- Words Louis Rabinowitz
- Photo Credit Beatrice Granados
Sofia Lafuente discusses singing in two languages, finding her own musical identity and her creative inspirations.
Sofia Lafuente’s music emerges from complexity – whether it’s the struggle of creating meaningful art during lockdown, or in honouring both aspects of the dual English and Spanish heritage. It’s her attitude towards that complexity, however, that really cements her as a unique presence.
Her highly-anticipated sophomore EP, ‘Habits’, takes on the many layers of her musical industry and navigates Lafuente’s journey towards understanding and making peace with them, embracing the hard journey of working on yourself and her dual heritage through the bilingual nature of the collection of songs that make up the EP.
The result is an EP that reflects an artist who is willing to do the hard work and show the rich rewards that come out of it – and one who surely has plenty more stories to tell, following in the footsteps of musical heroes like Kate Bush, Stevie Nicks and Shakira.
To commemorate the release of ‘Habits’, we sat down with Sofia Lafuente to chat about her songwriting process, her visual inspirations and her bilingual style.
Congratulations on your EP ‘Habits’! How are you feeling about its release?
Thank you! I am so excited, it feels like a long time coming.
You wrote most of ‘Habits’ remotely. How did you find the creative process? What challenges did it present?
I found that writing this project remotely forced me to write alone for the first time in a while. I always come into the studio with ideas but in this case I would sometimes send fully formed songs to my collaborators and send them references to inspire the production, so it was a very different process from my previous EP.
How do you feel your sound has evolved from your debut EP? And was this a conscious shift or something that happened organically?
It definitely was more organic than planned. But I did experiment with grounding the songs a little more by including more real instruments in the productions. That was something I wanted to experiment with. I was actually thinking about creating a more interesting live show before Covid hit, which was ironic, but now I’m having a lot of fun bringing the songs to life.
What inspired the visuals for the track “Religion”?
I was in LA the month before the release, writing and working on new music, and I thought it would be amazing to take advantage of the city and have it act almost as if it was another character in the video. I didn’t want the video to seem obviously romantic so the director (Maya Sassoon) and I came up with this concept of a person wandering the city in search of something or someone. It gives the feeling of hope but also the isolation of the journey.
Do you have a track you are most excited for people to hear? If so, why?
That’s so tough but I do love “Domestic Bliss”. It’s just such a special song for me. One of those that really just felt like it dropped out of the sky the day we were writing it and we were just lucky enough to be there.
What would you say is the overarching theme for the EP?
I think it captures a moment where I was both hopeful and afraid of what was happening around me. The stories are all very real to me and I think I did a lot of self reflection in this project but the soundscape around it is also kind of dark at times.
You were born in the US and raised in London. How did your intercontinental upbringing inform your sound?
I think it just meant I listened to a lot of different types of music growing up. The US always has a kind of fascination with UK artists and the UK in general so it was funny to see it from both sides. I listened to a lot of American folk music from the 70s growing up because of my dad, but my Spanish mother also played a mix of Spanish songwriters and British artists that made it over there like Phil Collins and The Cure. What you see is that artists everywhere sing about very similar human experiences and that we’re all a lot more similar than we think we are.
On “Religion” and “Are You Listening” you sing in both Spanish and English. How important is it for you to tap into your Spanish heritage through your music? Is this something that has become more important to you over time?
It’s super important. I think before Covid I had been a bit more concerned about what I thought the industry wanted when it came to making something easily fit in a box. Not that I was writing with this in mind before, but I did think that adding Spanish may confuse people. But the truth is there are so many artists that have a mixed cultural background that I think it’s just something the public is now embracing. Being in Spain throughout part of the lockdown also connected me even more to my Spanish side and it gave me the confidence to want to share it.
Who are some of your musical heroes?
Stevie Nicks, Florence Welch, Banks, Caroline Polachek. Mainly female artists that aren’t afraid to create their own lane, always defying expectations of that moment with their visuals and their productions.
Where else, apart from music, do you find inspiration?
Movies, books, podcasts. I’m a huge psychology podcast lover and a lot of the time the topics that are explored in these come up again subconsciously when I’m writing.
Do you have any gigs lined up? And what can we expect from a Sofia Lafuente show?
I’m currently planning a few shows across the UK for this Autumn which is super exciting.
What’s next for you?
My biggest goal at the moment is to really grow this little cult following that’s been with me since the beginning. I’m so grateful for that and I want to actually get out on tour, meet them and play these songs live!