The vibrant performer and leader of the Dacia Bridges Project was found in her room in Traverse City, where she was volunteering for the Traverse City Film Festival.
Dacia Bridges was unlike any other Michigan artist.
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The dynamic singer and guitarist started as a break-dancer, became a chart-topping European pop star and lead vocalist for a German nu-metal act before returning to the United States a few years ago to front the all-female Kalamazoo super-group, the Dacia Bridges Project.
As she put it herself: “Stereotypes don’t work when it comes to me.”
The one-of-a-kind performer passed away unexpectedly Thursday in Traverse City, where she had played the Traverse City Film Festival’s opening night party with bandmate and drummer Carolyn Koebel on Tuesday.
Details weren’t immediately disclosed, but the Traverse City Police Department is investigating the death of Bridges, who was found in the room where she was staying during the festival in the northern Michigan city.
Initial unconfirmed reports indicated the 45-year-old singer may have suffered a fatal heart attack; later unconfirmed reports suggested it was a brain aneurysm.
Koebel said Bridges had been volunteering at the film festival and apparently was found after she missed a scheduled event.
The effervescent and upbeat performer, who was rebuilding her career after moving back to the United States, impacted almost everyone she met. As Koebel put it, she had “a field of dreams” and ventures to pursue.
“She was an amazing artist and had an incredible career to date, and we were just looking forward to launching the next chapter and finishing our album. We are in utter disbelief and heartache,” Koebel said.
“She was so ‘Pro’ – full of fire and delivery. She could put on a show on the level of Grace Jones. She was as good as anyone out there doing it.”
Surviving Bridges, who was divorced, is a young daughter, Billie Sky.
A native of Oscoda, Mich., Bridges ended up in Germany because her father was in the military and was stationed there. The singer spent 25 years overseas, establishing herself as a true stage star.
She said she moved stateside for family reasons, and after a brief stint in Nashville, returned to her native Michigan. She later teamed up with well-known musicians Cori Somers (Red Sea Pedestrians), Koebel (An Dro) and Sarah Fuerst (Corn Fed Girls, Thunderbolt & Lightfoot), to form The Dacia Bridges Project.
In a 2018 interview with Local Spins, Bridges said the band represented her “whole journey” musically, “from dance music to singer-songwriter, a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll, a little bit of edge, folky, it’s all in there. It’s emotional.”
Somers said she was in “complete shock” after learning the news. “Dacia was a sister to me,” she said.
Friends and fellow musicians were posting tributes to Bridges on Facebook Friday, including Dan Lauterbur who wrote: “She was devoted to her daughter and family, passionate about her music, working hard on various projects and all the while a bright light for all around her. We had developed a meaningful connection, and I will miss our talks, our hugs, her laughter.”
At mid-day Friday, the Traverse City Police Department had not released details about Bridges’ death, and services were pending.
Read more about Bridges and watch videos of her performances here: ‘Unpredictable Child’: Dacia Bridges’ journey from German mega-star to rising Michigan act
DACIA BRIDGES: A PHOTO TRIBUTE
Photos by Derek Ketchum, Anthony Norkus