Indie phenom Phoebe Bridgers in Australia for her biggest tour yet

When Phoebe Bridgers last toured Australia in 2019 on the back cover of her debut album Stranger in the Alps and her first release with Boygenius (her supergroup with Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus), the venues were what you’d expect for an indie breakthrough: the 500-seat Oxford Art Factory in Sydney, the 850-seat Croxton Bandroom in Melbourne.

Just four years later, a quick look at Bridgers’ current career clearly shows the 28-year-old’s meteoric rise to fame. Next week there is a sold out show at Sydney’s 5500 seat Hordern Pavilion. Another sell out at Melbourne’s 7500 seat Margaret Court Arena. A headline slot at Laneway Festival.

Whimsical, allusive and spanning different musical worlds, Bridgers' work struck a chord.

Whimsical, allusive and spanning different musical worlds, Bridgers’ work struck a chord.Credit:Frank Ockenfels

In a recent Rolling Stone In the cover story, the publication summarized the Bridgers’ runaway success after their second album punisher in 2020 by noting, “Bridgers made that breakthrough to music level during the pandemic that your dad heard about.”

“Absolutely,” Bridgers confirms with a dead chuckle on the phone from Los Angeles while waiting for a mocha order from Botanica, her Silver Lake eatery. “I’ve seen evidence of this and it’s amazing.”

fathers You really love Phoebe Bridgers.

“Well I love seeing dads at shows, it really warms my heart,” she jokes. “I’ve had some great conversations with dads who have come to my shows. It’s a big part of my life now.”

Through her achingly painful songs, sardonic humor, and sheer personality both online and in live interviews and performances, Bridgers has quickly become a big deal. punisherled by his infectious single Kyotoan eye roll of a paean to her father (who died just last month), earned the California native four Grammy nominations in 2021, including Best New Artist and Best Rock Song for Kyoto.

collaborations with fans like Taylor Swift Nothing new from the pop stars Red (Taylor’s version) Re-release, backup vocals on Lorde’s solar powerand a feature on SZA’s ghost in the machine from the R&B superstar’s youngest chart-topping performer SOShave further cemented Bridgers’ crossover appeal.

And then there’s the public romance with normal people Actor Paul Mescal – the two were reportedly engaged last November and then suddenly split in December – making Bridgers a surprise tabloid. She’s now ready for publicists to give interviews, adding that her team “respectfully declines all questions about Phoebe’s relationship life.”

Bridgers with actor ex-fiance Paul Mescal in November 2021 in Los Angeles.

Bridgers with actor ex-fiance Paul Mescal in November 2021 in Los Angeles.Credit:Rich Fury/Getty Images

Is she cool with everything, or does it feel like a lot?

“I mean, yes to both,” says Bridgers. “Everything felt like a success because all I ever really wanted to do was play the venues next to my house. I’m still kind of on this crazy rollercoaster ride of things I never could have imagined.”

Bridgers’ unlikely story began in 1994 in Pasadena, California, where she was born and raised by a mother who worked desk jobs and a father who built movie sets. “He built a beautiful door for you iron man movie when I was a kid, which was pretty cool,” recalls Bridgers. “It was awesome to get on the sets before they did a movie and see the beginnings of a massive sci-fi world.”

Entering the creative world always felt like a logical path, she says. “I really wanted to make music. I’ve always been fascinated by it and loved it since I was a kid.”

In 2009 she began attending LACHSA (Los Angeles County High School for the Arts), an independent performing arts school whose alumni include the Haim sisters, where she studied jazz vocals, opera and music technology.

In 2014 she released her first EP Murderer at Pax AM, the record label founded by one-time alt-country goldboy Ryan Adams. In 2019, Bridgers was among several women who accused Adams of emotional abuse in a New York Times Article. Stranger in the Alps“ probing motion sickness — a searing track about a toxic relationship with an older man, filled with Bridger’s signature wit (“You said when you met me you were bored/ And you were in a band when I was born”) — became her commercial breakthrough , which achieves gold status in the US with over 500,000 sales.

The reception for the follow-up punisherhowever – whose roll-out included an already iconic performance Saturday night live, where Bridgers drew the wrath of David Crosby of all people for wrecking her guitar and amp on stage – took Bridgers to another level and made her the poster child for what has come to be known as “Sad Girl Music”, a generational movement of emotional female singers -Songwriters like Mitski, Clairo and Lana Del Rey, whose influence has spread to pop stars like Olivia Rodrigo and even the genre’s forerunner, Taylor Swift. Take a look at Spotify’s viral playlist Sad Girl Starter Pack (lowercase included) and Bridgers is there endlessly.

While few musicians ever define such a cultural moment, let alone become the poster child for a sound so unequivocally appealing to the complexities and anxieties of Gen-Z, particularly female and queer listeners, Bridgers understandably balks at the label “sad girl.” “. .

“Of course I’m ashamed of it. It feels like a fetishization of feminine or queer pain – like we all have to be in pain to be interesting, or if we’re too happy then we’re stupid?

“But I don’t know, I understand the label too,” she adds. “I think people are just idiots and there is limited language to describe this much deeper thing.

“But yeah, I’m trying to break out of it at some point in my life. I’ll be 30 pretty soon,” laughs Bridgers. “Can’t do that sad girl shit forever.”

Bridgers performed at Glastonbury last June. She is currently touring Australia as part of the Laneway Festival.

Bridgers performed at Glastonbury last June. She is currently touring Australia as part of the Laneway Festival.Credit:Joel C Ryan / Invision

At this point, the music is one thing, the tabloid fodder is another. Even in this early phase, does she have the feeling that she still has her career under control and what she wants to make of it?

“Yes, sure,” says Bridgers. “I mean, it was never planned that way anyway. I just follow what I want to do. I feel like this is my main filter of what to do and when.”

This includes a temporary departure from solo work at the moment. Beginning in May, she will accompany Swift on the pop star’s first US tour in five years. “It’s a unique opportunity to play in front of as many people as possible in one place,” says Bridgers.

She will also appear in a horror film titled A24 by flavored indie company A24 I saw the TV light up, bizarre and hilarious alongside Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit. “I mean, I was literally in it for about 25 seconds,” Bridgers explains. “It’s a beautiful film, but no, I can’t act for shit.”


Her main musical focus is “the music I made with my friends” in Boygenius, whose second album is due out in March. In the last of the band Rolling Stone Cover story, Bridgers suggested the intense attention that went with it punisher and tabloid interest in her private life was more or less leading her against a solo album campaign at this point — that she wasn’t sure she would be able or willing to continue to focus on herself.

“Mostly I just wanted to hang out with my friends, especially since I was releasing punisher about COVID,” she explains. “It was the idea of ​​looking forward to hanging out with my buddies and writing music that we could play together in the future, it just gave me a lot of hope.”

Unless it’s a public retreat, few Bridgers would begrudge the right to some personal distance after their post.punisher whirlwind. In just a few years, she has gone from obscure indie artist to socialite whose online posts are scrutinized Daily Mail Clickbait (see the furor that followed the death of Queen Elizabeth II last September, when Bridgers posted a statement on Instagram comparing the British monarch to a “war criminal”).

Aside from her music, Bridger’s open and outspoken personality is largely why fans have bonded so strongly with the artist. Has she started to think about what she can post now or how personal she can be as her profile grows?

“I think I was a bit reluctant at first,” she says defiantly. “I mean, of course I need to protect myself more, but I don’t know – because when it comes to music, I’ll never be anything but honest.

“In terms of the other things, I don’t think anyone has a healthy relationship with social media — it’s impossible unless you fully engage with it,” she adds. “But you know, I like that I can talk to fans there, so I will continue.”


Certainly music to the ears of sad girls and dads everywhere.

Phoebe Bridgers will perform at the Laneway Festival in Sydney on February 5th and in Melbourne on February 11th. She will also perform at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion on February 6th and Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena on February 8th.

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Jaclyn Diaz

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