Brigitte Mena started crafting original music in high school, and founded her first rock band as a freshman at Southern Methodist University, where she studied Music and Psychology. Mena’s music studies helped her hone her craft, while her work in psychology gave her an avenue to explore her interest in human behavior. Instead of choosing one passion over the other, the artist decided to merge the two roads ahead of her. By using her talents as a musician, Mena shines a light on topics like behavior, mental health, relationships and identity, as evident in her latest single “Maniac”, which was inspired by Emma Stone’s character Annie Landsberg from the Netflix show of the same name.
I got the chance to talk to Brigitte about her musical influences, what it was about the character of Annie that she thought would make a good song, her love of the Target dollar section and so much more. Keep reading to see what she had to say!
Tell me a little bit about how you first got into making and performing music.
I started off performing in plays and musicals when I was in fourth grade. It wasn’t until I was in middle school when I received my first guitar where I started writing songs. I remember spending that summer learning chords and just kind of playing around with different ideas I had for songs. Songwriting quickly turned into a passion for me rather than just a hobby. It served as a sense of security and source of expression for me with everything that was going on in my life, and still does today.
Was there a specific moment or person that made you realize that music is what you wanted to pursue professionally?
For me, I’ve always known that I’ve wanted to pursue music. My mom has always been my biggest supporter and sort of let me “take the reins” on what I wanted to do with my life. I know a lot of my friends growing up had parents who persuaded them to choose a safe career path, so I feel very grateful that my mom has always believed in me and my dreams.
I’m always genuinely curious about what artists want to convey with their music. If you had to describe the music you create without using genre names, how would you describe it?
I would say that I hope my music serves others in the same way that it serves me. There are so many artists I listened to growing up that helped me get through some of my toughest times, so I hope my music is able to do the same. I know I would have been lost without certain songs or artists that I listened to.
Going off of that, who are some of your musical influences?
One of my favorite artists to this day is Daughter. I absolutely love the lyrics, and although many of them are pretty dark and extremely melancholy, I love how real and creative she is with them. I feel like I can connect with so many of her songs and she definitely inspires my own songwriting. A few of my other influences include Foxing, Eisley, Circa Survive, Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Soccer Mommy.
Let’s talk about your new single “Maniac”, which I know was inspired by Emma Stone’s character Annie in the show Maniac. What is it about that character’s story and Stone’s portrayal that you thought would make a good song?
This answer includes a spoiler alert from the show, so heads up! I was still dealing with a lot of grief and anger from my dad’s passing during the time that I was watching the show. Although very different experiences, I felt a real connection with her character and the pain she experienced through the passing of her sister. I wrote this song from her perspective, but I think that my own reality of loss definitely came out in the songwriting process.
What was the songwriting process like for this song specifically? Was any part of it different from the way you normally write songs?
The biggest difference for this song compared to other songs I have written is that it was one of the first times I wrote a song from someone else’s perspective rather than my own. It was also the first time I’ve ever written a song based off a TV show. Because songwriting serves as a source of self expression and personal outlet, it was definitely a different process with “Maniac”.
I know you have studied psychology in college. Did that help you at all when writing this song specifically?
Definitely. I think I was able to make sense of her character more and the idea of the show itself.
Were there any major changes to “Maniac“ that happened once you got into the recording studio, whether it be in the lyrics or something sonically?
In the studio, we worked on creating and defining the machine sounds in the song. We worked on emulating some of the sounds you hear in the show, while putting our own spin on them.
I know this single just came out, but do you have any plans to release an EP or a full length album any time soon?
Yes! I’m working on my second record right now and will be releasing it sometime next year. Stay tuned!
You’re still relatively new to the music game. What are some music industry-related goals or benchmarks that you’re aiming to reach in the next couple of years?
I would love to find a label to work with that supports my vision. I’d also love to collaborate with other artists and go on tour following the release of the album.
Last question — we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner nerd so what is something that you’re currently nerding out about?
I don’t know if this qualifies exactly, but I’m obsessed with the Target dollar section right now [laughs]. I feel like I go every week to see what new silly and cute little fall decorations they have.
If you’re in the Dallas area, you can also catch Brigitte at the following shows:
- Nov 15 – Dallas, TX @ Armoury D.E.
- Nov 22 – Dallas, TX @ Tacos & Tunes