Wisdom from Phoebe Bridgers


I will admit that I like Phoebe Bridgers.

She’s basically been the queen of the sad-indie-emo world for the last three years.

And I know she’s probably too poppy for you, and I know she’s very sad, and I know she basically only makes one type of song.

But shoot, she makes that one type of song so well.

So, naturally, the other day I was watching a 16-minute interview that she gave to MTV. And I was really struck by an answer she gave to this question:

“When did you feel like you had what you might call your big break?”

Here’s what she said:

“It’s funny – I feel like I’ve had hundreds of big breaks.”

“Every little thing felt like a big break to me. Selling 100 tickets in London felt like my big break. Going on tour where I wasn’t really making any money but I got to play with the Violent Femmes, that felt like my big break. Getting signed to Dead Oceans.”

“Every single thing felt like a new level.”

This is a very cool perspective, and it’s even cooler when it’s coupled with what comes next:

“I never understood the concept of not playing every five seconds. And more than anything, I feel like I just made tons of friends from those shows.”

“That’s how I met my drummer, Marshall… and Harrison my guitar player. I feel like they contributed so much to the way that I sound.”

“I didn’t really know what I was doing before I met them.”

For me, there are two awesome things to take away here:

  1. Phoebe Bridgers’ massive (seemingly overnight) success is the cumulative result of a long series of little steps.
  2. Phoebe Bridger’s massive (seemingly solo) success is the cumulative result of a community that’s contributed to her artistry.

I’ve said this before and I’ll almost definitely say it again, because I’m kind of proud of how clever it sounds:

The people who “make it” in the music industry are the people who keep making music.

According to that 16-minute MTV interview, Phoebe Bridgers has been making music for basically as long as she’s been alive, and she hasn’t been able to stop.

As far as I know, you aren’t Phoebe Bridgers. But you probably are someone who feels the deep-in-your-bones need to communicate emotion and create art. And that’s a beautiful thing.

So, keep creating.

Keep leaning into the community that art creates.

The music industry can kind of suck sometimes. On the days when I’m tired and stressed about making enough money, I feel that pretty heavily.

But let’s stay encouraged by remembering that this is a journey of lots of little steps, best taken with people you like, with a purpose that’s worthwhile because it’s necessary.

Music matters.

Maybe one day, it’ll lead you to a random, strangely-staged diner where you’ll be the one getting interviewed by MTV as the queen of sad-indie-emo.

But, whether that happens or not, the journey is worth it.

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