A tropical breeze is wafting in from Chico, California, gently blowing away fear and pain, and easing in a sweetly reflective time of emotional candor, empowerment, and healing. Coming through the air is the lilting island-pop of Brittany and the Blisstones, a duo who specialize in elegantly adorned, heart-crafted songs.
Brittany Bliss and Reid Givens started the band after meeting at an open mic, and their journey is a touching story of reinvention, reclamation, and second chances on love. In addition to warming hearts, the couple are opening minds to female artists and helping shift the narrative of women in creative fields through support and exposure.
“The pain that comes with living is inevitable, and it can breed fear that may stop us from daring to dream. Our songs are about finding the courage to face these fears, and being vulnerable and evolving,” shares Brittany. Reid adds: “These songs are born from our collective experience. There are uplifting vibes here, and when the songs are sad, they are there for solace.”
Brittany and Reid write songs that sweetly seduce you into mindfulness. The mellow tones of their distinct island-pop draw from an expansive artistic palette of pop, orchestral, rock, jazz, reggae, ska, Latin, new wave, and beyond. Brittany contributes sultry vocals, jaunty ukulele playing, and co-writes the songs alongside her partner Reid, an accomplished drummer and percussionist with an expansive command of rhythms and a keen sense for the healing power of good grooves.
Since forming in 2018, Brittany and The Blisstones have managed to earn an engaged fanbase through organic online exposure and their warmly intimate live shows. The duo has performed in various musical settings around the local Chico area and beyond, including playing venues in Berkeley and Oakland. The couple’s robust profile has enabled them to fund their EP through a successful crowdfunding campaign—a rare feat for an artist without previous releases.
The story of Brittany and Reid is as exhilarating as the music they make. Brittany is a lifelong closet performer. She has been singing since she was 3, she dabbled with choir in high school, and performed with the Oakland Symphony Chorus as an adult. But she never invested in her natural gifts, burying her desires beneath domestic responsibilities in her previous marriage.
Reid has a similar story of setting aside something that was essential to his soul for home life. He had been playing drums since he was 9, and Reid was a promising musician with expansive abilities. During his time as an active musician, Reid played punk, adult contemporary, pop, metal, and prog rock. He even once opened for the Dave Matthews Band. But at just 18 he got married, and soon was raising a son with another on the way, and taking care of his ailing mother in law. These responsibilities took over his life, cutting a promising career as a drummer short.
“I think we both lost ourselves in our previous marriages, and rediscovering music was a way for both of us to heal and move past the pain,” Brittany shares. “When I dropped my youngest son off at college, I vowed to make music a priority again,” Reid says.
Newly divorced and making baby steps to reinvent their lives, Brittany and Reid first met at an open mic in Chico, CA in 2017. The fateful moment Brittany met Reid he was a fixture at the open mic, and Brittany was braving making her solo artist debut. Her performance that night captivated Reid. “You could tell she was very nervous,” he recalls. “But when she started to play, it was like she was channeling something that just hits you in a very vulnerable place.” The two spoke briefly that night, but felt an instant connection. Two weeks later, they saw each other again but this time they talked for longer, and the couple have been inseparable ever since.
Brittany became more galvanized to play music after the devastating November 2018 California wildfires that burned 153,336 acres, destroyed 18,804 structures, and claimed 85 lives in just 4 hours. At the time, she was doing a 30-day uke challenge of posting a song a day. Someone affected by the fires reached out to her to tell Brittany her music gave her hope.
At the time, Reid had become Brittany’s rhythmic accomplice, accompanying her with his vast and deft rhythmic sensibilities. This call to action spurred Brittany onto booking shows, and nurturing her original music ideas. Organically, her solo project became a duo project with a fluid rotating cast of A-list musicians, some from their friendship circle, the local community, and beyond, including the international musicians who recorded on the EP.
Despite being flush with love and the joy of rediscovering music, Brittany and Reid found they had trouble turning their seedling ideas into songs. Wisely, they enrolled in a few online classes—including classes hosted by Ryan Tedder and Alicia Keys—and through diligence, and their innate talents were able to break down writer’s block and bask in the open floodgates of creativity which spawned, La La Love.
The five-song EP bursts open with “Mermaid,” the first song Brittany ever wrote. It is a song about reconnecting with nature, but it also seems to be about reconnecting with Brittany’s own human nature. The lyrics brim with breathtaking imagery and awe-inspiring reflective moments. She sings: By the sea/A mermaid rewrote the pages of all my dreams, so I found fear and faith in the waves. The music is as majestic as its impressionistic lyrical passages. The song lilts on a vaguely Jamaican pulse and brims with jeweled trumpet melodies, vocals that are sultry and sensitive, lush layers of harmony vocals, and moody chord changes that have a sweet sadness.
The song “Some Times” wields a hypnotic chord sequence and a crisp beat, and exudes a slow-burn emotionality. “This is a song of mindfulness,” reveals Reid. “We can’t control what thoughts pop up in our mind, but we have a choice to focus on the good stuff.” The song’s anthemic outro is a rallying call to choose happiness. It concludes with the lyrics: Let’s all keep singing/We’re surviving the flood/We’re all still singing/Cuz we’ve got air in our lungs.
The title track is a jazzy dose of sun-kissed pop featuring summery horn fanfare. The song’s unflinchingly positive vibes nicely mirror its lyrics. “The song is about how love is our natural state, not something outside of us that we have to constantly be searching for,” Brittany says. She continues: “The love expressed here is not romantic love, it’s about finding love in simple moments in life.”
One of the biggest lessons of Brittany and The Blisstones is it’s never too late. It’s never too late to pick up an instrument. “Brittany just had her first piano recital since the second grade,” Reid marvels. And it’s never too late for love. Brittany says: “We got another chance at love, and rediscovering who we really are as people. It’s been such a beautiful restart.”