By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Bri Schillings was once in a dark place, deep within the realms of a life-threatening eating disorder and nothing to look forward to.
It was the music that pulled her back in to a positive outlook and to this day, the San Diego-based singer-songwriter can safely declare it basically saved her and taught her how to love again.
Greatly inspired, her and a collective of Southern California’s most talented writers and musicians under the moniker “Sweet Imperfections” have released an aptly titled debut album called ‘ME Is Better With WE,’ which features the single “Deeper To The Core.”
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to talk with Schillings about the album and more.
Music Bugle – How would you describe your music?
Bri Schillings – Wrapped in your loved one’s arms, next to a warm fire, gazing up at a star-lit night sky.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Bri Schillings – Covid-19 brought me back to life. A year of transformation and healing. It taught me stillness, how to really listen to where I felt joy and make the space to pursue it and so, Sweet Imperfections was born.
Music Bugle – What makes you the most proud about where you come from?
Bri Schillings – I never gave up. I believed so strongly in music medicine, it was the one thing that gave me hope. I learned how to identify my pain and hold it, teach it to dance and let it know, it is not alone and does not have to fight for attention. I see it, I feel it, I digest it and release it and myself by doing so, but most of all, I use it as a tool for expansion, rather than self-depreciation or a crutch.
Music Bugle – What has been your biggest challenge lately?
Bri Schillings – I’ve been most challenged by the balance between managing the business side of Sweet Imperfections and continuing to dream and flow as an artist. The beauty of the challenge is that I am growing, learning, understanding the behind-the-scenes and what goes into building a business. Most of my life as an artist rebelled against structure. I felt it would hinder my free-flowing artistic expression. Now, I believe structure allows for even greater freedom, because now I can flow more openly, knowing there is always a familiar structure to return to.
Music Bugle – Which of your songs were the hardest to write?
Bri Schillings – I am smiling as I inquire with myself and recount all the magical moments within the writing process of this album. Honestly, none of the songs were hard to write. I love songwriting and was given the opportunity to co-write with some special humans. “Sweet imperfections” and “Gently Not Judgingly” were songs that from the start, wrote themselves with a strong chorus and melody, but lacked verses. It wasn’t until I met the love of my life and brilliant Manager, Brandon Sudweeks, that we found our connection expanded into songwriting. Our first song, “Heaven,” the story of coming back to life through loving self and another, was the beginning of a great songwriting duo. Plus, we have fun! “Fight Or Flight” and “Cosmic” were unplanned co-writes with a dear friend and brilliant writer, Jordan Frank. Sharing a story and witnessing the song that emerges from it is not only a cosmic spectacular experience to share, but deeply healing and empowering when you give voice to your feelings and let them be heard. I believe songwriting is one of the most powerful tools for self-confidence, connectivity and awareness for all beings. Creating these little sound babies is one of the greatest adventures of my life and I am honored and grateful for the beautiful minds that continue to be curious enough and brave enough to explore through sound and songwriting.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now?
Bri Schillings – Yummmmm… I love some good piano – Phillip Glass, Alexix Ffrench, Dance mix – Parra for Cuva Christian Loffler. For soul vibes – Valerie June, Son Little, Nina June, Blanco White. For rock – Alanis Morissette, Manchester Orchestra and Brandi Carlile. For podcasts – “Broken Record,” Hidden Brain” and “Super Soul Sunday.”
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Bri Schillings – “It’s not just what you’re born with, it’s what you choose to be. It’s not what you’ve been given, it’s what you do with what you’ve got.”
Music Bugle – Does social media hurt or help artists?
Bri Schillings – It’s about balance. Social media is a tool. It’s up to the individual to decide if you want to use it, or let it use you. I love how it can reach out and connect on a greater level with the world, that I can co-create overseas and continue to be present to current times and bring awareness through song by having unlimited information and connection. It has brought so many of us together during a very isolated year and reminded us we are not alone. It can also be playful and fun and I love it!
Music Bugle – What do you hope for for the rest of 2021?
Bri Schillings – I hope we don’t forget what we have learned through these Covid times, that we re-enter the world with more awareness, gratitude, respect and a stronger connection to what brings us joy and supports the betterment of humanity as a collective. “Me” is better with “we.” Playing live shows and hearing live music! Continuing to create, explore sound in the most inspiring way through travel.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?
Bri Schillings – Nature! I am inspired in and through nature, from the Sunset cliffs to backpacking the High Sierras to gardening or seeing the sunset and the wind blow through the trees.