Interview | FFS 5 with Bridge 19

Photo by Jessie Kriech-Higdon // Courtesy of Baby Robot Media

When setting down to develop their new album, In the Afterglow, Louisville’s Bridge 19 had tasked themselves with something seemingly impossible. Yet, frontwomen Audrey Cecil and Amanda Lucas effortlessly twist and weave between the realms of serious lyricism and charming arrangements without coming across as twee. Rather, theirs is a powerful dynamism, bending elements of pop, Americana, soul, and even disco to their will to form something not wholly seen before anywhere else. It’s difficult to come across as pure innovators at this point in the game, but Bridge 19 do it in style.

Following the release of In the Afterglow on 26 April, Bridge 19 were gracious enough to sit down and join in on our ongoing FFS 5 interview series.

Please tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how did you get started in music? Any defining moments along the path to present day?

Amanda: I’m from Louisville, KY. I purchased a guitar from a pawn shop when I was 13 and taught myself to play. I started writing songs in college and put out a solo record of those songs in 2008. Audrey and I started playing together in 2007 and we put out our first album as a duo in 2012. 

Audrey: I’m a self-taught musician. I bought my first guitar for 100 dollars with money I saved working at Kroger when I was in college. I was completely obsessed with music and the artists I loved. Like, completely obsessed. Eventually I had taught myself guitar well enough to write songs and play at open mics at places I could walk to from my dorm. It’s crazy to think now that I gathered up that confidence – I just wanted it so badly. I feel so lucky that Bridge 19 has had the success that we’ve had and that I get to spend my time making music with seriously awesome friends that I love, in my bandmates.

As for defining moments, I think we’d both agree that this album, In the Afterglow, really is a defining moment for us. It’s raw and personal.  

As an artist, how do you define success?

Amanda: I think success looks different for everyone. Sometimes it’s hard to not get caught up in other artists definition of success. With television shows like American Idol and the Voice, people can become “famous” very quickly. With social media, people can go “viral” or weigh their success by how many followers or likes they have. For me, success is people choosing to spend their time at our shows and choosing to spend their money on our music. To look out and see people singing our songs…that’s success. 

Audrey: Success is a really hard thing to define for a band. I mean, it’s art – so we aren’t up for promotions, and we certainly aren’t getting rich from it. For me, success is having folks tell us that our music means something to them, or when someone says your song got me through a hard time. OH! We’ve had a few couples ask us to play our songs during their wedding or first dance. THAT is so cool – that someone would choose us for that moment. Hearing yourself on the radio is pretty cool too. 

What do you find to be your greatest struggle when it comes to the music business?

Amanda: I think the greatest struggle for me in the music business is the business aspect of music. We aren’t just musicians or artists. We are small business owners. We manage every aspect of Bridge 19: Booking, social media, website, mailing list, graphic design, merch, taxes and more. I would love to be able to dedicate the time we spend doing those things to being creative and actually playing music.

Audrey: The greatest struggle is everything about the “business” part. Everything. And sometimes I still get really nervous about sharing my soul with people, if I’m being completely transparent. It can be hard…but absolutely worth it. 

What do you think is the most realistic goal you can achieve as an artist/band? What do you hope to achieve?

Amanda: We would like to dream as big as possible and take this album as far as we can. We hope to secure support slots for regional and national touring acts and play great festivals. Additionally, something we talk about among ourselves is women in music. That is a pretty topical conversation right now, and we would like to be part of the change. As a mostly female band, earning quality jobs and recognition is important to us.

Audrey: We hope to achieve a large audience of people who will listen to and love “In the Afterglow”. We want big awesome shows and to share our music and the experience of playing live with as many humans as possible.  

Outside of music, what do you like to do that you feel contributes to the creativity that you tap into for your music?

Amanda: I love listening to all kinds of music. I also love being outside, whether it be just hanging out, hiking or running. Both of those things contribute to my creativity. New experiences and seeing new places also inspire me.

Audrey: My marriage inspires me every day, in the best possible way. My friendships and the strength of the people I love inspires me. I tend to dig in as a self-aware person, I think (probably to a fault), so for better or for worse that inspires me.  I love to travel so so so much, that is inspiring to me.

Words by: Jonathan Frahm (@jfrahm_)