“Privacy while in recovery is a beautiful thing,” Brye muses, summarizing not just a personal philosophy but a broader invitation to her listeners to embrace vulnerability at their own pace. Her character is as multifaceted as the melodies she weaves — a patchwork of lived experience, musical ingenuity, and a quiet defiance against the noise of societal expectations. The Chicago indie-pop artist captures the essence of resilience, not with grandiose statements, but with a gentle steadfastness that says, “It will get better if you’re willing.”
Brye’s debut album RECOVER is rich in variety, showcasing her versatility as an artist who can fill a room with presence even when she chooses to whisper rather than shout. The track “Direct Message” stands out for me as it serves as a profound demonstration of her skill in crafting atmosphere with a gentle touch. The clarinet in this piece steps beyond its traditional role, acting as an emotive voice that brings a deeper, more intimate layer to the song.
In our interview, we talk about the thought process behind her album title, the role of body image in society, and the intricate dance between age and experience.
photography by Lily Nelson
Q: “RECOVER” is a title that carries a lot of meaning. What led you to choose this title?
The album was actually originally titled “recovery,” but “RECOVER” felt more like a call to action, than just a name. It’s also the perfect thematic label for the direction my music has shifted into this year.
Q: Your songs also touch upon eating disorder recovery. How important is it for you to shed light on such topics in your music?
My songs are as much of an outlet for me as they are a source of comfort for others. I write about what I’m thinking about, and what I’m experiencing. I am very passionate about recovery and mental health, so it felt kind of inevitable for the songs to become about that.
Q: Why do you believe there’s such a prevalent focus on the body across various cultures and religions? It seems that the body constantly holds significant importance.
I can’t speak for other religions but I grew up Christian, and I’ve noticed in that community that disordered eating behaviors are justified under the guise of “treating our bodies like a temple.”
The diet industry in America is currently estimated to be more than a 200 BILLION dollar industry. It’s no coincidence that we are so obsessed with our bodies and diets. It’s extremely lucrative.
Q: Your album is described as being filled with frank realizations about the culture we live in. What do you see as positive aspects of our culture?
I have a deep appreciation for the ways movements like body positivity and fat liberation have risen in popularity this last decade.
Corporations and brands like Target and American Eagle have started catering to more diverse body types and have extended their sizing (to a degree). I think it’s a step in the right direction and I’m grateful for that.
“I just love talking about the production. Like I don’t think people realize how much of my artistry is in the instrumentation.”
Q: One of your songs is called “Ageless.” I genuinely love its calmer vibe and it prompted me to reflect on age as a concept. In my opinion, experiences can be had at any age, but as we grow older, we definitely change due to accumulating more experiences. How do you perceive the concept of age in relation to personal growth and experiences?
I used to melt down on my birthday every year because it felt like my accomplishments became less impressive with time. I’ve worked hard to reframe and let go of that narrative. I’m actually really excited to get older, now that I’m in my twenties. My late teens were strange because it was this in-between where I felt simultaneously so naive and also far ahead of my peers career-wise. Now I try to look forward.
Q: If you could give advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Privacy while in recovery is a beautiful thing. Don’t talk about it until you feel ready and safe doing so.
Q: What challenges did you face while producing “RECOVER”, considering you’re a self-produced artist?
Producing can be challenging for a multitude of reasons. Melodyning is a headache, building everything out can be tedious. But most of the time I truly adore it. I love the creative freedom I’m able to have when I’m in producer mode. It makes me a better artist.
The first few drafts of the title track originally didn’t feel full enough. I added layer after layer, but it still felt like something was missing. One of my good music friends Grace Gardner had offered to do background vocal work if I ever needed it, so I hit her up and I’m not joking when I say this; she fixed the song. Her voice is what made everything click for me.
“I am not a guru, or a mental health professional, all I know is that time, therapy, and patience are all phenomenal tools. It will get better if you’re willing.”
Q: How do you handle the pressure and expectations that come with such rapid success and visibility?
Therapy. (laughs) For a while, every single release would turn me into a weepy puddle of anxiety. I was so scared of failure. I would kick and scream internally the whole way through. I would burn myself out while making content I wasn’t proud of, and then crawl out of that space expecting myself to feel inspired enough to make another track.
This last year has helped me so much, thank god. Releasing doesn’t feel like pulling teeth anymore. I get so genuinely excited every time we have another single or project drop. Unpacking my previous headspace and learning to tolerate any anxiety I felt, was monumental.
Q: What’s a question you wish more interviewers would ask you or a topic you wish to discuss more?
I just love talking about the production. Like I don’t think people realize how much of my artistry is in the instrumentation. I play clarinet on almost every single track on this record. I’m not just a songwriter or performer, I’m a producer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist, and I’m really proud of that.
Q: Outside of music, what passions do you engage in to recharge or find inspiration?
I love writing poetry, it’s very songwriting adjacent but without the pressure of it being my job. I’m also obsessed with collaging and scrapbooking. Also, fashion!!
Q: Lastly, if there was a message or mantra you’d like to share with your fans and listeners, what would it be?
I am not a guru, or a mental health professional, all I know is that time, therapy, and patience are all phenomenal tools. It will get better if you’re willing.