Indie-pop music has been an Athens staple among its many local bands, but one artist in particular has created her own twist on the genre. Bea Porges has been slowly building a reputation around the city since her transfer from Belmont to the University of Georgia.
As women who dedicate themselves to a good tequila drink, we walked into a nearly empty Normal Bar and each ordered Chupacabra while chatting it up.
Porges exudes an effortless cool girl energy with resilience and passion. Not only is she a Capricorn with an affinity for crying to sad songs in her car, but she also has had quite the journey writing and playing her own songs.
“I’ve always just been really connected to music even when I was little,” said Porges. “Sad songs would play in the car on the radio and I would start crying.”
Her path in music can be traced all the way back to age seven or eight when she went to a friend’s house. This friend pulled out a guitar and proceeded to teach her four chords. It was these four chords that jump-started her career. As soon as she went home, she asked her mom if she could play that old guitar that had been collecting dust in the basement.
From that moment on, Porges dedicated herself to music, teaching herself everything she currently knows from YouTube videos and raw experimentation.
“I’ve been songwriting for over a decade now,” said Porges. “Little angsty love songs about my little sixth-grade boyfriend.”
After playing guitar, she tried her hand at drums when she joined the band in elementary school. This evolved into a love of musical theater in high school, a perfect mixture of all of her creative talents.
Porges decided to attend Belmont in Nashville, where she hoped to really make something out of her accumulated abilities. Here, she realized the Nashville scene was over-saturated with cliquey musicians who all pursued the same sound. This realization was paired with an end to a nasty relationship. The result took much of the joy out of writing and creating music.
Much like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill 2, Porges fled to the mysterious land of Montana during the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic to reflect and write. Getting back to her roots, she wrote her now first song on the EP, “Bliss”.
“I can’t remember anything I was particularly thinking at the time and then a few months down the line I looked back at my life and was like ‘Oh this really fits this situation in my life,’” said Porges.
The song explores the nature of her breakup and centering herself after what all creatives experience: an existential crisis. This was the beginning of her debut EP, Space & Time. One day, right as the vaccines for COVID-19 were being rolled out in May of 2021, an Atlanta-based band, Calico, asked Porges to open for them in her first public debut at one of their Atlanta shows. This was her push to really delve into her music career and find her sound.
Porges transferred to UGA where she began performing live shows. Before she knew it, Porges was in the studio recording her original songs with Calico at Racket Records. Her song, “All Day Long” came out as a single in March 2023 and the full EP came out later this year.
“It’s like songs kind of come to me wherever, whenever and however,” said Porges. “I never write a song the same way twice.”
What makes her songs so personable is the life experiences she has been through. Every experience is a lesson, whether it be negative or positive and that is what gives her music its soul. The resulting soft indie-pop and jazz-fueled sound have been inspired by Faye Webster, Madison Cunningham, and Phoebe Bridgers.
“I write songs that maybe aren’t as jazzy that lean more indie pop but I think my voice lends itself to being a more low-fi, jazzy feel,” said Porges. “Even if I’m not making this jazzy indie music, I don’t think that that quality will ever escape my music; I think it will always stick with me.”
Since she has cemented herself into the Athens music scene, Porges has surrounded herself with some of the few women who also have made names for themselves such as Hotel Fiction and Sam Smith of Recess Party. In a city filled with mostly male musicians, the talent of these women in music cannot be overstated or overlooked. Porges emphasized how important it has been for women to support each other in this realm, far from the cliques of Belmont.
As far as her up-and-coming career, Athens can only expect her unique, witty, and dare I say, charming sound to spread in the coming years and even months. One thing is for sure, there is no end in sight for Bea Porges.
“I haven’t gotten everything I could get out of [Athens],” said Porges. “There’s still more here for me I think.”
Analiese Herrin is a multi-platform artist whose passion is art and sharing art, in whatever medium it may take. She is both a culture journalist and aspiring PR specialist with the hopes of sharing her passion for music, fashion, visual art and more. Analiese is also a University of Georgia Journalism undergraduate student pursuing an MA in Public Relations. Besides writing for Vinyl Magazine, she also writes for Athens' Flagpole Magazine, is a model and she works as a stylist in fashion.