A beautiful sunny day in Phoenix, the wind blows a bit hard and then stills. The light rail bell chimes and a few birds chirp. Sophia and I sit at a small table outside a local coffee shop, both drinking iced lattes. What was supposed to be an interview with preplanned questions I had written down, transformed into an easily flowing conversation. I quickly turned on my voice recording, already knee deep in conversation.

Sophia is born and raised in Arizona, a rarity around here. While she grew up in Anthem, she moved to Downtown Phoenix to attend Arizona State University to pursue music.

Her Start

“I didn’t really have any musical influences as a kid,” she told me. “My parents are not musical. They don’t have any musical background. Even, like, extended family – literally nothing. My grandpa played clarinet in high school,” she laughs. But despite that, singing was something she found enjoyment in very early on. “It just felt very natural to me.”

The the minute her parents realized she had musical talent, they immediately supported her. She wanted to sing ‘Rolling in the Deep’ by Adele at a talent show one summer when she was around the age of 9 or 10. Her parents were skeptical and wanted to hear her sing. “I remember I had to turn in a corner cause I couldn’t face them cause I was so scared. And I sang for them and they were like ‘Oh, my god. Do you wanna, like, do this?’.” She tells the story with such a smile on her face, it was infectious. Her supportive parents immediately got her into guitar and piano lessons, where she ended up being able to get performance experience.

“[My guitar teacher] did gigs on the side,” Sophia told me. “She’d perform at restaurants and stuff… And she would bring me and some other students up to sing with her at some of these gigs that she did.” The world comes full circle for Sophia as she now regularly performs The Vig, a restaurant here in Phoenix, as well as a few other places.

Songwriting

Though Sophia has always loved singing, songwriting didn’t join the picture until her first year at ASU. She took a songwriting class and instantly fell in love with the process. Before the class, however, she had never written before in her life. “I was so convinced I couldn’t [write]. I was just like ‘I’ll get heard somewhere then I’ll meet someone who can write and we’ll work together and I’ll just be the singer.'” While this is common practice in the music industry, she couldn’t imagine that being her life now. “I can’t even believe that was a mindset back then because now songwriting is one of my favorite things. Ever.”

“The kind of songwriter I am, I very much draw from my personal experience,” she explained. “I think what truly inspires me to songwriter and where I can get in that flow is when I can take an experience I’ve had and make it into this other world of a song.” She begins to undermine herself a bit, saying that her songwriting is dramatic and she kind of over-exaggerates “but it’s like fun and therapeutic,” she adds. “It’s a love-hate relationship sometimes. Like, sometimes I’ll write something and its just… not good and it sucks. But that’s being a songwriter. You have to get through the shit stuff to get to the good stuff.”

With a bunch of new music coming this year, I wanted to know some of her musical influences and who she takes after. “Taylor Swift will always be a songwriting inspiration for me. Just the way that she crafts stories, I always aim to do something like that. Recently Gracie Abrams… Renee Rap, she’s so unserious and I love that but she also has serious moments. It’s a really nice blend of the two and I really like that about her.” But despite her young age and modern pop sound, Sophia grew up with a few musical idols as well. “One of my favorite artists is Elliot Smith… and Jeff Buckley. Which is so different – my sound is definitely pop. But I think what I love about them is that they’re so raw with their music and transparent. And that’s what i wanna do with my songwriting and what I want my music to be.”

In terms of her own music, however, I asked her what she wanted people to take away from her songs. “I just hope it makes people feel something,” she told me with a glimmer in her eye. There was a simple sincerity in her tone and she looked off a bit as she spoke. “When I listen to a song and I feel it and resonate to it, it’s the best thing ever. So I hope people can hear how much of myself I put it into it. I worked really hard to make sure it was the most authentic- every decision I made was thoughtful and intention. I hope that translates.”

As I pressed stop on the recorder, the conversation continued long after. Sophia is one of the best listeners I’ve ever met, and creates such a genuinely warm environment around her. It was easy to ramble off and touch on many varying conversations points, even as we walked around the city. She makes you feel like a friend from the moment you meet her and is one of the most genuine people in the world.

She plans to release a few singles this year, but you can hear her now on Tiktok where she’s gained 46.1K followers and 998.5K likes. Follow her on Instagram to keep up with all of her exciting plans and check out her website to find upcoming shows.

 

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