Dacia Bridges is probably the most famous Michigan musician you’ve never heard of. That’s because she made her way to stardom in Germany. Now Bridges is back in the U.S., living in Kalamazoo. She recently started an all-female super group called The Dacia Bridges Project.
Bridges will play with Koebel Saturday, December 16th at 7 p.m. at Potter’s Lounge. It's located at Kalamazoo’s Four Points by Sheraton hotel.
Throughout her career, Bridges has made music in about four genres. She’s also a dancer, a model, and an actress.
All of that started when she and her family moved to Germany. Her dad was stationed there in the military.
“I moved over when I was 15," said Bridges. "Then I graduated early at 17 and I just stayed and rocked it out.”
Making Metal, Dance Music in Germany
Bridges started a metal band called Tape in 2000. It's song “Yeeha” topped the charts in Germany. About the time Tape landed a record deal, Bridges released her own single called “I Begin To Wonder.”
After it was covered by Dannii Minogue in 2003, it also went on to top the charts in Germany—as well as Italy and the U.K.
Bridges now plays an acoustic version of “I Begin To Wonder” with her new group in Kalamazoo. She says she got the rights back to the song after 12 years.
“I did it underground for a while and then Dannii Minogue asked to cover the song," said Bridges. "It became her biggest hit. So, of course, when you’re the original vocal, you have to wait with the rights of the record company before you can record it again.”
Bridges does more acoustic music now, but she was hesitant to delve into that kind of music at first. With encouragement from her fans, she released her first acoustic album “The Lonely Club of Hearts” in 2010.
“I was asked for many years to make an acoustic record because with the dance and the rock people could never hear my voice just organically," said Bridges.
"I didn’t think that it was necessary to do something like that before because I didn’t feel I was old enough. I feel that when people write music like this you’ve got to live something, you’ve got to go through something in order to tell it."
So, Bridges traveled around the world—gaining new experiences. She was also pregnant with her daughter toward the end of the record. Bridges says eventually she felt ready to make the emotional content necessary for an acoustic album.
Moving to Kalamazoo
After spending decades in Germany, Bridges moved back to the United States in 2015 to be with family in Tennessee. There she did a brief stint with the alternative classical ensemble, Chatterbird, before leaving Nashville for Kalamazoo where she started The Dacia Bridges Project.
Percussionist Carolyn Koebel describes The Dacia Bridges Project as “edgy, urban, and chic.” She says Bridges’ vocals tie the group together.
“You know, it’s just good. It just draws you in. It’s really compelling, it’s powerful, it’s confident, it’s sexy, it’s sassy, it’s truthful, it’s honest, it’s raw," said Koebel. "And then we have violin, bass, really organic percussion—a lot of cajon—and then some straightforward just poppy drum set stuff.”
New Project All About Fun, Dance
Bridges says though the group has goals for the future, the focus right now is fun. She says there’s enough seriousness in the world today. Bridges says she wants to make music that's real, but that people can dance to.
“If you can have songs on stage that are emotional and you touch them with the heart, and then the next thing you know you’re getting it with a dance track," she said. "That’s the ticket.”
“If we only stay in that academic, reverent place when we’re experiencing music, that’s just one aspect of what music can do," Koebel adds. "You know you don’t have to stand at attention, you can just enjoy the music and see how it moves through you.”
Bi-Monthly Collaborative Shows
The Dacia Bridges Project is also letting other artists join in on that fun. Starting in the new year, the group will have two residencies. The first will be at the Paw Paw Playhouse, to celebrate the opening of the renovated theater. Bridges says every other month the group will play a show there and invite different local musicians to share the stage.
“It’s nice to have shows where not only are you doing your own thing, but you get the possibility to show off somebody else. I love that,” she said.
The Dacia Bridges Project will have a similar residency at Potter’s Lounge in Kalamazoo.
Bridges says looking back on her career, she thinks it’s been a success:
“I always believe in that old saying, if you can touch one person in the audience, you’ve done your job. And I’ve had those moments where people will be crying or they come to me after something. I’m like, yeah, that’s why I do it. And of course it’s nice if you can have a big paycheck, and do this and do that. But that’s not the goal behind it—because if that was it, I probably would have never continued."
You can see Bridges and Koebel perform Saturday, December 16th at 7 p.m. at Potter’s Lounge, located at Kalamazoo’s Four Points by Sheraton hotel.