Soak at WFUV (Photo by Nick D'Agostino)
Bridie Monds-Watson, who records as SOAK, was born in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1997, a year before the Belfast agreement (her big brother's birth coincided with the ceasefire) and in the midst of a peace process that would change the sociopolitical landscape for her generation. The 19-year-old Monds-Watson is acutely aware of what it meant to grow up in a much-changed Derry, a city that allowed her unlimited artistic freedom.
At the age of 13, she began playing her brother's abandoned guitar and started writing songs a year later, songs so refined and mature that her parents initially doubted that she'd written them. But songwriting allowed the young, skateboard-loving teenager to express her emotional life and inner thoughts; in songs like "Sea Creatures," Monds-Watson could comfort a bullied friend or muse over growing pains in the perceptive "B a noBody."
After releasing several EPs, Monds-Watson finally released her full-length debut, Before We Forgot How to Dream, this past spring. Working with producer Tommy McLaughlin of Villagers, SOAK has recorded a tender, thoughtful, and precocious collection of songs that span five years in her young life.
When Monds-Watson visited FUV's Studio A, she played acoustic versions of two songs from the new album—"Wait" and the aforementioned "Sea Creatures"—and chatted about her supportive family, her fast rise as a musician, and the hazards of her beloved skateboarding, especially when breaking a wrist could derail an entire tour.