HOMETOWN: Chicago, Ill.
INFLUENCES: Junior Kimbrough, the National, Patti Smith
ALBUM: Virginia Et Al. EP, out now
WEBSITE: thebrightsmoke.bandcamp.com

A former classical ballet dancer, the Bright Smoke (née Mia Wilson) abandoned her career plans following a serious injury in training.  So she shifted her interest to music, and credits her parents with encouraging her to explore artistic avenues beyond the barre. “Growing up, music and art were a normal part of the fabric of our home,” she says. “As a child I thought it was a mark of adulthood—you grow up, get a job, pay your bills, and make art.” Adamant about pursuing a creative line of work, she found the push she needed in a concert setting. “I had a bit of an epiphany,” she says. “I went home and locked myself in my room for the entire summer and taught myself guitar.” In 2008, she began performing around New York City with punk-rock band the French Exit before going solo. Based in Brooklyn, the Bright Smoke is currently touring the U.S. in support of her recently released six-song EP, Virginia Et Al.

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