Bishop Ivy introduced himself as an alternative-pop songwriter known for his innovative music which mixed organic instruments with digital sounds, field recordings, electronica influences, and samples. Continuing to sharpen that sound, he now embellishes it with pop hooks, sonically adventurous production and autobiographical lyrics. Ivy’s focus on imaginative sound and sharp songcraft began in Boston, where he kicked off his career as a 14-year-old street busker on the neighbourhood sidewalks of Back Bay. Now based in Pittsburgh, where he studies music, electrical engineering and computer science, and with a number of releases under his belt, Ivy hopes to further his ability to manipulate music.
Inspired by boundary breakers like Bon Iver, Frank Ocean, James Blake, and Imogen Heap, Ivy has built his career upon attention to detail. He’s responsible for virtually every sound he creates, with his willingness to juxtapose synthesized sounds with raw, organic music being the driving force behind what he does.
His EP parasocial, is the result of the songwriter realizing he would often write to people, without any expectation of response. Whether it was writing to a partner or writing to himself, it was as if he was writing to ghosts. The word “parasocial” describes a type of one-sided relationship people have with those who aren’t aware of the relationship, like celebrities or even fictional characters. Ivy continues, “I also like the similarity to the word “paranormal” further tying in to the analogy of ghosts, and the ghostly nature of the record in general.” The lowercase songs “parasocial,” “the park” and “tunnel vision” are written about another person and the uppercase tracks “STAND UP” and “CAN’T IMAGINE” are written about himself.
“tunnel vision” explores the deep fear of letting go of a relationship. During the writing process, his relationship was the only thing occupying his mind, hence the title tunnel vision. With an underlying melancholy tone and almost lullaby atmosphere, “tunnel vision” is a soothing and emotional release. Ivy shares, “This song featured some of my new experiments in production, like recording myself banging around with some tools and turning that into the song’s percussion, and taking a train sample to use sort of as an ominous string section. That ‘beep’ throughout the entire song was from a check-out line at Target, as is revealed in the final few seconds in the song. Camera clicks also make an appearance in the chorus.”
Written from a place of retrospect, “the park” is break up song 2.0. The tune talks of his healing period taking longer than anticipated, focusing on positive memories and beginning to let go of the pain and heartbreak. He explains, “The central metaphor is that I locked myself in those good memories I have, which is what “the park” represents. The bridge represents a realization of this and beginning of letting go, which coincides with a fitting change in the music.” Including a creative range of samples, the young musician shares, “The hi-hats include my dad’s motorcycle starting up. The snare is me hitting a stop sign, and another snare is me smashing my skateboard into a wall. What is effectively the crash cymbal was a harpsichord some professor played at my school and I recorded a single note.”
“STAND UP” touches on the need to find internal power and no longer allow people to use and abuse you for your kind heart. After spending time cooped up in lockdown, Ivy found self-love, along with the realization that it’s time to “STAND UP” for himself, as he shares, “This realization to stand up for myself was encouraged by the constant isolation I was in at the time of writing because of covid; I had to take care of myself and value myself more than before.”
Racking up millions of streams for his music to date and garnering support from publications such as Live Nation's Ones to Watch, Clash, Flaunt Magazine, American Songwriter and Earmilk, Bishop Ivy has quickly become an artist to watch in 2021.