JPR Live Session: SOAK

May 6, 2016

Irish singer/songwriter SOAK says her stage name came from combining "soul" and "folk," and while she doesn't believe either word accurately describes her music, her breathy, emotionally revealing songs and spare, powerfully evocative performing style are certainly soulful and folk-influenced, though there's just as much indie rock in her musical formula.

SOAK was born Bridie Monds-Watson in Derry, Ireland in 1997. When she was 13, Monds-Watson began playing the guitar, and a year later she started playing solo shows. With the support of her mother (who drove her to her gigs, since she was too young to drive herself), SOAK began developing a following on the lively Derry music scene.

In 2012, SOAK released her debut EP, Trains, and a second release, Sea Creatures, soon followed. Chvrches invited SOAK to record an EP for their Goodbye Records label, and they issued Blud in 2014. By that year's end, SOAK had signed a deal with Rough Trade Records.

SOAK released her debut studio album Before We Forgot How to Dream on May 29th, 2015 which won the Irish Choice Music Prize Album of the Year at the annual awards ceremony held in Vicar Street in Dublin. The 19-year-old beat off competition from the likes of Villagers, Roisin Murphy, Le Galaxie, Gavin James and more to be awarded the trophy. The album was also nominated to the short list for the Mercury Prize - an award signifying the "Album of the Year" in the UK.