Bridget Holmes is one of five acts performing at Unsigned at The Waterfront in Norwich on Sunday 19 May. We spoke to her ahead of the gig about flying solo and performing on the same stage as grunge idols Nirvana.
Can you tell me about yourself?
I’m Norwich-based and currently studying a degree in psychology. I’m thinking of maybe going into music therapy further down the line.
How long have you been performing?
I’ve been performing since I was quite young because I’ve done classical grades. Performing in a more pop kind of way, probably a couple of years now. I started writing songs when I was maybe 12-13. One of the songs in my set I wrote about 13-14. So I’ve got a range of older ones and ones written in the last few weeks so it’s a nice mix.
What style of music do you play?
I’ve been told dream-pop, there’s lots of musical influences in it, some bluesy bits, some folky bits. I sound a bit Kate Bush like, Florence and The Machine, Lana Del Ray…
Are they influences for you?
Not really, no. What I like is very different to what I play. I like grunge.
Have you thought about you’re going to be performing on a stage where some enormous names – including grunge icons Nirvana – have stood?
That hadn’t even crossed my mind, but now I can think about it and it really feels like an honour.
How did you find out about Unsigned?
I was recently in a band which split up. I was looking for opportunities to perform. I was on The Garage website looking at various dance classes, I saw it and applied. I wasn’t expecting to get it but I just thought it was worth a go. I couldn’t believe it. I feel very lucky.
Where have you performed before?
I’ve only played in Norfolk with my band. We’ve played Norwich Arts Centre, the owl sanctuary and various pubs around here, local festivals.
Now you’re playing The Waterfront?
The arts centre was quite big. Minus that, The Waterfront’s a big jump. I’m excited. I am nervous, it’ll be the first time I gig on my own since the band’s broken up. That’s the part I’m nervous about, not the actual performing. Whether it’ll sound nice just me and the piano. There were two singers in the band and we took it in turns depending on who wrote the song, so I got breaks. I love performing, I don’t find it that nerve-wracking because I enjoy it so much.
How are the sessions here at The Garage going?
Really interesting. I’m learning a lot about vocal technique and breath control and realising I don’t always say my words as clearly as I’d like so now I’m singing in a different way. It doesn’t sound different probably to somebody else but to me it feels very different. Really obvious things my tutor Millie suggested and I thought “why haven’t I done that?” It’s been really helpful.
You mentioned music therapy but would you like a music career first?
In an ideal world I’d love to be a performer, that’s my dream. I just want music to be my life.
Do you get up in the morning and think I’ve got to write a song, I’ve got to perform?
I don’t ever plan on writing a song, it’s something that happens subconsciously. I sit at the piano and it happens. I tend to wake up – even though this is naughty because Millie told me you shouldn’t sing when you first wake up – I normally go straight to the piano so that’s something I’ve been trying to wean out.
In the run-up to the gig, each will get private tutoring from professional music artist Millie Manders, the chance to record a demo in a professional studio and have their very own photoshoot.
Millie said: “The decision was tough. There were some brilliant entries, so really it came down to selecting five highly talented acts that all had something different to bring to the showcase. I'm really excited to be working with them all - I truly believe they all have a bright future ahead of them.”
The Unsigned project was created to provide young musicians with the opportunity to take their music, performance and professional skills to the next level.
It gives them valuable, focused training time with experienced professional music artist Millie, who helps them improve their artistry alongside music career mentoring and marketing advice tailored especially to them.
The young musicians will be provided with video captured from their performance to help promote themselves.
Carrie Mansfield, Creative Director at The Garage, said: “We’re so pleased to have teamed up with The Norfolk Music Hub, The Young Norfolk Arts Trust and Youth Music to provide this exciting opportunity for young musicians.
“Our work is all about supporting and encouraging young people to believe in themselves and their talents - this project does just that and has been a real success. I have heard them all rehearsing in our music room with Millie over the last few months and can’t wait to see them on the stage.”