Q&A with the talented Totten Bridge

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Singer-songwriter Totten Bridge unveiled a stirring love song, ‘I Can’t Leave Us Behind’, on November 24, 2023 via StephJam Music. Having already accumulated over 1.7 million streams across all streaming platforms, as well as support from the likes of Notion Mag, Earmilk, and Backseat Mafia, the New York-based musician blends tender melodies with fresh and driving beats. His recent single, Better Than Me’, received support from online tastemaker CLASH Magazine. Influenced by the likes of Sam Fender, Thirty Seconds To Mars, Coldplay, and Imagine Dragons, his music could be best described as rock, with British and American influences that incorporate a variety of time-honoured pop motifs like, folk, Motown, and even EDM at times. ‘I Can’t Leave Us Behind’ is a pop-rock anthem with infectious hooks, lush instrumentation and crisp production. The song is a meditation on holding space for the bittersweet experience of treasuring a past lover’s positive impact on you, instead of trying to eradicate them from your memory entirely.

Stream ‘I Can’t Leave Us Behind’ and read our interview with the charismatic songwriter below:

Tell us about your grandfather’s record store and how it inspired you to become a musician. 

Over the course of his life, he actually owned 3 record stores. In the first one, he had cheap instruments and that was where I got my first guitar from.  It was in the 2nd store that I became transfixed with the album covers and started to take records home. My grandfather was very generous and he let me take whatever I wanted.  In the 3rd store, my musical discovery became stronger because I was older now and knew a lot about the bands that I was interested in.  I really have him to thank for helping me feed my musical curiosity.

Break down your creative process for us. Do you have rituals, or is it spontaneous? 

My creative process is much more spontaneous than it is structured. I spent some time in Nashville writing in workshops and I did not like it as much.  For me, I’m inspired by things that I see or music that I hear in my mind.  From there I will work on deciphering what I’m hearing mentally and from there a song is born.  Once I start writing a song, I go with the flow until I either finish it and like it or get stuck and leave it for another time.  If a song is really good and I really like it, then I’ll move on to the demo stage and then eventually to the real recording stage.

What has been the most defining moment of your musical career? 

I think just getting my first song out to release in 2022 was a huge milestone because in many ways you don’t realize how hard it is and of course you never know what the reaction to your music will be.  The idea for Totten Bridge started in the early days of Covid and by August of 2020 I had my first song recorded and mixed.  Once that happened, I never looked back and here we are! 

What equipment or software did you enjoy writing with the most? 

I usually write on either a guitar or keyboard.  My go-to guitar is a Taylor acoustic.  I also use a D’Angelico guitar and Korg keyboard.  I also have an old Fender Jazz bass that I take out from time to time. I always demo my songs using GarageBand.  For me, it is easy to use and it helps me get my ideas down quickly.  I’m not really interested in the engineering aspects of complicated software.  I leave that to the professionals! 

What does your performance setup looking like? Are there any differences between your live and studio kits? 

For now, I have no plans to tour but that can change.  When I started the Totten Bridge project during Covid, I really did not know what to expect.  So far the reaction has been positive and that’s been great to see.  Who knows what the future holds!

Do you have any non-musical hobbies? In an alternate universe, what would you be if not a musician? 

In my downtime, I love to read, exercise and watch good shows on Netflix.  I also enjoy going out to restaurants with friends and family and enjoying a good meal.  And I love to travel as well.  In an alternate universe, I wanted to be an English Literature professor teaching great authors to college students.

Do you have any ‘comfort’ songs/albums that you don’t get sick of and continuously return to listening to? If so, tell us about them. 

Wow, that’s an interesting question because I definitely have a lot so It’s probably more of a lot of playlists! :). I guess for me it depends on the mood I’m in or the vibe I’m feeling.  If I’m exercising it’s probably a rock mix that features Van Halen, Def Leppard and AC/DC and bands like that.  I’m also really liking Sam Fender these days so a mix of his songs along with bands like Sea Girls, Inhaler, The Native and British bands like that are also good for working out.  I also can’t overlook the great classic rock bands like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull and bands like that to keep me musically grounded.  I also can’t overlook great bands like Tears For Fears, The Police and Sting.  So you see, it’s not that easy for me! 

What’s next for you? Any notable events or plans for collaborations coming up? 

Next up for me is the next single that I’m planning to release sometime in January 2024. I’ve gotten used to releasing a new song every 6 – 8 weeks so that keeps me busy writing, producing, mixing, coming up with artwork and everything else that you need to do as an independent artist.

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