Music & Nightlife

Bishop Briggs brings empowerment anthems and powerful pipes to sold-out Underground

Bishop Briggs
Bishop Briggs

In the entertainment industry, there’s this perception that success has a lot to do with luck. But talking to soul-pop singer Bishop Briggs, you get a sense that there’s a lot more than luck at work.

At 25, Briggs (real name Sarah Grace McLaughlin) exudes genuine excitement and professionalism rare for an artist so new to the game. Her career really came together over the last year with a hit single, “River,” dominating alternative and rock radio. In April, she released her debut full-length, “Church of Scars.” Her sold-out tour hits The Underground today.

In a way, she’s been working toward this her entire life. She took singing lessons for eight years while growing up in Hong Kong.

“I always had this tunnel vision and really couldn’t see myself doing anything other than music,” she says. Her worldliness hasn’t hurt. As a Scot who was born in London and grew up in Japan and Hong Kong, then moved to L.A. — “this mystical place where dreams can come true” — the self-described “goody two-shoes” is truly a citizen of the world, although her sound draws heavily on the American music she grew up with.

“It has a lot to do with what was playing in my living room, a lot of Motown and soul music. That was such a huge influence,” she says.

“River” plays like a gospel anthem with an intimate feel. The latest single, “White Flag,” broadens the scope as an in-your-face fight song, so to speak — an empowerment anthem with a Middle Eastern hook that’s prime for the era of #metoo.

“It started off as a song about not backing down and facing your demons head-on. I think the more I perform it, it becomes more and more aggressive,” she says.

“White Flag” is a case of the right song at the right time, and it reflects Briggs’ writing style of making the personal more universal.

“I like to write from a personal place — the lyrics are straight out of my diary — but during the chorus of songs sometimes you have the element to really bring in the audience. That’s always the goal, to find what they connect to as well,” she explains. “Even more than it being relatable, I hope people feel less alone. That’s more of the goal than anything. Being relatable is so subjective. Someone finding solace or an outlet means so much more.”

Bishop Briggs

When: 8 p.m. Friday.

Where: The Underground, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd.

Tickets: Sold out.

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