Sophia Marie - Sound In The Signals Interview

Kate Lawlor

I recently had the opportunity to interview Sophia Marie. We discussed her early interest in singing, how she learned to play guitar in quarantine, exploring her life changes through music, writing and recording new song, “Menace in Venice”, filming a video for “Venice Beach to D.C.” at Georgetown University, upcoming plans, and more. Check it out below. 

Can you tell me how you started pursuing music for those who may be unfamiliar? How did you initially become interested in music?

I have always been an avid singer since I was young. I would often be called the "stereo" because of how much I'd sing; it was probably super annoying for people around me. So I had these notebooks of like lyrics and would try to come up with cool melodies in elementary and middle school and even high school sometimes, but it wasn't until my freshman year of college, right when quarantine happened, that I made myself learn an instrument, guitar. When I started learning chords on the guitar, the world opened up to me musically. I could make melodies that actually sounded right and create full-length songs that had some kind of instrumental backing rather than me just randomly singing notes. 

Once I had about 70 songs written and composed, I started to look for producers around LA to help me turn them into real, fully produced and mixed and mastered records. And then I just became obsessed. I probably have over 90 songs written and composed at the moment. Some are really bad. But I love a lot of them and hope to produce much more in the future.

Your music is often autobiographical and it has explored life changes such as moving across the country to attend Georgetown University and more. How does music help you to process life changes and tell your story? 

Yeah, I have realized that I really only can write songs about myself; it's really the only source I have, so it's important for me to delve deep into myself. Venice Beach to D.C. my debut single, traced my relocation from Los Angeles to attend school at Georgetown University Back East, and I felt like it told my story in a very explicit way. I think it was a really good emergence for me because it set up who I was and what my music is, this weird combination of the LA girl who also likes preppy pre-professional atmosphere and who takes inspiration from foreign places because of her fascination with International Politics and old history she studies at college. 

Foreigner describes my infatuation with people with different accents and languages, calling back to my childhood crushes on the Doctor from Doctor Who and Sherlock and Captain Hook from Once Upon a Time. I really try to have nothing to hide. And then a lot of my songs discuss my preoccupation with romantic love. It's a subject most important to me, one of the primary reasons why I think life is worth it to me. I am fascinated by the subject and so love inviting others on this romantic journey with me. 

A lot of it is heartbreak, but I try not to hide from it. I really detail all my romantic failures clearly; there is no pride I try to hide under. I want to be there for people who have felt the same, but also, I want to be there for myself. When I look back and see that I made music out of some of the saddest realizations of my life, I'm very proud of myself.
You recently released new song, “Menace in Venice”. Can you tell us more about the writing and recording process?

This was so FUN. I think this song is the epitome of like fun f-you song to a boy that has ever wronged you. It's not supposed to be taken seriously; it's satire. I recorded it when I was studying abroad at Trinity College in Ireland in the fall of 2021, and I reached out to this awesome Irish producer Cian Sweeney who was based in Cork to record my two singles "What a Waste" and "Menace in Venice." 

One Sunday, I took a train from Dublin to Cork to record all Monday in his studio, and then, the next day, took a 5:30 am train back to Dublin to make it in time for a 9:00 history class on the Enlightenment at Trinity. It was a wild experience, but that made it so much fun. 

The song is meant to be this satirical piece where this girl thinks every boy revolves around her because she's trying to convince herself that the one boy who doesn't want her doesn't matter. So she's going to these foreign places, seeking attention from other men so she can make the only man capable of hurting her jealous. I think it's a song that sometimes betrays its lyrics. The bridge of the song is when you really get that all this putting on a show is a defensive tactic.
You also recently released a new video for "Venice Beach To DC" which you filmed with another Georgetown student on campus. Can you tell us more about this process?

YES!!! This was so much fun. "Venice Beach to D.C." is a song that, to me, always needed a music video. It screams color and outfits and style and craziness. So when I got back to college from studying abroad in Ireland, I teamed up with a fellow Georgetown student and videographer Panna Gattyan to shoot it during our shared spring break. 

We wanted to make a video that pays homage to Legally Blonde and Clueless, highlighting this LA girl with all pink and crazy outfits in this professional, East-coast preppy, often stuffy environment full of JFKS and Jackies who all have their lives planned out in front of them. In walks this girl who doesn’t really know what she wants to do and where she wants to end up, packing bikinis in her suitcase instead of plaid pencil skirts and ties and other internship attire, wanting to pursue the Arts in addition to International Politics.

It was so fun because all the shots were taken at Georgetown University, from its planetarium, Healy Hall, Yates, the Georgetown stadium, Gadsden Hall, the LXR rooftop, and other locations. It was so fun to really explore my university and shoot it at a place that means so much to me and that has inspired this song and much of my songwriting in the first place.

What came easiest in the filming process and what took more time?

We shot the music video so many different days in so many different outfits in so many different locations. I would say the planning of the outfits/style was the easiest just because I have so much pink in my closet, but also contrasting preppiness. Like I am obsessed with clothes that were really perfect for this music video. 

The hardest was deciding the narrative of the music video, I would say. I was kind of like, should there be a specific story in this? Or should it be this girl visibly from a different place showing up in these old, stuffy buildings? So we decided to do both. We wanted to show this girl, initially kind of intimidated by this foreign environment across the country who then becomes a lot more confident as time progresses, a girl who realizes that she's going to make her presence known. 

It was definitely hard to coordinate schedules too because I was doing all my classes and internship at the French Embassy and she was doing the same with work and graduating. But the end product was so worth it! It's so fun to work with college friends because literally so many people at Georgetown are so talented. I love being surrounded by people who are so smart and fun and ambitious.
What else is coming up for you in 2022? Are you working on more new music? 

I have so many songs that I have recently written and composed because I just completed a four-week trip in Italy that included a study abroad at Georgetown's villa in Fiesole, Italy in Florence that focused on applying Machiavellian ideology to current international political conflicts. When I'm abroad, I get the most inspiration, so really want to work on producing some more music this summer! And then I have to do all the edits to my book that is coming out later this year. And then getting ready for senior year at Georgetown! Crazy times, but very fun. I really want to perform in Los Angeles because I didn't have the time last semester in DC. I have only played live once.
Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

Thanks so much for the interview and questions!!

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