Absolutely None: An Interview with Soak
She was named the new greatest UK songwriter: critics describe Soak as a tomboy girl from Northern Ireland with a skateboard, guitar behind her and touching songs in the arsenal.
But what is beyond the hype? A lot of things, says journalist Ayda Bagkherneyad.
Nobody goes around the bush, talking about her age. Bridi Monds-Watson, better known as Soak, first picked up the guitar at the age of 13, played her first concert at 15, and in 2012, when she turned 16, released her debut EP on a label owned by Chvrches. Now, at almost 18 years old, she is releasing her first album and showing that even with the label “singer-singer” that does not cause anything other than yawning, one can be dull. And the fact that adulthood and maturity is overrated, because some people have something to say as early as 18.
Grew up in Derry (officially Londonderry) – a gray city in Northern Ireland, long torn apart by the civil war, which is reflected in the name of the city. But Soak is perhaps the first artist from Northern Ireland for whom the struggle and long-term suffering do not play a role at all. Mother is Catholic, father is Protestant, brother was born on Armistice Day, she herself studied at one of the first mixed-learning schools. While there are still walls in Belfast that separate residential areas, Soak knows about the unrest in Ulster only from history books, given that bombs and killings are still part of everyday life.
“The only people who fuel the Northern Ireland conflict are the older generation, who are guilty of everything that happened. Personally, this does not affect me and my friends. We ridicule this problem.”
Soak’s songs do not meet the motives of the civil war, but this does not make them superficial. Quite the opposite: the theme of the songs revolves around growing up, fantasies, friendships, hopes and disappointments. Without kitsch and fake embellishments, but with genuine persuasiveness that gives goosebumps. She sings about what she is experiencing herself.
“I can’t sit down and say:“ So, today I’ll write a song about the environment. ”That doesn’t work for me.”
The single “B A Nobody”, for example, was written for the brother of the performer, who was slowly approaching that stage of life when you need to decide who you want to really be. She plays most of the instruments on the album, but protests when she is called a multi-instrumentalist.
“I can play many instruments, but I cannot say that I do it flawlessly. I hold the instrument in my hands as long as it sounds cool.”
In her current tour, young Bridi only holds a guitar in her hands, being in front of an audience whose age composition sometimes approaches her parents or even grandparents. Having uttered a few words, she lets go of a few jokes and talks about the tour. At the same time, the performer does not do big shows, rather concentrates on songs, on life situations that inspired her. Soak does this with a relaxed return, which makes her listeners be quieter than water, below the grass. The dedication and her poetic talent are recognized by many: the venerable “BBC” (like the “Guardian”) called her “Voice ‘2015″. The pressure is great. But Soak does not attach much importance to this.
“I’m rather relaxed. Of course, I understand that there is some pressure and maybe I should worry more about it. Whenever you praise from all sides, you need to make sure that these praises do not hit the head. Do not take everything too seriously, otherwise, you will not be in control of the situation, but the situation will begin to control you. ”
Mantra, to which many of her colleagues would be nice to listen. Her family, who until recently controlled her, and her friends are the same as before, helping the performer not to be in the clouds. The singer’s face glows and her voice warms when she talks about loved ones: they flicker in her videos, wait for her when she returns from the tour and send her WhatsApp news from home right during the interview to keep up to date.
Perhaps that is why Soak exudes such an extraordinary calm that simply does not allow raising topics such as sexuality – she made a cuming out very early. The fact that she is a lesbian, that the single “BA Nobody” has been heard on Spotify more than 4 million times, that she adheres to the “tomboy” style and does not fit into the usual framework, is self-evident, not worth mentioning and may cause only laughter. Her relaxed aura does not overlook these topics for their unimportance. With much great pleasure, Soak talks about music, to which she lowers all her savings.
“When I want to buy one album, I buy EVERYTHING. Vinyl, CD, singles – I want to have everything connected with the artist.”
She talks about her songs: the home parties that inspired her to write “24 Windowed House,” the song “Oh Brother,” which talks about growing up and how damn strange she feels.