Bridgewater grew tired of Broadway by 1976. She quit The Wiz that year and moved to Los Angeles, with an eye toward trying her hand at film acting and pop singing. Although she remained primarily a jazz singer, Bridgewater sought to stretch her talents in more commercially viable directions. The next several years were frustrating ones.
Caught between the worlds of jazz and pop, Bridgewater was unable to find a comfortable spot in the hearts of either audience. She was especially bothered by the mediocre "Black muzak" that record producers tried to make her sing. By the mid-1980s, Bridgewater was ready to abandon her musical career entirely. In 1985 she moved back to Flint to live with her mother, who was in poor health.