We had the good fortune of connecting with Rhian Bristol and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rhian, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I have been singing and performing in one way or another since I was 2 years old. I wrote my first song at 10, had my first gig at 14 and have, over the years, continued to grow as a musician in any way I can. Today at 19, I am a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. Music is organic to me, and I have learned that it is central to my happiness. Music is healing for me; I have been able to take the challenges I have faced and use them to fuel my music and my passion to create art. Music has provided a safe space to fearlessly share myself and, most importantly to me, it has given me the opportunity to connect and support others. Even when I was not pursuing music performance as a career, I had planned to utilize it in another field I felt passionate about – music therapy. Bottom line – music in all of its forms makes me happy and at the end of the day I am grateful for the opportunity to make a living at something that makes me happy.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Today, I sing, write, play piano, guitar and bass and recently began producing my own music. I am mostly self-taught and am always looking for new things to learn. Lately, I have been experimenting using my voice in unconventional ways, altering it electronically to create all my instruments with only my voice – drums, synths, arpeggiators… just about anything. Right now, singing and songwriting are my focus. I am excited to be releasing some new original music soon and get back to performing live around LA and San Diego while also continuing to earn my BFA in Music at California Institute of the Arts. Creating new things makes me excited. Music makes me excited.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My idea of a fun time is going to concerts and house shows. I absolutely love the environment live music creates and I love experiencing live music so we would definitely spend some nights taking in shows at the Roxy, Wiltern and Troubadour. We’d head out to Point Dume in Malibu and spend some time at the beach as the sun goes down. Griffith Observatory is a must see as well as is a visit to the Original Farmer’s Market. I’d also take them for a meal at Nate N’Als and grab a bite at Mel’s Diner before we swing by Amoeba Music. Since my school is in Santa Clarita, I’d make time for a visit to Vasquez Rocks and a day at Universal Studios. It’s a drive out of LA but I love hiking the amazing trails around Santa Barbara and I’ve never been to Porto’s Bakery myself but everyone I know says it’s the most amazing place in town.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have been lucky to have a great support system along the way. First and foremost, my family, who has supported and encouraged me and my music every step of the way. My voice teacher in high school, Peggy Lebo, who believed in my songwriting ability and supported and encouraged me to accomplish things I didn’t know I could accomplish. My college vocal coach, Micaela Tobin, who inspired my musical experimentation and nurtured my love of vocal looping. And, lastly, my college professor, Lauren Pratt, who challenged me to be the best I could be and sent me the internship email that led to my current permanent position with the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony.