Sweet like a strawberry milkshake, indie-pop up-and-comer SOFY talks to Notion about her debut release and journey so far.
Hip-hop-esque, indie-pop newcomer SOFY has been wowing listers with her smooth and eclectic sound and style since the release of her debut single “Strawberry Milkshake” earlier this year. Rapidly placing her mark on the music scene, she has instantly established herself as one to watch.
Picking up a pen and beginning to work on her collection of songs just a mere 12 months ago, the Leicester-born artist has wasted no time in hitting listeners with an incredible debut release that has already seen her garner attention from the likes of BBC Radio 1 and top tastemakers such as Clara Amfo.
Introducing us to her sound and artistry, “Strawberry Milkshake” showcases her skilled lyricism and soulful vocals, reminiscent of artists such as Jorja Smith and Arlo Parks. Delivering a witty and relatable narrative, the track is all about how important it is to follow your gut and not overthink things when it comes to relationships.
Notion chatted to SOFY all about how she first got into music, life as an emerging artist, what we can expect from her next, and much more.
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How would you summarise your journey so far and your experience as an emerging artist during these unusual times?
Oh man, it’s been such a whirlwind and I’m loving every second! I’ve had some incredible moments which I’m so grateful for – especially all the support from the BBC: being runner up in the Live Lounge unsigned talent search competition, all the gigs they’ve put me on, playing the original demo of ‘Strawberry Milkshake’ on Radio 1 and a ton of other stations, and then it eventually being listed as the Radio 1 Introducing ‘Track of the Week’ earlier this month. I also feel so lucky to have found something I love so much during such a weird time, and to do all of this with my mates who are all wonderful and super talented is amazing. We’re just having loads of fun with it.
How do you think starting your career during the era of Covid has changed the direction you took, and are heading in?
Well, when I was furloughed I had a lot of time to sit and think properly about who I am as an artist and what kind of music feels like me. I think having that time to reflect gave me a lot of clarity on where I wanted to go with the project and what my sound would be. I also think that situation gave me a bit of an ‘all or nothing’ mentality and made me more determined to just go for it, because I had nothing to lose! It’s also made playing live shows feel extra sweet because it wasn’t something I was necessarily expecting to be able to do so soon. Playing with my band is my absolute favourite thing to do in the WORLD!
You’ve just released your debut single, “Strawberry Milkshake”; Congratulations! Can you walk us through the creative process and what it was like making the track?
Thank you so much! I wrote the song back in February – I think it was the second session I did with Robb and Amie from Gold Spectacles, with who I co-wrote it and who produced the track. Because it was lockdown at the time, it was all done over Zoom and recorded on my shitty mic in my room. I had the concept in my head and had been playing around with the chorus lyrics and melody before the session and then we built the rest around it. I was honestly so gassed when I got the demo back – it was the song that really made me feel like I’d found my sound and the whole project kind of snowballed from there.
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Where did the inspiration for the title come from – and is strawberry the best flavour?
So the song was built around the concept of how important it is to just follow your gut and not overthink things when it comes to relationships. It’s essentially about saying fuck what people think, embracing your differences and just enjoying the ride even if nobody else gets it. And I thought the idea of dipping fries in Strawberry Milkshake was kind of a nice way of summing that concept up – yeah it looks kinda weird but if it works for you then why not! Strawberry is the best flavour – but only if it’s done well – I’m on a mission to find the best one in London at the moment because people keep asking me this so let me know if there’s anywhere that needs to be on my hit list haha.
What is the main thing you’re hoping listeners take from Strawberry Milkshake and future releases?
It’s really important to me that my music and also me as an artist feel accessible to my audience. When you listen to my tunes I basically want it to feel like you’re in the pub with me and my mates discussing our latest cringe relationship dramas, and hopefully, people can see parts of themselves or their own experiences in me and my songs.
The track has such a laid back, indie-pop, hip-hop-inspired vibe. Is this what we can expect from you sonically for future releases?
Yeah definitely, I feel like that sound brings together all of my influences and really feels like me. Right now I don’t see myself steering too far away from it because it does just feel like such a good representation of my personality and I’m having a lot of fun with it – but never say never! I think it’s natural that your work will change as you grow as a person and an artist. But yeah, right now it’s hip-hop-inspired indie-pop bangers all the way.
Are there any styles, genres or themes you would love to experiment with going forward?
Well, I always say to my manager don’t be surprised if I bring back Britpop because I have such a soft spot for it. I just love how boisterous and fun it is – big anthemic choruses that people can shout back to you at festivals and songs that you can sing with strangers in the pub ‘coz everyone somehow knows all the words. It’s definitely been creeping into recent stuff I’ve written, so watch this space I guess.
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Is there a particular motto or philosophy you go by when it comes to your artistry?
Yeah, it sounds really cliche – but it’s just not taking it all too seriously, enjoying the process, having as much fun with it as possible and surrounding myself with people who match that energy. I think it’s quite easy in music to get sucked into a cycle of ‘compare and despair’ and stress about what other people are doing which is really creatively stifling because you just second guess everything you do. Right now I’m just making music in this lovely bubble with my mates and having the best time doing it and I hope that never changes to be honest.
When creating and listening to music, where feels the most natural to you?
I always get a lot of ideas when I’m travelling, so either walking around or on public transport or whatever because I love people watching. My music is inspired by real life and everyday situations so overhearing bits of other people’s conversations and perspectives is really interesting. I’ve got this big note on my phone full of concepts and characters that I just scribble in whenever I’m on the tube so I always have something to take into a session.
What are you working on next?
Well my debut EP is out in January and we will be dropping a couple of singles before then, I can’t wait! Other than that I’m writing, finessing my live set with the boys, and continuing on my quest to find the best strawberry milkshake in London.