Los Angeles singer and producer Bitch‘s latest single, “New Year”, is a feminist pop anthem that’s sure to have you on your feet and moving. It’s full of joy and power, and the track marks the beginning of a new chapter for Bitch. Luckily, Indientry got to ask her a few questions about her past and the start of a new, empowered era. Check out the interview below.
Indientry: According to your bio, you’ve had quite the career: records with Bitch and Animal, solo albums with labels and on your own label, acting gigs with “Shortbus”. How has this all helped you develop your sound?
Bitch: It’s hard to separate who we are from our life experiences, but I will say that I am my most conscious self lately in the music I’m writing. Years of touring and seeing and witnessing have all led me to now, and right now there is an epic urgency to the songs I’m making, as it feels like there is an epic urgency to everything we do right now in the world. We have to all be our biggest brightest selves to try to counteract the wave of anti-freedoms happening in our country. This is all in the work right now.
Who are your primary musical influences?
Growing up, my Dad listened to jazz, and my mom taught tap-dancing in our basement. So a combo of musical theater and jazz. When I developed my own musical taste, it was Prince, Cyndi Lauper, Depeche Mode. Then I grew up into Joni, Ani, Liz Phair, Tracy Chapman, Stevie Wonder, Roger Waters, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Sinead O’Connor. The list could go on and on. Lucinda Williams! Alabama Shakes! Antony and the Johnsons! The Muppets! Every song I’ve ever heard has influenced me. Animal, my old band-mate, was a huge influence on me learning how to trust myself musically. My favorite is music that takes me to a new place – I hate the phrase “world music” but that is these days my jam.
What artists are you listening to most right now? Did you have any favorite records of 2018 that you’re still thinking about?
Tune-yards bends my mind in the best way. I have this compilation of Ethiopian Funk on my computer that is a go-to. Fela Kuti for sure. Bulgarian Women’s Choir puts me in a magical place. La Monte Young.
Follow-up: If you could perform with any two artists, living or dead, who would you choose and why?
Janelle Monae because I feel like it would be the funnest show EVER, and Joni Mitchell because I would love to be near her performance process.
I seriously dig “New Year” and its message. What inspired the theme of empowerment and strength?
Thank you so much! Honestly, I’m an insatiable optimist. I still believe in the “us.” I believe in the possibility of “us” creating a better world. I believe we can switch the paradigm and live in utter abundance as Mother Nature intended. But Trump, Kavanaugh, R Kelly, Brock Turner pushed me to put it out and share it with the world. We need anything we can get to keep us strong.
Does the current political climate influence your feminist themes at all? If so, how?
F— YES. IN EVERY WAY.
I’ve heard that the song began as a poem. Can you tell me a little bit more about that process?
Most of my songs come from poems. I was at Ferron’s house in the woods in Michigan, doing a New Year’s ritual on New Year’s Eve. I was writing things into my notebook that I wanted to let go of, and then tearing them out and throwing them into the fire. That started the “It’s a new year, or about to be, and I wanna forgive everything that has harmed me.” Because I really did. And I still do! That will explain some of the symbolism in the video, too.
Do you have any more releases coming in 2019? If so, how do you think they will be similar or different to “New Year”?
I plan to release more songs this year, yes. It’s always hard to categorize my stuff – I have so many influences from all over the map, I never quite feel like anything sounds like anything else. But yes, they are all definitely in the same family. I can’t wait for you to hear it all!
What’s next for you? Do you have any exciting shows coming?
No shows planned right now, just working on how to best present the new material live. I will be touring by the Summer or Fall, I expect.
Is there anything else about you, as an artist or a person, that you think is important for readers to know?
I grew up playing classical violin since I was 4. I started tap-dancing when I was 3. I have always had music and rhythm all around me.
People always ask me, “Why Bitch?” Bitch is about reclaiming a word that has been used to demean women who speak their mind. It’s a liberating costume to wear.
Check out the video for Bitch’s latest single, “New Year”, below: