Derry-born singer-songwriter SOAK (Bridie Monds-Watson) is just 19 years, but is destined to carver out a music career from when she began her teenage years. Sitting in the live room of an RTE studio, the grounded young musician has taken some of the highest accolades and rave reviews in her stride. For instance, just before this interview, SOAK was announced as the Irish winner of the European Border Breaker Awards (EBBA), adding to Northern Irish Music Prize and Mercury Prize nominations.
“It’s pretty cool” says Bridie, “I played Eurosonic last year for the first time, people have been telling me about it for years, so it was very cool to actually play it. So I guess it is even better to win an EBBA.”
The acclaimed debut album, “Before We Forget How To Dream” was released by Rough Trade earlier this year. The album is full of delicate guitar and vocals intertwined. The lyrics are the focus of her youth and the themes of isolation, adolescence, family troubles and being uncertain of the future.
“In general getting nominated for any sort of an award is a privilege, very exciting and very cool. We have been on tour for quite a while, so it is nice now to have two months off. The only thing is hearing about the awards ceremony, it is really nice to go to.”
Having played 32 shows in just over 40 days, it can be quite gruelling on the road for that length of time. So now the ‘Blud’ songwriter has taken a small break from touring to start writing the follow-up to her debut long player.
“It’s really nice to be writing songs again. After touring for so long, especially touring with the band now, I just want to write songs for a band now. It’s really nice to demo again.”
So with the writing for a second album underway, what is currently on the playlist and inspiring the next step in her “Reckless Behaviour”?
“I listen to things all the time. I love Spotify a lot, and I just traipse it to try to find new things I like. Things that I liked recently that I went back listening too…The Japanese House, yeah I think she is great. Kind of like the new Foals album too, it’s not my favourite Foals album, but I like them a lot.”
So which would be SOAK’s favourite ? “Total Life Forever, but Holy Fire is pretty amazing as well.”
Looking ahead to the Northern Irish Music Prize, is there a stronger sense of pride for having a nomination at home too? “I feel the Mercury (Prize) is incredible and I am really excited about that, but the Norther Irish just feels really nice to be nominated in. I was born in Belfast and it is my hometown, so to be noticed alongside these other musicians in that category is really cool. I have a lot of friends that are going to be there and I have some friends who are nominated too, so it is going to be nice to see everyone and just hang out.”
SOAK will perform at an awards ceremony hosted by TV personality and musician Jools Holland at the Eurosonic Noorderslag festival in the Netherlands on the 13 January 2016. The ceremony will feature performances from the winning acts such as Aurora, Oscar and the Wolf, and more.