Housewife opens for Paolo Nutini, speaks on sustainability

By Vivian Richey, Staff Reporter

Brighid Fry, whose stage name is Housewife, started their music career six years ago in the folk scene in their hometown of Toronto.

Housewife, a self-proclaimed “opinionated feminist indie band,” originally began as a duo. But now, Fry writes and sings their own songs alongside a rotation of instrumental musicians.

In 2020, Housewife sealed their first record deal after winning Slaight Music’s national It’s Your Shot’ songwriting contest for the song “Halfway,” from their extended play album, “Better Daughter.”

Flash forward three years, Fry performed alongside Paolo Nutini at the Chicago Riviera Theater at 4746 N. Racine Ave on March 14, for her second North American tour.

Alice Gillibrand who traveled from Saint Louis for the show, has been listening to Nutini since she was five.

“I didn’t listen to Housewife, but they were stellar. I’m super glad that I discovered them,” Gillibrand said.

Fry said her second tour has been a completely new experience, as her previous tour was spent in her mom’s friend’s car.

“It’s been really inspiring seeing him go on every night and put on a great show, Fry said. “Just doing this reaffirms how much I love it, it’s a lot of work but it’s been so fun and Paolo has been extremely welcoming.”

For Kaitlan Ware, this is her second time seeing Housewife in concert.

“Housewife was a great appetizer to Paolo,” said Ware, who has traveled from Grand Rapids, Michigan to see Nutini in Toronto and Montreal prior to the Chicago show. “This set in particular confirmed I was going to look them up and give ‘em a more in-depth listen.”

Ware was impressed with the bands energy and crowd interactions as well as their improvement from the Toronto show.

Fry has been recognized alongside other Canadian music icons like Drake and Neil Young but said she tries to not think about it “to avoid added pressure.”

Fry said her main focus is to keep working and continue making music she is proud of.

“Don’t be afraid to f–k up,” Fry said. “If I only played stuff when I felt really good about it I would never play, just power through it.”

Fry’s most recent single, “F–k Around Phase,” shifts from Housewife’s mostly folk discography and delves more into indie-rock with its bassline and edgy lyrics, something Fry has wanted to do for a long time.

“I’ve always loved rock, I think I just didn’t have the confidence to lean into that side of music and I’ve been working on unlocking that confidence so I felt like I was finally able to do a song that was a little heavier and grungier,” Fry said.

In addition to songwriting and performing, Fry is also known for being an advocate for the environment and pushing for sustainability in the music industry.

“It’s tricky because tour is so expensive, so for up and coming artists it’s hard to not lose a bunch of money while being sustainable,” Fry said.

In 2021, Fry performed at a climate strike in Toronto, followed by the launch of the Canadian branch of Music Declares Emergency, a movement initiated by Fry and several other Canadian artists.

One of their key objectives is to move the music industry towards net zero emissions.

Fry said she also only purchases sustainably made merchandise from biodegradable materials, like 100% cotton and water-based ink, packing light and traveling in a hybrid car when possible.

Fry said a large source of show emissions comes from audience travel and suggests that we should make more of a culture of carpooling and public transportation.

“While it’s all individual, it’s also lobbying the government to invest in public transit and bike lanes, there’s so many ways to approach sustainability,” Fry said.