Updated: Aug 25, 2020
"I am excited about “Billboard” - I think it’s the most personal thing I’ve ever put out which is scary, but I’m hoping people can relate to it."
Los Angeles based artist has lit up the music scene once again with her latest single 'Billboard'.
The 20-year-old singer, who has been in the industry since 2016 and knows how it all works, brings to the table a new dreamy and raw song; which explores bad dreams and first relationships.
Unafraid to set herself apart from other artists, she encaptivates her listeners through personal and reflective lyrics with soothing strings and an upbeat guitar melody.
Known for working with friend and collaborator of Phoebe Bridgers, Marshall Vore, which she described as "the king of Twitter" and experiencing first-hand concerts at the likes of The Lexington and Shacklewell Arms, which she added: "I feel very grateful for getting to go and play in the UK".
Luckily Vibez Music had the chance to ask a couple of questions about her new single 'Billboard', live gigs and where she sees herself in five years.
Firstly, how has lockdown been for you and how excited are you for your new release ‘Billboard’?
Lockdown has been a learning experience. I’m an introverted person so I found the first month or so to be healing, a time for me to slow down. But now I am really missing going to shows and hugging my friends.
Lately, I have been inspired by everything that has been going on in the last few weeks. Attending protests in LA has taken me out of the quarantine funk and has inspired me to spend my days fighting for something so much larger than myself. So now I’ve been trying to do as much reading, listening, learning, and having difficult conversations as possible.
I am excited about “Billboard” - I think it’s the most personal thing I’ve ever put out which is scary, but I’m hoping people can relate to it.
Personally, what inspired you to write and produce this song and what is the meaning behind it?
I wrote “Billboard” at a time when I was trying to make sense of experiences that I was having that I felt out of my control. I was having really bad dreams that all seemed connected. I was dissociating on walks to work or while trying to write an essay in the school library. I felt really outside of myself and not in a good way.
I was writing a lot of songs at the time about a difficult relationship I was in and I think this one stood out because I was able to be the most honest about what I was feeling.
I recorded this song with my friend Evan Vidar at his home in Pasadena. Him and his wife Jenny, who plays the percussion on the song, are the caretakers for this historic building called the Old Mill. The property is so beautiful and inspiring. We wanted the production to reflect themes of the song and try to capture the vulnerability of the words.
As a rising singer, what inspires you to sing and who do you aspire to be?
I was surrounded by music from an early age because my dad plays the guitar. I grew up looking up to artists like Joni Mitchell and Emmylou Harris, songwriters my dad would play for me on long road trips. I aspire to be honest and unapologetic about the stuff I say in songs.
You have worked with Marshall Vore, on your single ‘Nothing’s Real’ – a friend and collaborator of Phoebe Bridgers - what was that experience like for you as an artist?
Marshall is the best! We’ve done several singles and EP’s together and it’s always a fun time. He’s introduced me to so many incredible musicians and has a great ear. I’m such a fan of his producing and songwriting. And he’s the king of Twitter.
Before lockdown, you performed at a range of venues such as Shacklewell Arms and The Lexington – two amazing venues and host of rising stars – how did they go and what was that experience like performing in front of an audience?
I feel very grateful for getting to go and play in the UK. The last tour I went on was probably the best experience I’ve had playing live music.
Even though I’m nervous for any show, I find it slightly easier to play in front of a crowd of faces I don’t recognize. It takes some of the pressure off for me. There was a responsive crowd in Glasgow that laughed at all of my jokes so that was probably the highlight.
Since your first album ‘Hunker Down’ to your latest EP 'Adulting’, do you think you have developed and grown as a singer?
I made ‘Hunker Down’ when I was 15 so I’ve done a lot of growing up since then. I think I’m more willing to be honest when I’m writing now, which is something I’m constantly working on. I’m not as scared now to talk about the heavy stuff.
Unfortunately, due to circumstances, a range of festivals including End of the Road (which you were planning to perform) is cancelled, how excited are you to get back out and perform live?
Very excited, I miss it a lot. All the online shows can be fun but don’t compare to the real thing.
Finally, where do you see yourself in ten years?
I find it super difficult to look into the future because I’m not great with setting definite goals, but I hope to still be making music. Hopefully, by that time we can have live shows again! Maybe I will have written a book by then. And I want to go back to Japan, maybe even live there at some point.
Go and check out Sofia's latest single here and watch this space as we can't wait for what she brings in the coming years.