During the pandemic, Mena, 28, ended a three-year long relationship. Over the course of the past year, Mena has learned to find solace in her own company, taken up hobbies and chosen to put effort toward platonic friends.
“This has been the best year of my life,” Mena says. “I didn't know how to be single. I didn't know how to be alone. And I also realize I lost a lot of connections with my friends. When you get involved in a long-term relationship, you do spend a majority of your time with that person. I made a promise to myself after that. I can't go down that road again. I need to make time for myself, make time for my friends and really focus on me.”
On her last album, Element, which was released last summer, Mena sings over guitar and drum-driven instrumentals about love, life and loss. “Unfinished Business” is a folksy/alt-rock song about dreams she had about her father, who passed away years ago. “Captain & Crook” is a Peter Pan-inspired song on which she vows to always protect her younger sister. “Maniac” is inspired by the Netflix limited series Maniac, starring Jonah Hill and Emma Stone.
When writing Element, Mena felt frustrated, she said, by a lack of inspiration for songwriting. She challenged herself to look for inspiration out of her normal elements.
“I need to be in an emotional state to write something,” Mena says. “For Element, I wanted to look outside of that lens.”
She took a similar approach when writing “Honeybee,” her latest single, released last month. On “Honeybee,” she dives back into the dating game after embracing her single status. “If I had one simple wish...I would be free like a bird, golden like a honeybee, carving out what made me weak,” she sings on the ballad, acknowledging the fact that she’s removed things from her life that were hindering her growth.
"I basically felt like I was that flower; kind of rooted and stuck in this place in my life. And the bee was the experience I had with dating." - Brigitte Mena
“I got into gardening during COVID,” Mena says. “I noticed this bee on this flower, and t just was a really beautiful moment. For me, I basically felt like I was that flower; kind of rooted and stuck in this place in my life. And the bee was the experience I had with dating; how people can just come into your life and take what they need from you. And then once they have that, they can peace out.”
In real life, Mena is not in a big rush to dive back into dating. She gave the dating apps a try “for about two months” before ultimately deleting them, citing red flags like “only being in town for a night” or “all gym pics.”
Perhaps it’s the psychologist in Mena that has allowed her to see these red flags. At Southern Methodist University, she studied vocal performance and psychology, as she originally had plans to be a therapist or a counselor. Her debut album, Maslow, is inspired by psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and even on “Honeybee,” she takes inspiration from symbiotic relationships and attachment theory.
But still, music remains Mena’s true love. When she’s not writing songs for herself, she’s performing covers in a band called Midnight Soul, which formed this past summer, taking inspiration from The Weeknd, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder.
Over the course of the next year, Mena plans to release several new singles inspired by her newfound freedom, including a song about her dog and a song about getting ghosted. She has a new album written, “acoustically speaking,” and is planning on working with her band to record the songs.
“The theme of this album is basically my experience with this whole year of growing and learning how to be— I don't wanna say single, but on my own,” Mena says, “and really figuring out how to navigate in this world as, as an individual and not relying on someone else for growth.”