Interview with the soulful singer-songwriter, Totten Bridge

Totten Bridge released a moving 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 melancholic 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 about 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.

Tell us about you, how long have you been producing music? What inspired you to start? 

I was born and raised in New York City.  I love to read, exercise and travel.  My parents were not musical at all but I always had this weird connection to music.  It just always felt like it was something I was meant to do.  I was inspired to do music by discovering and becoming a fan of many different genres of music.  I was always attracted to the song first and it didn’t matter if it was rock, pop, R&B, classical or whatever…if it was good and I liked it then it inspired me to understand how it was done and if I could do that too.

The music industry is super competitive these days, was there a moment in your life that you wanted to give up on music?  How did you manage to stay focused and achieve what you want? 

Well, I did put music aside for a little while but it always stayed with me and gnawed at my soul.  It is always hard to not do the things you love and I wasn’t happy not doing it so when Covid hit in March of 2020, I got the idea to rekindle my ambitions and then I never looked back and I’m happy for that turning point moment.  As for the competitive aspect of the music business and how it can impact a musician, I just aim to create the best songs that I can with an aim to reach people in a universal way.  If I can achieve that in even a small way by reaching and touching just one person then I would consider that a success!

How would you describe your creative processes? Who writes the lyrics to the songs? Are the music and lyrics written in conjunction, or separately?  

I write all of the music and lyrics and I usually have a few ways of writing.  The first way is when my mind starts to create a song and then I work on figuring out what it is that I’m hearing.  I’ll usually use a guitar or keyboard to figure out the music.  Another way that I write is by just picking up the guitar or sitting at the keyboard and playing chord progressions and melodies until I find something that I like.  Then the third way that I may write a song is by reading something that inspires me or thinking about a title that hits me in a certain way or words that come to me along with a melody that just feels cool.  The one thing about my songwriting is that I have to really like what I’m writing because if I don’t like it then I feel like other people won’t like it.  I want to be proud of what I’m putting out there.  And of course, I may start a song and never finish it and I definitely have quite a few of these unfinished songs hanging around.  Songwriting is a bit of a mysterious process so I don’t like to overthink it.

Where does the inspiration come from? 

I never know where the inspiration for a song will come from because in a way I feel like I’m just channeling the music from somewhere else but with that said, I can be inspired by something I read or something that I experienced or someone I met or something that I feel.  It’s a very personal journey for me and there’s a piece of me in every song that I write.

What’s your favourite track from the upcoming album and what other bands/artists are you listening to right now?

I usually like the newest song that I release so my mind is always changing! My latest single is called ‘I Can’t Leave Us Behind’ and it’s a song about a love that continues to burn like an ember in the heart.  I love the emotion of the song and it’s something that everyone can relate to.  I’m finishing up the next single which is called ‘Moving On’ and will be coming out sometime in January and I’m sure that it will be my favorite then! As for other artists that I’m listening to and really liking now I would say that Sam Fender is my favorite.  I think he really touches the soul because you can feel his lyrics.  I’m also listening to other artists like The Native, Nothing But Thieves, Wunderhorse, Maneskin and Bartees Strange, amongst others.

What’s next for you?  

Next for me is planning out and finishing the next 6 or 7 songs that I’ll be releasing in 2024.  Along with that comes the ideas for cover art, reels, ads, and other release strategies that an independent artist has to focus on.  It’s a lot to think about and do but I love it!

Stream ‘I Can’t Leave Us Behind’ below: