Tag Archives: Sophie Stevens

Sophie Stevens

By Matt Harrison

It was a humid June evening teetering on the edge of rainfall that I first met singer/songwriter Sophie Stevens for what was intended to be an interview for a piece about the space she writes her music in. As we sat and talked, the flower of this artists mind blossomed to explain the method behind her songwriting.

Playing piano from the age of 10 and guitar for the last five or so years, Sophie has been something of a musician for much of her life. The leap to writing her own songs was first made last summer after attending Shine On music festival. It was there she first had the realisation that music is a viable avenue to steer her life into. Until that festival, where she encountered local artists who helped to inspire her, she had never considered music as something she could actually focus her time and energy on with real fervor.

“You know,” she went on to tell me,” you can have big dreams, but most of the time Good Old Capitalism kind of [says] Nope, your dreams aren’t going to happen.”

Since taking time away from her studies to pursue this idea that was once only a dream, Sophie’s found the move to songwriting to be comfortable and resoundingly positive. She recognizes, too, that there now exists the potential for her to begin resenting the music process due to the fact that she has now made it her primary duty. Thus far her shimmering optimism prevails and her love for music and songwriting remain unwavering.

Something Sophie has come to find is that the songwriting process is very much a skill. This skill, as is the case with any other, requires dedication, time, and focus. Sometimes she will be struck with a bolt of inspiration straight from “the heart, or the soul, or wherever it is that music comes from.” Other times she’ll sit down with her guitar or piano to create music and lyrics off the top of her head. Regardless of the whether or not inspiration strikes, Sophie is continually working to practice and improve her song writing.

One aspect that helps her to draw the motivation to regularly sit down and work on her music is the obligation she’s created for herself to post a video of a song -one she’s written or otherwise- to her Facebook page on a weekly basis. She uses this self imposed contract as motivation to sit down and dive into the thoughts that come dancing through her mind to one melody or another. Typically she’ll find the time to sit down and work on a song when she has a melody or a chord progression that she’s particularly fond of.

As is the case with any poet, Sophie acts as biographer of life’s glory and pain, continually on the prowl for a new way to project what can either be a euphoric dance or a sordid trudge through this world. Sometimes she’ll write on the bus while other times her writing comes from being in the throes of a “good old emotional breakdown” in which she’ll think “oh, those are some sweet lyrics right there.”

One particular attribute of songwriting Sophie has the greatest appreciation for is the aspect of having the attention of the crowd. Whether or not the listener wants to hear the words that are being sung is secondary to the reality that they are listening to the music Sophie has written. “I find that conversationally people aren’t always listening,” she explained to me some two months later, in the basement of some place with a pinball machine drawn from the background of a Stranger Things episode. “I find that most times people are just waiting to say what they’re going to say next.”

Moving forward, Sophie hopes to be able to compile the work she’s created to release an album. She has taken to performing with full bands with interchanging people and instruments which is a step in a new direction creatively as her performances have until now been primarily by herself on the piano or with an acoustic guitar. “It’s really cool to be able to write songs by myself but to be able to collaborate with people and hear what they have to say about my music, or their music. It’s just a lot of fun.”

A smidgen over a year ago Sophie took to this project with the hope of making the most of her greatest passion. Today, as she continues to write and perform, meet new musicians, and expand her artistic horizons, Sophie Stevens has turned her dream to a plan, and each day that plan comes closer to becoming a reality.

Sophie Stevens: Space Jam

Originally published in Stylus Magazine

By Matt Harrison

Upon stepping into the space Sophie Stevens spends most of her music making time a few things will become abundantly clear. The first, she sleeps in the very same room. Her bed sits only a few feet from an electric piano, taking up much of the room on its own. Sophie says this can make mornings a challenge when the job of the day, as is the case every day, is to sit down and practice or write music. The desire to slap the snooze button is tenfold for those whose office is the same room they woke up in.

1There’s an unmistakable aura in this room. One that feels bright and somehow gentle. Rainbow coloured Christmas lights skirt the ceiling on all sides. Their soft glow, along with the pink blankets on the walls, guide the atmosphere toward a place of calm. Playful art, created and collected over the years, hangs on every wall. A headshot of Winnipeg North MP Kevin Lamaroux (2) sticks to a sheet of Star Wars themed note paper. There’s no real story behind that and somehow that makes its being there all the better.

2Under Kevin on the wall is a Japanese advertisement with a less than enthusiastic Harrison Ford holding a can of Kirin Beer. The add, never meant to be seen on this side of the world, was found in Japan by Sophie’s father. “My dad was in Japan,” Sophie went on to tell me through a laugh, “and he said hey man, can I have that?” The add is one of a series that can be found behind a quick Google search, all of which have an equally energetic Ford.

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Sitting at eye level, right next to the entrance way, sits a creepy, staring little monkey baring a crash symbol in each hand. The little primate acts not only as primary Gatekeeper of Nightmares but also as a music box. My ignorance of the stage kept me from knowing this to be a piece from The Phantom of the Opera. “It was my first real introduction to music,” Stevens explained of the show. “I used to have the script memorised.” The music monkey has been hers since she was about 10.

4What made the monkey creepier than it may have otherwise been was the doll it had tucked under its arm. A little doll with little sunglasses. I wouldn’t have guessed, but once I was told I could see immediately, that the doll was Lou Reed. “I made [the doll] one night when I was a little sad and thought well, I couldn’t be sad if there was a tiny Lou Reed with me. I was really into his music and still am. I was so inspired by how many fucks he just did not give and just wanted to do something really ridiculous.”

Sophie Stevens makes her bedroom her workspace. The room acts as an easy place to enjoy being and create freely within. The vibes are calm, relaxing, and above all unique. All of this leaks into the music she creates within its confines.