Lindsay Bruce ’10 penned her first song when she was 7 years old. She loved writing, but for years she was too shy to sing for anyone else. That changed her sophomore year at Santa Clara, at an open mic night in the basement of Graham Hall, when she performed “August 15th,” one of her own tunes. “That was the first time I had played my song for anyone,” she says. “It was, to me, the scariest thing in the world.”
One of the students in the audience came up to her and said, “I got chills during the end of your song.” Maybe she was just being kind. But Bruce felt like she’d just “won a Grammy.”
That hasn’t happened yet. But millions of viewers did see and hear Bruce this spring as a contestant on NBC’s The Voice. That came after several years of work as a singer-songwriter in Nashville, playing in nearly empty bars, coffeehouses, and the occasional barbecue joint.
Since being on the show (she was eliminated in March), she’s been busy, splitting her time between Nashville and Northern California, where her band is based—and where her musical family is. Her grandmother plays “banjo, violin … just about everything with strings,” and her mom, Katherine Bruce ’76, was in a band in college then later organized the children’s music for their church when Lindsay was growing up.
In October, Lindsay Bruce released her first full-length record, Drive of My Life. Her sound has been described as “Taylor Swift, but with twang”—a comparison not only related to her sweet, melodic vocals and acoustic guitar but also to the semi-autobiographical nature of her songs.
This past summer, a song she wrote about the San Francisco Giants drew the attention of the team and MLB.com, which filmed an artist feature with her in July. It’s a playful take on the Giants-Dodgers rivalry, inspired by her time in Los Angeles and a boy she met there “wearing white and blue.” Her dad’s never really been one for offering advice, she sings, but there’s one thing she’s understood: “Don’t bring home a Dodgers fan.”