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Meet Rhian Bristol

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rhian Bristol.

Southern California born and raised, Rhian Bristol sings, writes music, plays the piano, ukulele, bass, and guitar and is open to learning any instrument you put in her hands; however, by far her favorite thing to do is perform because it allows her to share her experiences and move people. Already a consummate performer at a young age, you feel immediately comfortable as she shares stories, her connections to her songs and pokes fun at her own life’s experiences and the universal experiences we all share. Rhian has a stunning ability to channel her feelings, joys and challenges into her music. Musician Peggy Lebo calls Rhian, “An incredibly dynamic, expressive performer who moves audiences to tears”.

Rhian began her musical life at the age of three, armed with an ABBA CD, Barbie microphone and mirrored closet door. Since then, she has known what she has wanted to do. Be a musician. Bullied in elementary school, Rhian’s connection to music and expression only grew stronger. Writing her first song at age 9, she continued to learn more and more about her craft and use her life’s experiences to fuel her passion for musical expression. While in high school, she earned multiple recording arts awards and, at the age of 16, the national Quincy Jones Musicianship Award. She discovered a passion for teaching music to younger students and found great joy in mentoring middle school music students. She has performed in local venues all over San Diego County including The Roxy Restaurant, Tower 13, Aztec Brewing, Queen Bee’s, Encinitas Street Fair, UNIV, La Costa Coffee and San Diego County Fair. She has also performed in Kauai, Hawaii and Denver, Colorado.

Recognized by the San Diego Union Tribune and 92024 Magazine for her music and songwriting, Rhian’s original song, “A War That Can’t Be Won” about civil rights activist Juliette Hampton Morgan has gained countrywide attention. 92024 magazine noted, “Rhian [has] combined her passion for music with her desire to help people heal in a way that has reached far beyond the scope of a class assignment.” “At 16,” San Diego Union Tribune columnist, Diane Bell, notes, “So moving was her song … that the central public library in Montgomery, Ala., named after Morgan in 2005, posted the song on its social media sites.”

Often asked what her favorite style of music is, Rhian responds, “I love all genres of music. I believe that all music is a form of expression so who am I to judge whether that expression is good or bad. So I listen to every kind of music I can access.”

A 2019 graduate of The Grauer School in Encinitas where she was recognized with the 2019 Annual Trustees Award for humanitarianism and service, Rhian now attends the California Institute of the Arts where she is earning her BFA in Music. She released her first single in August titled, “One More for Good Measure”, a song she wrote about how she lost touch with herself amidst an abusive experience in high school. She continues to write and perform original music and covers as well as the National Anthem wherever she can and recently donated a performance to help raise money to support music in underserved schools near her home town. Rhian is currently working on original music for her first EP that she hopes to record and release this summer. Experience her power of storytelling, her connection to her audience and the emotion in her music in person or on any music platforms.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Growing up, I was constantly told I was too loud, too happy, too emotional, too something that didn’t fit in. Elementary school was an especially painful time for me and I was bullied relentlessly for just being myself. I spent many years doubting my abilities. I have always had to work hard at everything I did and I have been dedicated to succeed in my academics as well as my art. But it has never been smooth sailing.

Musically, I have always had a family that has loved and supported me personally and musically and as I went through high school I finally developed a supportive group of friends that accepted me and encouraged me to pursue my music.

Please tell us about your art.
I am a singer songwriter who plays the guitar, ukulele, bass and piano. I also enjoy all aspects of the music business including producing, composing, performing, recording and collaborating with other musicians and artists. I enjoy performing both covers and my original music and am working on my first EP of original songs that I hope to release after summer 2020. I released my first single last summer called, “One More For Good Measure” and, like all of my original songs, is a very personal look at a painful experience in my life. I am proud of how hard I have worked in school, in my community, especially with Meals on Wheels , and at my music. I love to perform most of all because I love connecting with others and sharing music.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I just turned 18 in October so I feel like I am still living that part of my life. However, I have great memories of all the concerts I have had the opportunity to attend with my mom and now my mom and my younger sister. My first concert was The Cheetah Girls when I was seven and it was the best thing ever! Finding Snow White hanging out alone at Disneyland and dancing around the room with her in my matching Snow White headband wasn’t too shabby either.

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