Hi Sophie, please tell the readers of Unrecorded a little bit about yourself.
You could say I’m a bit of an extroverted introvert.. I’m an outgoing creature and I love people however I also like to disappear and recharge by time alone.
I come from a pretty musically noisy household… Music was always playing around the house. So music is in the blood.. There was a family piano in the main living area which my dad used for music arranging which apparently I took a liking to from an early age and it kind of developed from there.
For an outgoing nature the musical side of me was quite shy and I’ve had to work on being able to be more open about it over the years which these days I am yet sometimes I still have to battle with the stage.. I love to be involved with my audience though, so over the years I’ve learnt that by interacting and reaching out to them they in turn have reached out to me and it’s become this shared experience. The music becomes this gateway or unspoken journey to another place for both the listener and myself and that can be a pretty powerful experience and often that’s the bit of extra motivation I need to kick myself onto the stage again..
Aside from music, in everyday life I’m a bit of a water baby. I love the ocean and grew up with my dad taking me surfing. I make it part of my daily life throughout all seasons. It’s very medicinal. It gives me clarity and I also find it keeps me focused and grounded which always helps when you’re being creative. Cooking is a bit of an outlet for me which often gets in the way of composing! I love reading and watching a good movie. I also love traveling (when we were permitted to). Places like India being one of my favourites. There’s a mystical other-worldliness about it, where history, culture and customs remain unblemished despite what continues in day to day life surrounding you which completely takes you away… I really miss that.
Your new single ‘Not Alone’ is a poignant message for these current times, what inspired you to write the song?
When I’m writing a piece, inspiration is never really a clear thing till afterwards when I’m bonding with the piece and so I think it was a combination of the mood of the piece and the time it was recorded… It was really late at night, very still and quiet. Everything felt kind of like time was on hold and so it made it all feel a bit surreal, even more so when you contemplate the sudden change life took with the pandemic and lockdown going on around the globe for so many. Yet all of us to some varying degree have experienced that form of isolation with lack of real human contact and the result is something all of us are going through at the same time so in that sense we’re not alone as everyone can relate and empathise, vital qualities that connect and tie human relationships.
Being a neo-classical musician, how have you seen the genre change in recent years?
Im not sure in how much it’s changed than that I think there’s a larger appreciation for it these days and a growing broader audience too. That’s what I love about this genre, it definitely doesn’t attract one type. When I first started out it felt more like a very small niche. It has definitely developed and expanded and I would say the genre is always progressively border crossing which makes it quite unique to others.
Everyone knows men in neo-classical music, like Olafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm, so do you think there could be more done to highlight women and other genders in the field?
To be honest being a female artist was one of the last things I used to think about regarding my identity as an artist and still do really.. To me it’s just about being “you” as a human but the longer I’m in it the more I’m aware of being a bit more of a minority. As much as It’s probably fair to say that there are more professional male music creators than female out there, studies show that you’ll consistently see more keen male teenage composers than female and that there’s a real dwindling in confidence in teenage girls to compose so having examples in the music world to promote unisex composition as a living, breathing, profession and just trying as much as possible to mix them in together in events, festivals, labels etc. is something we can keep doing more of.
I also think there’s still a bit to go as far as changing human thinking goes. People say they’re open but I think there’s still a bit of old fashion thinking behind closed doors. It just seems the perspectives and behaviours that drive inequality are so deeply ingrained that it makes these changes hard to make. The gender gap we see in music is the same imbalance we see in society at large, and erasing it is a bit of a slow process but I think there is a lot of effort and backing going into changing that and we are seeing a lot of positive results from that.
What’s the Australian neo-classical music scene like?
It is still pretty small but I think that has a lot to do with the lack of diversity or suitable venues as say Europe does, so that makes touring here tough hence why I don’t often perform and tour more overseas. Having said that I think a lot of effort is being made to change that.
Australia already has alternative-leaning in musical tastes, so it makes sense that we’d also like “alternative” classical and you can see that by artists like Nils Frahm, Olafur Arnalds and Ludovic Einaudi selling out the opera house.
ZoneOut run by Universal Australia has been a great asset to this genre here too www.zoneout.com as they are all about music without boundaries – ambient, immersive, and contemporary. I was involved in their 2019 festival lineup which was the first festival of it’s kind held here in Australia. It will be back up and running again next year which I’m pleased to be involved with again.
Which tracks do you listen to to remind yourself that you’re not alone?
Oh wow now that’s a question I haven’t been asked before.. I guess I turn to sentimental music that reminds me of good memories… You’ll laugh at this one but Barbra Streisand & Barry Gibb ‘Guilty’! I love this song. It reminds me of happy memories growing up. I actually stole the Vinyl from my mum and sometimes play the album around the house from time to time (and sing into my hairbrush..Kidding).
Bill Evans ‘Peace Piece’ – Because it symbolises so much of my friendship with my Dad.
Arvo Part ‘spiegel im spiegel’ One of my most favourite pieces in the world. It always puts a lump in my throat.
The Rachels ‘First and Second Self-Portrait Series’
Following on from this release, can we expect to hear more new music in the near future?
Yes you can…. !
You can listen to Sophies newest single ‘Elysian Days’ below: