxing atmosphere and pulling the best out of me. I loved singing and recording my harmonies and Jim allowed me to stack them one on top of each other. It was incredible to see my songs ultimately come to life in front of me in that studio.
Discuss your first performance.
My very first performance of my own work was at a little coffee and ice cream shop in the far suburbs of Cleveland. I remember being super excited. There were only a handful of people there, but I had a blast. It was the perfect first gig, and getting free ice cream at the end was a huge bonus.
Elaborate on what you know about the music business.
The music business is convoluted. I quickly learned that what gets said at the table is never what ends up in the contract. And that the streaming of my music doesn’t pay well, at first, until you’re able to reach millions of streams. It’s up to me to find different ways to earn the funds to continue making music professionally, mostly by playing gigs and selling merchandise.
Labels are looking for young artists, but I think they also fear working with young artists. For one, labels are concerned with the legalities of signing artists who are underage. The music industry wants musicians young, but they also are looking for demand – they want proof I can pull in an audience or get millions of social followers. So the advice I often get is to tour and pick up a fan base. However, that’s hard to do when you are 16 and still in school.
People are impressed with my vocals and playing for my age, but they also say my lyrics are too adult. It’s just a weird mix of comments that don’t always add up. So I decided to stay independent right now and stick to what is working best for me. I’m just trying to stay focused on my dream in hopes of catching the right person’s attention.
List the instruments you can play.
Tell us how you tackle the finance of your project.
It’s super hard. Being a salesperson seems the opposite of being an artist. But I know it’s necessary. While I’m getting some help from my family to support my career, it’s still on me to raise money to create videos and pay for recording time.
I’ve learned if you ask for help, many people are willing to give you a hand. If you remind them about the tip jar and that buying merch helps you get back into the studio, people will often support you in significant ways.
I recently had someone buy a bunch of my stickers but asked me not to send them to her. Instead, she told me to post them all over the city to get the word out about my music. It’s incredible how kind and thoughtful people can be.
Tell us how you build your melody.
I really like writing hooks. Sometimes I just mess around on the piano, and something comes up. Other times a melody pops into my head, and then I’m rushing to the piano to get it down in time. The vocal melody comes naturally. But ultimately the song starts with the hook.
Describe your live performance and recording in the studio.
Both are fun in different ways. I love the studio. I get to work on each song over and over. I know that drives some artists crazy… It feels so creative. I get to play and stack sounds to create new sounds. You watch the song evolve and mature right in front of you. It’s so amazing.
I also love performing live because I get to connect with people. Sometimes I’ll create new parts on the spot – while I’m playing – that end up sticking in a song. Performing live is raw, and you get to focus on the people and their energy as we’re experiencing the music together. I love seeing how my work impacts the audience when I’m on stage.
Tell us if you prefer using live instruments for your recording.
I like the mix. I absolutely love live drums – it’s such a tactile sound. When I was recording Rock Bottom, Jim wanted to use synths and patches overlapping the live drumming. I wasn’t sold on the idea at first but was willing to give it a shot. It ended up turning out so cool. I didn’t expect it to blend so nicely with the live drums.
Tell us the feedback you are getting pertaining to your music.
Feedback has been terrific. I’ve been getting great compliments on my voice, piano, and songwriting capabilities – especially for being young. I get a lot of references to being the next Fiona Apple or having a touch of Carol King in me – those are huge compliments as they are both idols of mine. I get an occasional negative remark. But they can be pretty hilarious to read, like: “I don’t dig your 90’s guitar sound,” which is perplexing when no guitar is on the song.
Discuss how you record your song.
It’s pretty straightforward. I have the songs down before going in. And I have an idea of the overall sound I want for the song. I start with the scratch tracks on the piano first. Then, we will whip out the vocal scratch tracks on the same day. Synths and patches happen immediately after that.
Prior to recording, I send my demos to the drummer, and live drums are recorded on the second day. At this point, Jim might suggest an arrangement change or ask to hear a write-up for another verse on the spot. After we have all of that down, we might go back and rerecord the piano if needed. I let Jim work his magic on bass by himself.
I’ll take a week off from the studio and then come in and do vocals, harmonies, maybe add the Rhodes, throw in a tambourine, or experiment with other sounds and effects…
Tell us if you write all your songs.
Yes, absolutely. I’ve been writing since I was 11. We have two pianos, and I play consistently every day. I record hooks that I love – I journal quite a bit, too. So I’ll go back and review my journals for inspiration for the hooks I’ve developed. I have enough songs to put together a complete album currently. I’m just methodical about how I produce and release them.
State your favorite song.
My favorite song I’ve written is either ‘Rock Bottom’ or ‘Carolina Queen.’ I can’t decide. I love the bridge in ‘Rock Bottom.’ ‘Carolina Queen’ will be released in September. I am getting ready to shoot the video down in South Carolina.
It’s too hard to pick a favorite song. I listen to absolutely everything. My favorite song at the moment is “Me and My Dog” by Boy Genius. I’ve been listening to it 24/7. It’s short and sweet and has this carefree quality. I love the way the lyrics are written. They are so upfront and honest.
Discuss the themes of your songs.
They all have to do with something that has gone on in my life and around my experiences.
Writing allows me to talk about what I’m going through and express my feelings. It’s an outlet, that’s probably why I write so much. I get some flak for writing sad songs, but not all of my songs come from a dark place.
For me, songwriting is about processing my experiences, and ultimately, something beautiful comes out of it to share with other people. Even though the topic might be tough – there is always a glimmer of hope and willingness to keep moving forward.
Elaborate on the song.
With “Rock Bottom” I’m refusing to stay silent. A person I loved and trusted suddenly turned against me, and I left the experience with no sense of self. I completely shut down and felt powerless.
Writing this song was incredibly cathartic. The song was my first step to overcome the powerlessness I sometimes feel like a woman.
I wrote, produced, and shot the video for the song surrounded by beautiful, caring people in a safe environment. Creating this song allowed me to turn a negative experience into something positive.
Elaborate on your artist name and the title of the album.
My given name, Lydia Nicole, means Beautiful Victory. That is the working title of my album. I feel it best describes that glimmer of hope I’m writing to find in my songs – surviving what life is throwing at me.
Share your press release and review with us.
Singer/Songwriter Lydia Briggs releases a rock anthem for all women – Rock Bottom.
Debut EP due out later this year on her own label, Gin House Records…
Lydia Briggs, Cleveland-based singer/songwriter releases a new single, “Rock Bottom.” The track is available on all worldwide DSPs on August 9th. Partnering once again with Cleveland-based videographers, Clockwork 9 (Fallen Captive), the music video premieres on the day of the release on her YouTube channel.
With “Rock Bottom,” Lydia refuses to take refuge in silence. You may hear things you don’t want to hear, but let the suspicions seep in. Just as the iconic Ophelia was left with no sense of self, Lydia echoes this sentiment – never truly seen and being completely shut down. And the person who may have loved her once suddenly turns against her.
“Creating this video was extremely cathartic,” says Lydia Briggs. “My songs stem from real-life experiences. So writing Rock Bottom is the first step to overcome the powerlessness I sometimes feel as a young woman.
The video allowed me to express my fear, anger, and sadness in a safe place. And I was able to do this in a beautiful way with a really fun crew around me.”
Born and raised a mile from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Lydia Briggs has been playing piano non-stop since the age of 5. At 13, she began writing songs, filed for her first business at 14 (her independent label, Gin House Records), and copyrighted all of her material. At 15, Lydia teamed with producer Jim Wirt to record her first six songs and began releasing singles through her distribution partner, AWAL.
The 16-year-old musician is blessed with a pure voice, blues-influenced piano style, and a bohemian sensibility. Reflecting on her idol, Regina Spektor, Briggs’s brain-voice connection runs from her fingers to her heart – singing and playing the piano like one.