“You know when you’re younger and in math class and you feel unbelievably tired like you had no sleep the night before, and then the second you leave math class you suddenly have this renewed energy, and you’re so ready to go out and play?” says singer-songwriter Bijou Phillips. “Well when it comes to music, I feel like everything else is like being in math class and when I’m making music it’s like being at recess.”
It’s this simple yet profound passion for music combined with a youthful but wise spirit that pulses throughout Bijou Phillips’ debut album, I’d Rather Eat Glass. Deeply personal and revealing, Bijou’s music resonates with the vitality of youth. “A lot of this album is about a little girl who’s got fear, who’s broken in some ways and strong in some ways,” she says. “I really want my peers to know that I’m going through the same dramas that they’re going through – that I know what it’s like to have people constantly saying you don’t know what you’re doing, and that you’re wrong and they’re right just because they’re older.” But both young and old will relate to the universal quality of Bijou’s lyrics, as her precocious past infuses each track with the knowing perspective of an adult who’s no stranger to heartbreak.
The life of the 18-year-old daughter of John Phillips (The Mamas and the Papas), ex-supermodel, and former New York club kid has already been well documented-both in her father’s autobiography Papa John, and of course in the tabloids. At various times, Bijou has been described as “riotous,” “wild,” and “out of control” and while all of those descriptions may be partially true, there is a sensitive, serious side to Bijou. It’s that side of her that wrote and recorded I’d Rather Eat Glass.
Growing up with the creative energy of her father and listening to the sounds of Joni Mitchell, Rickie Lee Jones, and Phoebe Snow – among others, gave Bijou an early start discovering her passion for music. At 15 her father taught her 12 chords on a tiny guitar he had lying around the house. It is these 12 chords and the singer-songwriter – based pop of the above mentioned artists that inform the delicate, yet refined sounds of I’d Rather Eat Glass. This can best be heard by the way Bijou’s songs move from the angry, cathartic first single “When I Hated Him,” about her father to “Little Dipper,” the harmonic, heartfelt ode to her mother.
In fact, many of the songs on I’d Rather Eat Glass are a window into the relationships that have shaped Bijou’s life. She began writing music at 13 – when she penned “Breakfast”- but honed her skills at Miles Copeland’s semi-annual songwriting workshop. It was there that Bijou had the opportunity to meet and work with other songwriters including Howard Jones, Eric Bazillian, Jill Sobule, Jill Cunnif, and Belinda Carlisle. With producer Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads, Modern Lovers) Bijou recorded the album at The Plant in Sausalito, California, enlisting a collection of seasoned musicians (Prairie Prince, Bernie Worrell, Joe Gore) to help create a calm, focused environment. “What I want everyone to feel when they’re listening to the record is the freedom of being young and riding horses and swimming in the ocean and being calm and peaceful.”
Bijou’s modeling career has landed her on the covers of Interview and Italian Vogue and she recently acted in James Tobak’s (Two Girls & a Guy) upcoming film Black & White with Robert Downey Jr. and Brooke Shields, as well as Alison Ander’s (Grace of My Heart) upcoming film, tentatively titled Sugartown. But while recording this debut album, Bijou says she realized that music is her true path.