Bishop Briggs Opens Up About Lady Gaga and 'Going a Shade of Pink' More With New Love Song, 'Baby' (Exclusive)
By Emily Krauser
Jesse Grant/Getty Images for iHeartMedia
If you've tuned into alternative radio even once over the past year, there's a very good chance you heard Bishop Briggs' hit, "River," which quickly became a mainstay on the stations. Her newest single, "Baby," however, is a bit of a departure from the darkness of both that single and her debut album, Church of Scars.
Briggs, 26, first performed the tune live at The Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles in May, a month after Church dropped. She wasn't even sure if she was going to release the track and was a little nervous about testing it out publicly. When ET chatted with Briggs ahead of her set at the 2019iHeartRadio ALTer Ego concert at The Forum in Inglewood, California, on Saturday, the catchy anthem to true love in all its iterations had already been gaining fans on the airwaves, the new sound helping her find a slightly different footing.
"Church of Scars has this heaviness, and it felt disingenuous to not release something that was a shade of pink more and to just be transparent. Going forward, I want to kind of go in that direction and not hide behind metaphors," she explained. "I still think I will always have darkness in me. Even though it's a love song, it's kind of dark, but I definitely opened a whole door for me of writing."
The other major departure from the Fonda show was the British-American singer's appearance. Goth-light attire had been swapped for a bright pink jumpsuit and her signature space buns had been shorn. The latter was not to get a fresh start to the new year or a rebellious act, but rather a sign of solidarity with a friend who was going through chemotherapy during a cancer battle. Briggs originally wanted to send a gift basket, but felt like there was more she could do, so when her friend told her that the organization she cared about most was the Susan G. Komen for the Cure -- the largest non-profit breast cancer organization in the world -- the songwriter knew "it was a way to promote the cause that has helped her and support her during this." The now-bald Briggs also admitted that her clothes' hue has changed more than the ensembles themselves, saying, "I was wearing this but in black. It's literally just a different shade but it's still me!"
The neon outfit she rocked onstage at ALTer Ego did fit her personality, if not the dark persona on her records. She treated the Forum stage like a boxing ring-cum-track, bouncing around and smiling widely after not just every song, including her first single, "Wild Horses," but nearly every chorus, clearly grateful to be there. Even when there was an issue with the bass as she got ready to sing "Baby," she never faltered, instead enthusiastically telling the audience the story behind this first love song she had ever written and high fiving her bassist, Taylor Van Ginkel, after the problem was fixed.
Her position on the lineup was important, too -- though she had one of the shorter sets of the night, she was smack in the middle, with Weezer, The Killers, and Muse hitting the rotating stage after her. Noticeably, though, she was the only woman on the lineup -- on the same day as the Women's March -- and was thrilled to represent women in music while surrounded by musical heavyweights, which she noted onstage. "I'm just completely a fan of all the artists tonight, and I'm just honored to be in the lineup," she said ahead of her performance, noting she was most excited to see Twenty One Pilots and Muse perform. "I can't really believe I'm here, so I'm taking it all in."
Briggs is someone who gushes over her idols openly on social media, so the genuine awe seems fitting. One of the true queens in her eyes is Lady Gaga, who she's been cheering for now that awards season is underway. "I am very excited. Whenever there are awards happening, it's as if they're happening to me. I can't wait," she proclaimed. "I had a silent drive home because [after seeing A Star Is Born]. I was in such shock and awe, and it was so emotional. I just thought about it right now and I'm going to cry again."
Before tearing up while watching the Oscars, Briggs has some work to do of her own. She's "pretty far" into her second album, though she's taking some time to reflect on what she's created rather than rushing into releasing her sophomore project. "I am going to be taking the couple of months I have off to really dive in and go to my bones, scraping and getting past the surface," she told ET. "I'm going to try to go to the core of my being and write from there. But, also, I innately feel pressure inside me."