Aug 07, 2020
Brighten members Justin Richards, Jimmy Richards and Alex Draper. Photo via Alternative Press Magazine.

“Brightening” up the indie-pop scene

Brighten is an indie-pop band from Chico, California that consists of guitarist and lead vocalist Justin Richards, drummer Jimmy Richards and bassist Alex Draper.


Being a band for 13 years means Brighten’s history is a long one and can be overwhelming to sift through for any new fan.


Here are the basics:

  • Five EPs (extended plays) between 2005 and 2011.
  • Three full-length albums released between 2007 and 2017.
  • The band is currently represented by 8123 records, home to rock band The Maine.
  • Singer Justin Richards also plays guitar for country duo Dan + Shay.
  • The band is no stranger to hiatuses.


In January 2017, Brighten performed together at 8123 Fest in Phoenix, Arizona for the first time since each member’s pursuit of independent projects. One month later, the band released new music for the first time in four years.


Brighten released its self-titled album on March 3, 2017, on 8123, marking the band’s third album.


Brighten has 10 tracks that are full of heartfelt and thoughtful lyrics, which are matched with the signature pop sound for which Brighten has become known.


Though the album does sound like quintessential Brighten, it has a sense of maturity to it, and there is a country influence throughout much of the album which can most likely be attributed to Richards’ time touring with Dan + Shay.


The first single from the album was “You Love Him” and is as depressing as the title suggests with the opening lyrics: “What do I do when I’m all messed up ‘cause I see his car in your driveway, thinking I’m not good enough.”


With the help of 8123, Brighten began slowly re-releasing its entire catalog of music in November 2016, making previous albums and EPs available to stream across digital platforms for the first time ever. The band currently has an average of 20,700 monthly listeners on Spotify.
You can find Brighten on Twitter at @wearebrighten.

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