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She has a powerful schleppen: Bishop Briggs at 30

Edgy soul-trap singer and songwriter of darkwave electro-pop, Bishop Briggs, has turned 30. But she‘s more than just Billie Elish with an ego. Honest.

Father forgive me but I must confess. 

I didn’t have the foggiest Bishop Briggs existed until January 2019, when, by chance, I caught a newspaper advert for her Sydney show the following day. 

Second confession, but it was purely the name that caught my eye, with Briggs being my maternal family name. I quickly scanned her Wikipedia page and found she was born in England, though hadn’t lived there since she was four.

“Gosh, I wonder if we might be related,” I thought to myself.

Alas, the connection ends there.

This singer songwriter of feisty, soul-trap, rock-influenced darkwave was briefly known as simply Bishop. Though that was amended to order to avoid confusion with a heavy metal band of the same name. Reverting to the full form of her branding inspiration was taken from her family’s hometown of Bishopbriggs on the edge of Glasgow, which, fact fans, was ranked the second most desirable postcode in Scotland to live in 2015 and 2016.

BB came into the world as Sarah Grace Mclaughlin, born in London to Scottish parents, and went to school in Tokyo. Growing up with the Japanese city’s karaoke bar traditions and hearing music ranging from Motown musicians to The Beatles at home inspired her to pursue music.

After eight years in Hong Kong she settled in Los Angeles, where she was heard performing in a local bar, which then led to the recording of her first 45, Wild Horses.

The song was licensed for an Acura TV commercial and became an Internet buzz hit. Exhibiting soulful shades of trip-hop with acoustic guitar, electronic beats, and a strong dose of sass, River followed in early 2016.

A powerful collision of intense beat drops and her gospel choir roots, Briggs’ debut album, Church Of Scars, arrived in April 2018 and peaked in the Top 30 of the Billboard 200. She quickly moved on to a new hyper cycle following a difficult breakup, which resulted in 2019’s Champion, an empowering set of angst-filled anthems with surging bass and BB’s trademark skyward vocals that included singles Champion (with Tom Morello) and Jekyll & Hide. A somewhat pointless cover of Queen’s We Will Rock You followed as a one-off single.

Oh, and after checking out some of her key tracks on Apple Music I was enthused enough to go to the gig after all. On the first Friday in January 2019, Bishop Briggs entertained 500 punters at the Oxford Art Gallery’s Live Art Space in Darlinghurst.

Talk of the devil.

Instagram will load in the frontend.

The first of somewhere in the region of 35 shows I attended that year, Briggs was fun, feisty and flailed her limbs in all directions, exhibiting some of the most eccentric dancing this side of Iggy Pop. She was also quite explosively cocksure, spouting off some egomaniac wank about how this was her second visit Down Under and that she was invited back because “Australia was excited by a powerful woman.”

Pah, Cancerians. The horse may be wild but it‘s still prone to crepane when schleppen round a hefty ton of conceit.

Great records but stick to singing, not talking, ok, love?

Steve Pafford

Adapted from Stop me if you think you’ve heard these ten before: the greatest new acts of the decade. Probably 

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