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Singer-songwriter SOAK doesn’t hold back

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Bridie Monds-Watson, who performs as SOAK, is getting rave reviews for her debut album “Before We Forgot How to Dream.” (Courtesy Joshua Halling)

Write what you know, they say. So when Irish dream-popper Bridie Monds-Watson started composing songs as a teen, one of the first she came up with was the Camera-Obscura-ish “Sea Creatures,” about a friend who was being bullied in high school. It was on an EP and also is on “Before We Forgot How to Dream,” her full-length debut, performing under the name SOAK. Now 19, she’s on her first month-long tour of America, while the rest of her former classmates attend college or work full-time jobs. But she doesn’t feel like an old soul: “I think I’m just quite observant of my surroundings, and quite self-assured, maybe more than other people my age,” she says.

When did you notice you had musical talent?

It was never anything sudden. It was just me, alone in my room, writing. And I had to write, because that’s how I was expressing myself, and talking about things that I couldn’t necessarily talk to my friends or family about. So I was just writing in a self-explanatory kind of way.

How did you first go public with your compositions?

It wasn’t until I was about 15 that I started sharing music with anyone that wasn’t in my family. It wasn’t that I couldn’t discuss these things with others – it’s that I chose not to, because I was pretty shy, at first. And it was kid situations, in general, or friend issues, that I was writing about back then.

And you also came out to your parents at 14? That’s pretty brave.
Well, I grew up in a really hippie family, and my parents were always extremely accepting of things like that. So it was never, ever a big thing in our house. And when I came out, it was never a big thing, either. It was all just pretty normal for me. As well as very lucky.

Where were you when they announced that Ireland had legalized gay marriage?
I was playing a festival in Germany when I heard the news. So I was pretty busy, and I was kind of sad that I wasn’t at home to celebrate. Because they really went for it with those celebrations. And history was made that day, as well. It was an incredible thing to happen, and it made me very proud of my country.

Is it difficult singing private thoughts to strangers?

Well, I just started playing shows, and that was it. I was just being honest in my songs, and you can’t fault honesty. And with anything I choose to share – even on the Internet – I do it because I feel comfortable doing that. So I don’t hold back.

IF YOU GO
SOAK
Where: Swedish American Hall, 2174 Market St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. July 8
Tickets: $15
Contact: (415) 431-7578, www.ticketfly.com

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