Eclectic singer/songwriter Indigo De Souza sat down with KCSB’s General Manager Emma Mesches, and Internal Music Director Yousef Srour, to discuss her music and artistic journey as a creative human being. Stay tuned for her upcoming livestream performance, where she will be performing live on KCSB’s YouTube channel this Thursday, April 1st, at 8 PM PT!
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Emma: What was your favorite movie as a child?
Indigo: How old do you mean?
Emma: Just like, if there’s a movie that you specifically remember wanting to watch over and over, ya know.
Indigo: Oh yeah, I mean, just Harry Potter. All the Harry Potter movies. I was obsessed with Harry Potter for most of my life.
Emma: Harry Potter is cool because I’m the youngest of four kids, but all my siblings would be at the bookstore to wait for the books to be released and would wait outside of the movies for the movies to be released.
Indigo: Yeah, I was like that.
Yousef: So, what song is your guilty pleasure to listen to?
Indigo: Guilty pleasure song? Oh my gosh, I’m sorry I have to think about this. I guess maybe I feel weird about liking Justin Bieber’s Yummy or something like that. But I listen to that a lot, but mostly because I know he doesn’t even write it so it feels weird to like a song that is presented by someone who didn’t write the song.
Yousef: I mean, if it’s catchy…
Emma: Okay, this is similar to the last icebreaker, but right now, who are your favorite artists to listen to?
Indigo: Um, I like TisaKorean, and Charli XCX, I love Frank Ocean. I have been listening lately to Tirzah, do you know Tirzah?
Emma: I don’t think so.
Indigo: T-I-R-Z-A-H. I recently got really into her. I really like Nao a lot, yeah, oh and Tierra Whack. Ah, so good. I just like dance, poppy, funny stuff right now. And mostly in my life, but yeah.
Emma: Cool, I feel the same. I feel like I went through a period of listening to a lot of more sad music, but now it’s like, it’s Spring, things are getting better.
Indigo: Right? I was like that for my life, like you’re talking about seasons, I think earlier in my life I was in a season where I was really romanticizing being sad I remember, and now I just am embracing that I’m just like a happy person and don’t feel bad about it. I just goof around and dance around.
Emma: That’s a cool way to put it. I saw on your Bandcamp that you write most of your lyrics alone. Do you have any fun routines or spaces that help you write your music?
Indigo: Yeah, no, I write all my lyrics, but I don’t know, yeah kind of. I just have a little studio setup in my house, like just a little room that’s mine and that’s probably where I write a lot of stuff but also, I recently moved into a church, like my friend and I are renting a church and the living room is like the main room with stained glass and everything and it’s really reverb-y in there. The sound reverberates in a really cool way, and it’s really really fun to write in there. I just write when I am feeling like a really intense emotion and yeah, really just that.
Emma: It’s so cool that you recently moved into a church. I can’t imagine how beautiful and just nice that big space is.
Indigo: Thank you, it’s like a dream come true. Once I moved in there I realized there’s nothing you can’t do. People spend a lot of time feeling like they can’t do stuff they want to do, but if you wanna do something you can work towards it and make it happen and not give up on it. I didn’t think I was actually gonna get the church but I did.
Emma: Okay, so I’m the person who originally reached out to your management and was like, “I wanna get this show to happen,” because I really love your music and really relate to your lyrics. I also relate to what you said about romanticizing being sad. I feel like for me, I grew up just trying to turn into a ‘cool girl’ instead of just being me, ya know. I found your music while on Spotify, probably while making a radio show. You were one of my recommended artists, I listen to a lot of female indie rock and I tend to gravitate towards personal narrative style lyric writing. For example, I recently said that the reason I really enjoy Lala Lala’s music is because it sounds like her casual stream of conscious thoughts, or something she wrote in a diary or notes app after a long week. This style can kind of give your music a nostalgic, carefree energy to it in my opinion, where the lyrics are despondent or high-spirited, so they sound as if they could be the soundtrack to a coming-of-age film. Has music helped you maneuver through your 20s?
Indigo: Yeah, I mean I’m only 3 years into my 20s. Although it feels like a long time, but, I know from like a young age, it feels like it [song writing] started definitely as a kind of therapy when I was really young. I started playing music when I was 9, and then when I went through the school thing, I had a very hard time in school. I was just really weird and different and like one of the only brown-skin people, well, actually the only brown-skin person in my whole school and my mom was really kooky and music was just like my best friend. I think still to this day, it’s the same thing, it’s a reason to not ignore my own feelings and gives me space to process things. And sometimes I’ll even be scared when I realize that I could write a song in a moment when I’m feeling a lot. I’m like, “I could totally write a song right now, I could feel, and it needs to happen,” and then I’ll sometimes even almost feel resistant to that because in order to write the song I need to fully engage with what I’m feeling instead of going and sitting down and watching some TikToks, or just putting on some music and doing something else and forgetting about how I’m feeling. So it’s taught me a lot about engaging with feelings. And just going through my twenties, I think I’m a lot stronger now than I ever have been, and music helps. I don’t know. I’m sorry!
Yousef: No, that was really good!
Emma: I really enjoyed that! I feel like I have a similar thing, like I just make these collages for my shows, but I always make them represent my week, and I’ll be like… I’m feeling pretty mad at my roommates this morning, like I don’t know if I want them to know that through this collage. But, I guess I’ll have to… I think that was a great answer.
Indigo: Do you still live with those roommates?
Emma: Yes, and we’re good.
Yousef: The beef has mellowed a tad.
Indigo: Mellowed a tad. That’s pretty… the words you just used were cool.
Yousef: Well, to segway here, what was it like to grow up in Spruce Pine, North Carolina?
Indigo: It was weird. I felt like I was the only person like me. People were mean, people were conservative and really unaccepting. The narrative that I had growing up there was, “Me and my mom are the only people like us in the world,” because I didn’t really have any other concept of what the world was like outside of that because I grew up there, so, I was like “I’m always gonna be an outsider, I’m always gonna be very different, and where do I fit in? This doesn’t make sense.” I thought that it was something wrong with us, I didn’t think it was them, because there were more of them, so I was just like, we need to change. I would buy Hollister, try to look like them or eat the same food. I would be like “Mom, please get me Lunchables,” but, yeah, I don’t know, it was hard. When I moved out of there and moved to Asheville, which was only an hour away, I was like “Oh my gosh, there’s tons of people like us!” It was a whole world of people and they’re very diverse and everything changed.
Emma: So, what pushed you to pursue music as a full-time career?
Indigo: Oh, there’s just nothing else I could have done. I’m not very good at other stuff like society, and the way that it’s built, I don’t fit into it. It makes me so anxious and it doesn’t make sense to me and the only thing that makes me feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to do is when I’m playing music and writing music and sharing music with people. From a young age, I kind of knew that and my mom was really encouraging about it and made me feel comfortable pursuing that, which I think was really helpful. I think a lot of parents would have been like “That’s not realistic” or whatever. But yeah, I always knew I didn’t wanna go to college and I just wanted to play music. I went for it wholeheartedly.
Emma: That is so cool that your mom supported that dream from the beginning. I feel like that is pretty rare.
Indigo: Thank you, yeah, I think it was a really cool move on her part.
Yousef: So, a lot of your music seems to come from personal experiences. Has it been difficult for you to write new material since lockdown began, or have you found it to be easier because you have so much time to reflect?
Indigo: Both. I’ve had more time and logically it seems as if I would be writing a lot, and I have. I wrote a lot but I went through seasons. What I found was that it was that, I had lots of time and space to do it, but it was also one of the least inspiring times to write music because I wasn’t engaging with any community. I wasn’t traveling and soaking up experiences and people as much as I normally do. Yeah, this experience was just so different than normal life and so weighted in this way that it actually was less inspiring than normal. I learned over time that I didn’t need to beat myself up for not writing a lot of songs because it’s just like, there’s a pandemic happening and it’s sad and that’s okay. It’s okay for me to not feel like writing. But with that said, I did write a lot which was good, but it came from a funny place.
Emma: How have you liked the reception of I Love My Mom as we’re slowly coming towards the third year anniversary of its release?
Indigo: It’s been amazing, it’s been so sweet. It feels really emotional for people who do respond to me, I’ll get really sweet messages from people saying that I helped them through a lot of stuff. That’s the main thing that I hear back and it’s been really grounding.
Emma: How has the project influenced what you’ve currently been working on?
Indigo: Honestly like this new album feels almost like a continuation of the last one, but with a lot of new feeling at the same time. It feels like the last album was dwelling in pain a lot more in a way that was kind of hopeless almost. It had hope, but this one feels like it has even more hope involved.
Emma: So exciting!
Indigo: It’s just more accepting of itself.
Yousef: Excited for it. Can you talk a little bit about your decision to release Twins in the Womb, the neo-soul EP under the moniker Icky Bricketts?
Indigo: Yeah, we released that in the beginning of quarantine, but we were holding on to that for a long time and thinking that we would do something more special with the release or something. But we were so prolific, we were just like, “We should just put this out; people are having a hard time and it would be cool if they had some bops.” We didn’t really care what happened with it, we just wanted to put something out. It was just like a fun thing.
Yousef: What’s the meaning behind the group’s name, Icky Bricketts?
Indigo: Oh, that was just a name that one of my friends called me once, just as a nickname. They were like “Hey, Icky Bricketts,” instead of saying “Indigo,” and I was just like, that’s fucking sick dawg, and it just stuck in my head forever. And yeah, it just felt perfect for the project.
Emma: Where do you see your sound progressing in the future having released indie rock opus I Love My Mom, experimenting with neo-soul on Twins in the Womb, and straddling the line of alternative R&B and bedroom pop with don’t cry, just do?
Indigo: I think that’ll be a surprise. I think I have tons of genres I want to explore, and it’ll be a surprise. I feel like a chameleon; I can do lots of different things.
Emma: In the past, you’ve said that you consider your releases to be separate experiences. Do you consider yourself to be just genreless in that sense?
Indigo: Yeah, for sure. That’s one of the main things that I care about the most, is the people I work with allowing me to explore whatever I want to, because my worst fear is being pigeon-holed into one thing.
Emma: That’s really cool, and it seems like you definitely have experiences and passion to do whatever you want so it’s cool to surround yourself with people who let you do that.
Indigo: Yeah, thank you, I work with some really good people. They’re really nice to me.
Yousef: Sort of going into that, what is the greatest love of your life?
Indigo: How do you mean?
Yousef: You can have a who, you can have a what, but for a lot of people there’s just one thing that they could never really live without. When you wake up in the morning, what is that for you?
Indigo: I just couldn’t live without really really healthy, stable, loving relationships with human beings. That’s what I care about more than anything. Even above music, above everything, I really care about having friends and people in my life who allow me to fully express myself without feeling bad about it, and creating that same space for other people and openly talking about that with pretty much everybody. I talk about that with pretty much everybody that I ever meet because I believe in trying to shift the narrative on how relationships can be. I think people put up with a lot of bullshit that they don’t have to, and it’s just so cool that you can do anything. Your reality is your own and you can create whatever you want in it and decide to treat people a certain way and decide you want to be treated a certain way. Yeah, just love, I guess, is the answer.
Emma: What is your perfect idea of happiness?
Indigo: Um, I don’t know, kind of what I just said in a way. I feel pretty happy now in my life because I’ve gotten to a place where I just don’t care. I’m able to express myself without feeling bad, and I stick to my guns in every scenario and trust myself and allow others to flourish. I guess just more acceptance for things because you can’t control anything around you. Oh my god, I’m so scattered with my answers.
Yousef: No, that’s good. It’s a changing answer too. This is your perfect idea of happiness for right now. In a year, you’re gonna have a different answer; in ten minutes you might have a different answer too, who knows?
Indigo: That’s true, yeah.
Yousef: Where do you see yourself in the next five years, and what would you like to have seen yourself accomplish?
Indigo: Um, wow, I never think that far ahead. When you asked me that, it felt like for the first time I was like, “Oh, five years from now…” I honestly never think that far ahead because I think every day I kind of am like “I could die today” when I wake up. That’s one of the first things I think of, that this could be my last day. And honestly, because it could be my last day, I think that’s also why I’m a happy person, because I’m able to hold onto that sentiment all the time like, “This could be my last day, you could be the last person I’m speaking to.” I’m gonna treat everybody with kindness and I’m gonna bring as much light into the world as I can. Yeah, I don’t know, I just hope in five years I’m still doing that every day and focusing on the present.
Yousef: Yeah, because if you have a good day every day for five years, then that’s really all you need.
Indigo: That’s a good five years.
Emma: This is our final question, thank you so much for doing all of this.
Yousef: Yes, thank you so much for being so generous with your time.
Emma: Final question is, after watching your livestream performance with KSCB, what do you hope for viewers to understand about Indigo De Souza?
Indigo: Just that I’m a flawed human being and I just really love people and I really care about everyone’s experience. That I’m just doing my best out here.