From a small country house in Derry, Northern Ireland, all the way to Columbus, Ohio, SOAK is making waves in the global music scene at the tender age of 20.
The singer-songwriter is set to perform at the Wexner Center for the Arts on Monday as a part of the Next@Wex concert series.
Bridie Monds-Watson, also known as SOAK, came out with her first full-length album just last year. Titled “Before We Forgot How To Dream,” it features Monds-Watson on guitar and vocals accompanied by strings, ambient synths and effects, various field recordings and minimal percussion. All together it makes for a dreamy, reflective and bittersweet sound.
The 20-year-old guitarist and songwriter has been writing and performing music in her hometown for years.
“I was in cover bands and stuff when I was like, 13,” she said. “Then I started doing my own solo stuff when I was about 14. Those shows would have just been me sitting down with an acoustic guitar.”
Over time, there have been quite a few changes to her set. She now is joined by Tommy McClaughlin (keyboard, guitar and bass) and percussionist James Byrne.
“I think now the set is very dynamic,” Monds-Watson said. “It can be very quiet and soft and then it can get really heavy with intense guitar and dark drums. It’s got both extremes.”
Connections with these two members run deep, as Byrne played drums on the album and McClaughlin recorded and produced it.
“I’ve known both of those guys since I was quite young, so we’ve developed a good bond,” she said.
Monday’s show will be one of the first that SOAK will be doing as the headliner after opening for The Lumineers on tour for the past month or so.
“It’s been amazing,” Monds-Watson said of the tour. “We really like the band and their crew… It’s been one of the most comfortable and easy tours we’ve ever done.”
She said she envisions that she will always be accompanied by other members on stage from now on, except possibly for some “one-off” occasions.
As for her musical influences, she gives credit to her parents for exposing her to “an incredible selection” of music at a young age. She recalls listening to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” with her father before bed, as well as artists such as Joni Mitchell, Led Zeppelin and James Taylor.
“My dad also played guitar a lot, so that’s where I picked that up from,” she said.
Monds-Watson said her tastes have changed drastically since she started writing her own material.
“People that inspired me in the very beginning were people like Bon Iver, Tegan and Sara, and this band The Hoosiers,” she said. “I listen to pretty much everything now.”
For her current musical obsessions, she listed Death Cab For Cutie and a Scottish band called The Blue Nile.
Monds-Watson also offered some advice to her fellow young musicians who are looking for their start.
“Write as much as you possibly can, because I don’t think people want to hear covers anymore,” she said. “It’s all about the live experience now, so basically get really good at your instrument, and write all the songs you can.”
When asked what to expect for her show on Monday, Monds-Watson said with a laugh, “Just fun. That’s it really.”
The performance is set to begin at 8 p.m. in the Performance Space of the Wex. Admission is $12.