The Untold Truth Of Phoebe Bridgers

Indie rock musician Phoebe Bridgers always knew she would be a famous musician. "I felt like I had a God-given gift," she told The Guardian in June 2020 about her natural musical finesse. "Aged 12 or 13 I was just like, 'Wow, I'm the next Bob Dylan.'" To hone her skills, she studied opera, jazz, and music engineering at the Los Angeles County High School for the Art, per Them.

After high school, Bridgers was accepted to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, but ran the other way after a "heinous" orientation, per a May 2020 interview with The New Yorker. "I hit the ground running. I started playing a show every week in L.A., just trying to meet people," she recalled. Bridgers was eventually spotted by a talent scout while performing and snagged some roles in Taco Bell, HomeGoods, Apple, and Intuit commercials, between which she wrote her debut studio album Stranger in the Alps. Her album garnered enough popularity to land her a contract offer from Dead Oceans, with whom she is still signed today. 

Bridgers' second studio album, Punisher, was released in 2020 and earned her four Grammy nominations, including Best New Artist. Additionally, the "Kyoto" singer launched her own record label, Saddest Factory, through Dead Oceans. Bridgers is furthering her success in 2021 as the musical guest for Saturday Night Live. As she continues to rack up acclaim, let's take a look at the untold truth of Phoebe Bridgers.

Phoebe Bridgers has a specific way of songwriting

Punisher dubbed "one of the year's best albums" by Rolling Stone with writing that is "candid, multi-dimensional, slyly psychedelic, and full of heart," per Pitchfork. Of course, creating music held in such high regard isn't a walk in the park. In an October 2020 interview with American Songwriter, Bridgers said she is constantly working on her craft. "I write all the time, very slowly, every day," she explained. "Sometimes I spend all day doing it. Most days, I put my guitar down the minute I want to kill somebody. That headspace isn't helpful, but some days it just happens," she continued. "But, when it's all flowing, it's more productive."

So how does the "Garden Song" singer write her songs when she is in a state of flow? According to Bridgers, she hand writes her lyrics and then records them quietly on her phone. "I have a hard time typing them on a computer," she told the Rolling Stone Music Now podcast in October 2020. "Maybe it just doesn't make me feel cool ... And I write faster in cursive," she explained. Once her songs are written, Bridgers then whispers them into her phone's voice memos to avoid getting yelled at by her neighbor for being too loud (again). "I'll write a song and then it'll be in a completely different key than something I can sing because I whispered the entire time when I was writing it," she shared.

Phoebe Bridgers is inspired by musicians and a writer

When it comes to her "frank and anxious folk songs," that often touch dark subjects like death, Phoebe Bridgers says she pulls inspiration from a few creatives. Her writing and world view, according to a 2020 interview with Them, was completely changed by the book Her Body and Other Parties fiction writer Carmen Maria Machado. The book consists of a collection of short stories that breaks down "the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism," per Goodreads. "I like that it's magical realism," Bridgers told Them. "Every story is not [about] people trying to discover something. It's like absurd worlds already exist in themselves."

Bridgers started playing guitar seriously around the age of 13, per The New Yorker. She told Rolling Stone in 2020 that her guitar style was completely influenced by the late Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen. "I kind of was a hesh-ian tween. So I definitely learned a lot of Van Halen on guitar," she confirmed. "They were one the ones who invented the rider trick of [no brown] M&Ms, right? Absolutely love that," she gushed. The trick she referred to is the clause Van Halen slipped into its venue contracts that said if there were brown M&Ms in their backstage area, "the promoter would forfeit the entire show at full price," per Insider. She also told NPR in 2020 that she is "obsessed" with singer-songwriter Elliot Smith.

Phoebe Bridgers loves her "weird" ideas

In a partnership with her record label Dead Oceans, Phoebe Bridgers created and released her own imprint label in 2020 called Saddest Factory as a way to express her creativity through another medium. According to an interview with American Songwriter, Bridgers' idea to have her own imprint label popped into her mind even before her debut album was released. "I like having weird ideas," she said of her label. "I always do it for myself, but I'd love to apply it to other people. Yesterday, I saw a video of someone eating soup in the rain and I sent it to my manager saying 'We gotta do this,'" she said. The label released its first single in October 2020.

Speaking of "weird ideas," the singer-songwriter also came up with a sort of rocker slang she acquainted with her album Punisher, a title that refers to fans who are simply exhausting (per Rolling Stone). She coined the terms "rockognized," to refer to when she gets recognized in public as "a niche-famous artist," and "fan-splaining," which she said refers to a "fan" who is explaining how they came across her while being quite insulting. 

While she admits some fans can be tiring, nothing seemed to be more tiring than a previous relationship Bridgers was in.

Phoebe Bridgers and other women accused her ex of abuse

Phoebe Bridgers became romantically involved with music producer Ryan Adams when she was 20, per The New Yorker. He was twice her age. He went on to produce her 2014 EP Killer, but became emotionally abusive, as the "I Know the End" singer wrote in a New York Times exposé in 2019.

"I don't think I even thought of it as abuse at all at the time," she told The New Yorker while reflecting on the relationship. "I had a crush on him, and he wanted to hook up, and I was, like, 'Oh, my God, this is so cool, I'm, like, living my best adult life right now.'"

"Motion Sickness" from her EP Stranger in the Alps is a song written directly about her relationship with Adams. "I had so much to get over, and there was so much heartbreak surrounding that situation," she explained about the relationship's aftermath. "I was telling the truth. I trick myself into doing that all the time: 'This is just a thought experiment, this isn't my actual feeling.' Then it turns out to be real."

Several other women came forward with accusations of being controlled and emotionally abused by Adams in the exposé, but his lawyers told the New York Times the allegations were "extremely serious and outlandish." Bridgers has not been in touch with Adams since the report was published by the Times.

The pandemic changed Phoebe Bridgers

Phoebe Bridgers was supposed to be touring the country with the 1975 in 2020 to promote Punisher, but just like many other musicians, her plans were delayed due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. However, being home hasn't completely upset her life, which she says wasn't too high on the "rock'n'roll excess" meter to begin with, per a 2020 interview with The Guardian. While she admitted to not taking the rockstar life too seriously, Bridgers said she has become "more domestic" than ever due to the pandemic. "I learned how to clean for the first time. I just folded in all my boxes and recycled them and it was orgasmic," she shared. 

Bridgers virtually did not stop releasing music since her first album, so while she most likely prefers to be on the road, she is taking the forced break as a growing experience. "I think there are major gaps in my adulthood that I'm filling right now," she said. Even if there are some gaps, Phoebe Bridgers has achieved an incredible amount in her first 26 years of life.