Beach Bunny is Building an Indie-Rock Career Whilst in the Pandemic
By: Grace Liu
One morning in August 2021, Lili Trifilio, a songwriter was feeling emotional. “I’m honestly so nervous,” the singer-songwriter, then 24, admitted, her voice rising as she shook her head. It was the day before her sold-out indie-rock concert at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Beach Bunny’s recent success was a shock for Trifilio because most of it happened during the pandemic.
“Onstage Trifilio, she’s known for her bubbly, earnest positivity; at a recent Beach Bunny show, she gave an enthused recommendation for a local vegan restaurant, urged the audience to get their Covid-19 booster shots and led the entire crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to a fan. On albums she’s known for the emotional lucidity of her songwriting, which seems to trap fleeting feelings in shimmery amber.”
Lili Trifilio was raised in Chicago and started taking guitar lessons in fifth grade, but she didn’t focus enough and quit after a few years. However, that is where she built her musical foundation.
When she was in her teens, she started learning cover songs, and when she was 18, she decided to write her own song named “6 Weeks,” which she recorded on her computer with just a guitar.
She presented it to one of her friends as casually as possible: “I was like, I made this song, and I’m so embarrassed. Can you listen? I think I’m going to delete it.” Trifilio’s pal gave her a much needed confidence boost — and an ultimatum. “She was like, ‘I’m going to stop being your friend if you don’t put this out,’” Trifilio recalled. “I was like, whoa, OK. Stakes are high.”
For the next few years, she studied journalism and wrote more songs and uploaded them to a fan base.
Most of Beach Bunny’s popularity came from the song “Cloud 9” which is a bouncy, and guitar-driven love song from the band’s February 2020 album, “Honeymoon,” which became a viral Tik Tok sensation in March 2021.
Trifilio used to feel insecure about her songs, and she was very nervous. But over the past few years, she has gotten a lot more confident. “The bold and self-assured sound of “Emotional Creature” shows how far she’s come.
Sean O’Keefe, who produced the album, called her “one of the best songwriters I’ve ever gotten to work with, and I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a lot of really great songwriters.”
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