Q+A: 5 Minutes with Sofia Evangelina
What is love if not a timeless wellspring of inspiration? Award-winning singer Sofia Evangelina has drawn from this very fountain to create her latest song ‘Get Outta My Head’, released under Tsarina Records. With an early 2000s pop influence reminiscent of Christina Aguilera, Sofia embodies unadulterated ardor, pouring passion into the single and exposing her heart of soul, which she nurtured through a lifetime of exposure to various cultural influences. 2022 is looking to be her year, with a musical lineup that is sure to excite and entice! What does she have in store for listeners, you ask? We interviewed the charismatic young songstress to find out precisely that and more.
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
“Something’s gotta hold on me yeah,” ART! Art has a way of replacing my oxygen. I can’t go without it. Creating can be the most calming and therapeutic process, but at the same time, art also energizes and inspires me like nothing else in this world. It’s also where I really met Sofia. It is art that led me to truly discovered who I am, to dig deep into places I never thought I could, let alone be able to share with anyone. Being an artist is the most humbling experience and I feel it brings one closest to the true meaning of life and who we are.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
Both! It depends entirely on the song. I’m always asked about my process and the thing is, my process is always different, a unique experience behind every song, which is why every song has its own energy and vibe, like a fingerprint. I would say though, I’m a big dreamer, so often I do visualize the entire concept of a song, including the visuals before the lyrics or melody have been established.
Does your material feature any collaborations?
Not the records currently out, but I have some international collaborations completed and others in the works coming soon in the queue! I love collaborations.
What’s on your current playlist?
Hello (Pop Smoke, A Boogie wit da Hoodie)
7elmet Ado 5 (ElGrandeToto)
Salam Alaykum (French Montana)
Fair Trade (Drake, Travis Scott)
Mghayer (El Grande Toto)
The Motion (Drake)
Moth To A Flame (Swedish House Mafia, The Weeknd)
No Flutes (Angel, Eric Bellinger)
No Stylist (French Montana, Drake)
Vegas (Doja Cat)
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
There’s no place like the stage. Sharing moments with your audience is not comparable to anything else in the world. Getting to create a moment in time where you have a soul-to-soul connection with every single person in your crowd, through your song and the story you tell, is so beautiful.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
Vocally, I take an old-school approach to the way I sing some vocals and a modern one to others. I play around with my tone and texture and the use of my riffs and runs to paint the story with my voice. Musically, I love global influences from traditions and cultures around the world. I love the simulation of styles and cultures yet the vision to make some fresh and new. Old soul, urban spirit, and futuristic mind.
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
Ah, we get to the studio with coffee for the team and tea for me. We blast the latest mix and then go crazy, bursting with ideas that we are too excited to contain, and then I hop into the booth for a few hours and lay down vocals! Other times we are jamming, brainstorming, writing, listening to references, or something routine like comping. Never boring.
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
I always use to joke around that I knew exactly who I was and what I wanted in life from the moment I was born, coming out of the womb saying, “let’s go, we got work to do people!” But in all seriousness, I always knew I wanted to be an artist and planned my career with a big vision, but I was also a pro athlete as a youth, so I balanced the two careers until they began to clash and a decision had to be made. The choice was clear to me, even though I was a North-American champion in my sport at 14, a world cup and national team athlete. Nothing felt more fulfilling than a mission of creating art that could actually make a difference in the world. At 15, I retired from my sport and went full throttle into my music career.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
My mama. My mom is my everything, I need her there. I love it when my dog is there too ‘cause she’s pure therapy. Tea too, need my tea. Maybe I really am a Brit!
Any emerging artists on your radar?
I really love North African rap/hip hop like El Grande Toto, Inkonnu, Tagne, Stormy, Dragonov, Soolking and many others which are emerging on a larger scale than just their countries. I also have been super into Angel and Eugy out of the UK.
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Everything around me, new experiences, sounds, and what’s happening in the world too. But often, it’s listening to music that really speaks to my soul, that really gets me into creation mode. It’s always music super different from how I perform vocally but with insane production that basically gives me a blank slate for my imagination to go off. It almost always happens around 3 or 4 in the morning when I write the best songs and get hit with lucid visualizations. A couple of months ago I visualized and planned my next 3 albums with many music videos complete in my head…
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
Voice memos on my iPhone literally saved some productions for me. I record all my ideas and even the sessions when we are at the beginning of production so we don’t lose track and take a path different from the initial vision.
Any side projects you’re working on?
I have some dope collaborations and features on the way. Outside of music, I’ve been doing some modelling gigs and creative shoots.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
Oh my, yes! Of course. It’s a never-ending journey of evolving and growing as an artist, even as a person and in the way you see the world. I began my first project at 14. I was so bright-eyed and young, by the time I recorded Smile and Endure I was 16. So much had changed, and I had been through so much by then. I felt with “Endure” that it was truly my inception as an artist. After that, a whole new evolution went underway. At 17 and 18, the songs I was writing came from a very different place, and I had obviously matured and grown into more of a young woman.
By now so much has impacted who I am in life. The music I’m making today is very different. The common denominator among all is that they are me and reflective of different parts of who I am and how I saw the world at the time I wrote the song.
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
3 + new singles with epic visuals and some collaborations and features, and a new album in the making for release in 2023.
Famous last words?
Bye b*tches, I’ll be back with a vengeance! Just kidding, I guess you’ll have to find out.
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Image credit: @Sierra Stone