London-based singer-songwriter Sofia Music, has the hit the gig circuit in a big way. She has been on a UK tour, rounding off in London on the 28 January, with her close friend and fellow musician Siv Jakobsen.
Both Sofia and Siv attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and since then have come a long way. Sofia has been featured in Curve Magazine and Shewired, to name a few, and is getting more fans along the way with her honest and thoughtful music.
I was fortunate to have met these two incredible musicians before they performed in Birmingham’s Ort Cafe, and got a few words from Sofia about what’s next.
Why did you choose to start a career in music? How did you get where you are today?
I’ve always been surrounded by music. My father is an incredible electric guitar player, his younger brother is also an absolutely brilliant flautist. I started writing songs when I was 13. It sort of became an addiction for me – I couldn’t live without it.
So I applied and got into the Berklee College of Music in Boston. It was the most amazing experience! I look back to those days and realise just how lucky I was to have been in such a creative environment.
What challenges have you face, and how did you overcome them?
I think the biggest obstacle in my life, was when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in my third year of college. I had to pull out of school for a whole semester because I was hospitalised six times.
My immune system became so compromised I ended up with three blood clots in my spleen – which isn’t fun.
I’m much better now. Technically I’m in remission, and inject myself once every two weeks with an immune suppressant.
At the risk of sounding cheesy, music really got me through all of it – not to mention my parents. They were incredibly supportive.
Which song are you most proud of?
I’m not sure but, I suppose ‘Mum, I Like A Girl’, just because so many people have reached out to me and said how much it has helped them. That is all I want to do: help others and let them know they are not alone.
When you write and perform, who are you doing it for?
Honestly, it changes all the time. I’m so inspired by so many people, that every song and performance has a different muse.
Now you’re currently on tour, how’s that been going? What’s next after the tour?
I’m currently on tour with Norwegian folk songstress, Siv Jakobsen. She’s an absolute gem, and I think she’s the Norwegian Laura Marling. I’m actually still quite shocked she wanted to tour with me!
In terms of after the tour, I just finished recording my next EP in Beirut, Lebanon. My dad lives and works there. He’s playing electric guitar on the EP, which was a surreal experience.
I’m hoping to release my EP around April or May. The first single is called, ‘Ice Cold Love’, which I wrote when I was living in New York City for a year – the winter was brutal, and I was going through a tough breakup.
What gets you up in the morning?
That’s a great question! I don’t know – every day is a new day of endless possibilities. I think that my answer would have to be that I wake up to discover the possibilities of a new day, whether it’s making a new friend, a new song to obsess over, or even a new restaurant.
What would you do if you couldn’t be a musician?
When I was a little kid I used to say I wanted to go to Harvard to study Law. Clearly my path has turned out quite differently, although I did end up in Boston after all.
Tell me about ‘Mum, I Like A Girl,’ why did you write it?
I wrote this song, as a sort of attempt at writing a ‘coming out’ anthem. I wrote it whilst I was at Berklee, and I was taking songs for social change class. I ended up submitting it pretty last minute to the ‘Songs for Social Change Competition’ and came second, which was awesome!
How was your coming out experience?
My coming out isn’t really a story I like to talk about – not because it was exceptionally bad or anything, but it’s just really personal to me and my family. All I can say is that my family has been incredibly supportive, and I wouldn’t be anything without them.
I feel so lucky to have such a stable and solid support system, because, I know how many other members of the LGBT community have suffered as a result of coming out.
As a lesbian artist, have you had any negative responses?
I’ve definitely has some negative experiences being gay in the music industry and elsewhere. I try not to let it get me down, or even give people any attention when they project negativity on me. I’m all about keeping calm and carrying on!
If you had to give just one message to the LGBT community, what would it be?
Never give up and make a commitment to being the best person you can be. Just because you’re gay, doesn’t mean you’re less than anyone. You are awesome, no matter the things that are said or done.
Sum up in no more than thirty words, your meaning of life?
For me, life is about living in the moment and appreciating every second, this includes both the good and the bad.
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Photography Credit: Simon Godley