By Arielle Dollinger
As she described the scene, Jessie Bridges was sitting in her living room with her “crazy dog,” Banjo, when she picked up the phone for this interview.
The singer/songwriter will take the Paramount stage on Aug. 29 – one stop on tour with her father, actor and musician Jeff Bridges.
“I grew up loving music, and feeling really connected to it, and my dad taught me how to play when I was a teenager,” said the 31-year-old. “It had always been something that brought me a lot of joy and that I was extremely passionate about.”
Though she began to play the guitar in her early teens, Bridges only recently began performing professionally.
“I had this fear that kind of took over, that led me to believe if I pursued the thing that I was most passionate about, it would then take the fun out of it, or it would take the joy away,” she said. “And so, for a really long time, I tried a million other things.”
She has a culinary degree and has cooked in kitchens, she has worked at radio stations and as her father’s assistant on films.
“When it came down to it, I realized that I didn’t want to not do music just because I was afraid of not enjoying it anymore,” she said.
Though she was hesitant to classify her music, for fear of being stifled by a category name, she would say that her singer/songwriter works have a “folky, Americana vibe.”
Her songwriting process is on the less-structured side, she said.
“I usually kind of wait for inspiration,” she said. “There are obviously inspirational things happening all the time, but when a song comes out of me, it feels like I’m not responsible... The music and the lyrics tend to come at the same time.”
Bridges’ father asked her to join his tour, and the two will take the stage separately for the Paramount show next week.
“I’m not going to be playing with him,” she said. “But… I don’t want to give too much away, so I will say there’s a possibility that I’ll be joining him on stage at some point.”
She will play acoustic guitar at her show, accompanied by a musician who will be on electric guitar and pedal steel guitar.
“It’s so much fun being a part of the whole tour in general, just having the opportunity to hang with my dad and to collaborate,” she said. “When we are able to be on stage together, it’s just really fun to know that I’m up there with my dad and he has me up there, and we love each other so much so it’s just such a cool thing.”
While her father is an actor, known for films like “The Big Lebowski” and “Iron Man” and soon to star in “The Giver,” Jessie Bridges has not pursued the film industry.
“I have flirted with the idea, I’ve gone on a few auditions,” she said. “But it’s never been something that I’ve felt really drawn to… I think that growing up with a famous dad gives you a little bit of a different perspective, where I really value my privacy and being able to kind of live my life outside of the public eye.”
Fame has been “almost a deterrent,” when it comes to “the industry,” she said.
When she is not writing or playing music, Bridges spends time with her roommate, Banjo the Taiwanese Mountain Dog-Shepard mix, and being active.
“I’m always outdoors, hiking or camping or kind of doing anything I can outside,” she said.
Recently, she has also become “obsessed with Zumba.” She spent her birthday on a Zumba retreat in Mexico.
Bridges is with her father on tour from the Ryman in Nashville to a September show in Boston, at which point they will separate and he will go on to do a “couple” of other shows.
After graduating Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles in 2006, with a degree in communications studies, Bridges moved to San Francisco. The California native, who currently lives in Oakland, has never been to Huntington, she said.
“I don’t think I’ve ever even been to Long Island,” said Bridges, who has spent little time on the East Coast. “It feels so far away.”
In the weeks leading up to the “Jeff Bridges & The Abiders” show, Jessie Bridges will release two new singles for online purchase.
“I’ve been working with all local Bay area musicians, and since the music industry has been changing so much and people don’t really buy whole albums, I’ve decided to release singles instead,” she said.
In the long-term ambitions category, there is Bridges’ fantasy: opening a café in which she would cook all of her favorite small-plate dishes and feature live musical performances seven days a week.