How to explain the naturally-engrained chemistry between singers-and-songwriters Brighid Fry and Pascale Padilla? Musically speaking, Moscow Apartment is as instinctive as they come. From their humble ukulele-and-guitar beginnings to indie pop flirtation, the Toronto-based folk-propelled pop sculptors’ charm and savvy has taken them so far in so little time.
In the two short years since its formation, their five-song, self-titled, Samantha Martin-produced debut EP has been featured extensively on CBC and NPR. With thoughtful, insightful and sometimes cryptic numbers touching on body image issues (“Annie,”) parent-daughter conflict (“Caroline”) and literary inspiration (“Francis & Isobel,”) there’s no mistaking just how wise beyond their years the duo behind Moscow Apartment truly are.
Since the EP’s release, the duo’s instantly memorable songs, gliding harmonies and enchantingly mature arrangements have made them the darlings of the Winterfolk, Winnipeg Folk and Guelph Hillside festivals; Young Performers of the Year at the 2017 Canadian Folk Music Awards and winners of the 2017 Stingray Music Rising Star Award.
It was in 2018, however, that their distinctively original sound garnered them their biggest victory yet: Slaight Music’s national ‘It’s Your Shot’ songwriting contest and the grand prize of a $100,000 Artist Development contract.
Not bad for a couple of women who are only 16 years of age (okay Pascale will probably be 17 by the time you read this) and still attend high school, albeit one dedicated to the performing arts.
Their secret? They’re besties, and this almost telepathic familiarity and trust it generates between the two plays a large role in their artistic output.
“I feel like it’s easy to be vulnerable when it’s just the two of us,” says Fry. “We can write lines for what the other person is going through because we’re that close.”
And that intimacy kept them, until recently, self-contained as colleagues when it came to producing original material.
“The way that we write songs is are very rooted in our experiences. It’s hard to meet a stranger and go, ‘here are all our sadnesses,’” Padilla admits. “I think a big part of our writing is therapy for each other.”
It’s only recently that they’ve allowed outsiders into their inner writing circles, a development that will reveal itself on the upcoming Moscow Apartment EP. Six-time Grammy winner Vance Powell (Chris Stapleton, Jack White) is one of several notable producers engaged in the project for Hidden Pony Records, set for release later this Spring.
“We’ve written with a bunch of different people so I think it’s going to have a very diverse sound to it, “adds Fry, who wrote her first song about a mean substitute teacher in Grade 1 and released her first EP Fox Hat at age 12.
The outside collaborators include three-time Grammy winner Chin Injeti (Eminem, Drake, P!nk, DJ Khalil), Shalom, Robyn Dell’Unto (TV series Wynona Earp, Kim’s Convenience), Liam Russell and Dave Thomson (Maren Morris, Lady Antebellum, Lights).
Throw in assorted influences varying from Big Thief and Joni Mitchell (listen to the stunning harmonies on “Be You”) to Kendrick Lamar and Broken Social Scene (the latter notably reflected on the ebullient, horn-embellished Moscow Apartment single “Orange’) and the future is wide open.
“We’re trying to go for a more developed sound and move away from folk,” notes Padilla, who honed her songwriting chops at Girls Rock Camp in Toronto and reconnected with Fry at her record release party, leading to the duo’s musical partnership.
And that’s another aspect of Moscow Apartment that makes them so refreshing: they fully embrace the fact that they’re teenagers and prone to ever-changing tastes.
This fresh, genuine perspective through the window of their adolescent world is unblinkingly candid, tinged with melancholy, and connects emotionally and intrinsically, which is probably why Moscow Apartment’s career has gone from zero-to-60 in the blink of an eye.
“A lot of times, music comes, at least for me, from feeling sad – which isn’t necessarily negative,” notes Padilla. “A lot of songs from me are about feeling like I don’t belong. But when people listen to them, they connect with it. That’s a very positive thing.”
Sometimes, it’s a little too revealing.
“It can be weird,” Fry admits. “You want to balance your songwriting with how much you want to be honest. I’m not an open person and I don’t like to talk about my life.”
Instead, Moscow Apartment prefers listeners to draw their own conclusions and will continue to make uncompromising music that speaks to the masses as Brighid Fry and Pascale Padilla follow their hearts.
Sometimes the best things in life just happen organically – and one of them is Moscow Apartment.
Moscow Apartment Mini-bio
Recent winners of Slaight Music’s national ‘It’s Your Shot’ songwriting contest and the grand prize of a $100,000 Artist Development contract, teenage Toronto folk-propelled duo Moscow Apartment is as instinctive as they come.
The naturally-engrained chemistry between singers-and-songwriters Brighid Fry and Pascale Padilla is evident on the five-song, self-titled EP that has earned them extensive airplay on CBC and NPR and also reflected in a performance style that has made them the darlings of the Winterfolk, Winnipeg Folk and Guelph Hillside festivals.
Currently recording an EP with six-time Grammy winner Vance Powell (Chris Stapleton, Jack White) and several other notable producers for Hidden Pony Records, Moscow Apartment’s fresh, genuine and candid perspective through the window of their adolescent world speaks to the masses as only they can. Organic music at its finest.
Performing together as Moscow Apartment, Brighid Fry and Pascale Padilla flip the student/teacher archetype on its head. Padilla and Fry are A+ pupils, schooled in the fine musical arts: luscious harmonies; clever songwriting; instinctive arrangements. Their bios’ extensive list of accomplishments would be impressive at any age, let alone for musicians who are both under 16 years old. With “Annie”, from Moscow Apartment’s forthcoming debut EP, the young duo teach their adult contemporaries how to tackle serious lyrical issues with subtlety and tact for maximum impact. -Jim Di Gioia, Dominionated
In September of 2017, the duo released a Samantha Martin-produced, self-titled, five-song EP that has garnered them nationwide attention, as original songs like “Francis and Isobel,” “Annie” and “The Things You Do” reveal an innate maturity, and a sweetly beguiling vocal balance that sounds simultaneously demure and bold.
-Nick Krewen, Words & Music (SOCAN Magazine)
Moscow Apartment are artists waiting to be discovered, and quite frankly they are a band to watch out for in the coming years. Given their young ages, they do have a long career ahead of them and many new sounds and songs to discover. This is a very welcoming apartment waiting for others to dig their sound.
-Aaron Badggley, Spill Magazine
Teenage indie folk duo Moscow Apartment may have only been around for a year, but they've already accomplished more than many of their older contemporaries have in a fraction of the time. -This Broken Mixtape
They’re young, exuberant, and anything but steeped in the ways of the entertainment industry, yet Brighid Fry and Pascale Padilla are already trenchant musical observers of both the exterior and interior worlds. (They have been) carving out a distinctive indie rock niche that blends folk, pop, punk and more with enticing individual vocal forays and delicious harmonies. Their songs often start simply and then build both instrumentally and vocally. -Pat Langston, Penguin Eggs
Watch this video. (Annie) Now, let it sink in for a moment that Brighid Fry and Pascale Padilla are just 14 and 15-years-old. This track is remarkably well realized and produced for performers of that age, and their voices blend together seamlessly. -Adam Carter, CBC News
It’s been quite the first year for Toronto duo Moscow Apartment. Brighid Fry and Pascale Padilla, who both attended Girls Rock Camp Toronto at different times, have already launched a debut EP (produced by their mentor Samantha Martin), played the folk festival circuit and picked up a Toronto Independent Music Award for best young songwriters and a Canadian Folk Music Award for young performer of the year. Citing Joni Mitchell, Big Thief and Nirvana as influences, Fry and Padilla sing about stuff that matters to them – Annie, for example, is about “twisted body images.” -Sarah Greene, NOW Magazine
Just half a minute in on the first track ‘Caroline’ and the musicality of the band is fully evident. The second track, ‘Francis and Isobel’ is an acoustic guitar backed treasure of song writing and vocal skills, enhanced with a few bars of beautifully phrased trumpet, and it’s very evident that the local Toronto musicians chosen to work with Moscow Apartment to create this EP are proof of the amazing amount of musical talent that exists in every city. This track and the EP as a whole are superb examples of that strong musical creativity. If any listener was beginning to settle back into an expectant complacency, the third track ‘Annie’ will blow them out of their seat. Beginning gently, the song suddenly erupts into a full on rock workout for the girls on bass and electric guitars with drummer. Turn the volume right up for this one and let the neighbours enjoy it as well! But next ‘The Things You Do’ starts incredibly beautifully with simple strummed guitar and vocals of such a high clarity, they seem to have wafted down from above the clouds. Quite stunning. -Philip Bridle, Blues and Roots Radio
These Toronto teens (14 and 15) have enough feisty energy to take down any choreographed boy band in a parking lot. Now, that is a fist fight I would like to see. Maybe for the next music video…. hint. They already have a strong message and a tough message. I dig it. -YabYumWest
Annie is a track about body image, the way the media twist the minds of people, particularly young women, and often leave them struggling to meet unrealistic ideals. Musically, the intro builds around muted guitar strums and stunning harmonies, before exploding into a lo-fi brand of energetic grunge-thrashing. Recalling the likes of Girlpool or Waxahatchee, Moscow Apartment possess a lyrical depth far beyond their limited years: for this talented pair there’s no limit to where their music could take them. -For The Rabbits
It's as jangly and sweet-sounding as it is empowering. -Exclaim Magazine
evident in the single (one of a few to come before a sophomore album in early 2019). Brighid Fry and Pascale Padilla’s songwriting stays at the core of rich arrangements. They share the perspective of two women in the midst of adolescence, whose wisdom and humor has netted them accolades and the support of an array of musicians. -Great Dark Wonder
We love the bands writing style, the angelic vocal tone and the production is designed to lift your spirit up and ultimately, makes you feel great when you’re listening along. -Keep Walking Music
Moscow Apartment, a powerhouse feminist folk/rock group, is childhood friends Brighid Fry and Pascale Padilla. The teenage duo has been riding an impressive momentum of success ever since, racking up even more recognition and awards this year. reminiscent of 90s folk/rock, opens with a laid-back blend of guitars, drums, and bass. Together they weave a slow, dreamy melody that breaks out into something a bit more upbeat for emphasis on the choruses. From the opening vocal to the last resounding verse, there is an underlying intense conviction with every word Fry and Padilla sing. They drive home their powerful lyrics that are like an internal dialog of what your instincts are telling you about someone. Moscow Apartment has a definite winner with “Be You” and as a preview of their new music, makes it well worth the wait for the release of their LP next year. This talented duo should definitely be on your Artists To Watch list.
-Indie Music Women (Blog)
has a vibrancy and honesty that you know has divined from a youthful eye, a keen ear and most of all a talent for saying it all without filter. There is little doubt that a First Aid Kit like grip on the music world is inevitable. Absolutely stellar stuff
Moscow Apartment graduate to next-level songwriting acumen and musicality. “Be You” is a textbook-perfect* combination of pop charms and street smarts.
-Jim Di Gioia, Dominionated
Moscow Apartment are artists waiting to be discovered, and quite frankly they are a band to watch out for in the coming years. Given their young ages, they do have a long career ahead of them and many new sounds and songs to discover. This is a very welcoming apartment waiting for others to dig their sound. -Aaron Badgley, Spill Magazine
NNNN rating, Best of the Fest, CMW Their harmony-rich songs tackled topics like unrealistic beauty standards, people who believe in ghosts and periods – plus covers of Big Thief and Radiator Hospital – with the unjaded wisdom of youth. -Richard Trapunski, NOW Magazine
It’s a little slice of wisdom that comes to us from teen songwriting duo, Moscow Apartment, who recently performed at the CBC Music Festival. The indie-rock number “Be You” finds Brighid Fry and Pascale Padilla empowering listeners, advising them to just, as the title states, be yourself — an act that one should never have to feel conflicted or confused about. -Melody Lau, CBC Music
Despite both members being still in high school, they are frankly blowing up, playing major festivals and venues all over the city that they could not legally attend otherwise. On stage the band is calm and confident, not showy but completely compelling. That naturalism shines through in their songs and reflects the ease of performing on stage with a best friend. -Hallie Switzer, WIMATO (Women in Music & Art)
"They may be a new band, but Moscow Apartment already know exactly what they want to say and how they want to say it. Their honest and unapologetic lyrics, combined with gorgeous harmonies, compel you to listen on repeat. Combine all that with their heartfelt live performances, and Moscow Apartment are easily one of my new faves. I can't wait to hear what they do next!" -Amy Cole, Rural Alberta Advantage
Pretty Exciting to see a band just get better and better and better. Amazing new song by Moscow Apartment. -Stars
It's not a universal rule, but most musicians are pretty terrible in their early-to-mid teens. They aren't terribly proficient players, and the life experience just isn't there to write songs with any authority. Then there are groups that completely buck that trend — and Moscow Apartment is one of them. This 15 and 16-year-old duo has already won several awards, performed at high profile festivals, and is getting airplay on U.S. radio. They're good. Really good. –Adam Carter, CBC
If this doesn’t get you out of your lazy couch and on your dancing feet than nothing will. This harmonious teenage duo’s new single is a swinging corker combining a variety of old and new sounds. ‘Orange‘ sizzles like a sparkling melting pot of fancy folk, perky pop and jiving jazz with all the right ingredients to lighten up any fiesta. Oh yes, its catchy tune, its lively horns, its irresistible rhythm, its colorful production and last but not least the joyful vocals, all come together perfectly and will have an impact on your limbs and your senses. –Turn Up the Volume Music Blog
The duo's latest track is absolutely beautiful. –It’s All Indie
Complimenting harmonies and jazzed up brass sections amp up their glimmering sound. –The Scientists of Sound
“Orange,” a sonic dissection of the peculiarities surrounding sunset, is vibrant indie-folk marked by sharp song structuring, clever instrumentation, and an engaging vocal sense; their dulcet harmonies matched up against a spirited horn section is just one of the many delights strewn throughout the piece. An easy favorite is easy to say. –Digital High
A fun-loving and energetic indie-pop delight. –Mystic Songs
The vocals shimmer on this track and the single provides us with a drop of indie folk as well as an upbeat pop vibe that will definitely get you moving. –The Revue
driven by soft harmonies and explosive refrains. –Indie 88, 9 New Indie Songs you Need to Discover This Week.
'Orange' is a superbly arranged song, where musical hooks (and there are a ton of those) compete with the gorgeous vocals and harmonies. It's my introduction to Moscow Apartment, and I am totally impressed by this piece, it's vibrant (and) catchy. -Beehive Candy
Orange is a fresh, upbeat pop song that immediately grabs you and makes you want to sing along. This song is just irresistable. -Glamglare.com
Moscow Apartment wowed the audience next by producing some of the most witty, interesting and well-thought-out songs that I have ever heard come out of a 15- and 16-year-old. With only two electric guitars and their voices, the duo created a diverse sound which, at times, reminded me of the grunge-surf style of Courtney Barnett. -Alex Boyd, The East Mag
Sometimes you hear buzz about bands and think people are just piling on the bandwagon of the moment. But holy frig, everyone is right about Moscow Apartment. -Halifax is Burning
Opulent, golden trumpets and a youthful yet angsty magnetism spellbind us on their song. Honeyed yet peppy, dreamy sweet yet sinewy tough. -I Heart Moosiq
Making music in the same vein of bands like First Aid Kit, the duo is made up of multi-instrumentalists Brighid Fry and Pascale Padilla who are ridiculously talented at just 15 and 16 years old. -Cool Music Things
These ladies continue to pile up the critical accolades in their burgeoning careers. They have caught the ear of July Talk’s Leah Fay, and were one of the must-see acts at this year’s Halifax Pop Explosion. The band has recently released the studio version of their tune “Orange”, and it’s a sweet slice of folk pop, which reminds me of the early days of Tegan and Sara with a few more horns and production. This track is infectious and will keep you coming back after that initial listen. -Halifax Bloggers
Orange is the kind of sunny, guitar pop I need on these depressing, grey November days. -Errol Nazareth, CBC
-lovely, complementary voices and enviable songwriting skills. -Chaka Grier, NOW Magazine