Singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers has managed to make a major name for herself in the music industry—but the 26-year-old may have truly bossed up when she created her own record label, Saddest Factory Records, earlier this year.
Bridgers recently spoke with Men’s Health Deputy Editor Spencer Dukoff to discuss her experience in the entertainment industry, strategies for managing her mental health, and the pros and cons of starting your own business amid a global pandemic. (NBD.)
Saddest Factory Records, Bridgers said, was born out of her desire to self-release her own music early in her career. "I just thought, well, why don't I just run a label that's basically me telling these people who to sign, and what to put out, and what to listen to?"
Now, and through her label, Bridgers said she hopes to sign artists with one basic requirement: they make damn good music. "Instead of trying to think about the mathematics of somebody’s art, like the demographics, just [think about] lyrics, honestly," she said. "And I think so many bands fall into that category."
Diversity is key to her label's roster, too, given an overwhelmingly white, male-dominated music industry. Saddest Factory's first signing is Claud, a 21-year-old non-binary indie pop artist based in Brooklyn who released the single "Gold" earlier this month.
"A lot of times you see tokenism, whether it's women or people of color, being pushed out onto the stage and everyone behind them is like an older white man," she explained. "So, I think it’s about hiring people who have a unique human experience because it’s just a better business model. It’s not just for clout."
Bridgers went on to explain how men can better support women in their lives, both professionally and in general; basic human empathy, she said, can go a long way. "Men, kind of inherently, are born with this 'I see myself represented everywhere and I can do anything'...Thinking about how you can treat someone who isn't like that, talking to people like you're equal [is important]."
As if starting a small business wasn't enough, Bridgers has also been busy lending her support to small local venues impacted by the pandemic by playing livestreamed benefit concerts. Meanwhile, for her mental health, she says she's begun incorporating EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy into her mental health routine. She also recommended reading the book The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk, which deals trauma and healing.
Check out the full conversation below:
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