East Sussex, UK is the home of 21 year old singer/songwriter Sophie Janes. She is a powerhouse vocalist who’s youtube videos feature her specializing in haunting renditions of top 40 hits such as Hozier’s “Take me to Church” and Lorde’s “Royals”. However, these covers also showcase her talent for reinterpreting song arrangements.
With a penchant for the theatrical and cinematic, Sophie truly shines with her first fully produced release “Stop Me”. It is the first single from her upcoming full length album to be released in the first half of 2015. Amidst an incredibly busy schedule of video shoots and live rehearsals, Sophie was gracious enough to participate in a Q&A with us here at Evensound.
How/when were you inspired to start singing and writing music. What is your musical background?
Well I have been singing since I was knee high to a grasshopper haha, its always lived in me and I was surrounded by music all through my childhood, whether on long car journeys listening to my parents mix tapes with songs from the 60s through to the 80s – Kate Bush – David Bowie – Tori Amos and so much more! I was home educated from the age of 9 with my sister and through that had the freedom to explore who I really was. By the age of 12, I was certain that a career in music was what I was here for, and my dad being a producer meant he was able to guide me while I was finding out who I was as a musician. I wrote my first song at 11 and was hooked, nothing else made and still makes me quite as happy.
Your musical aesthetic is very theatrical and epic. It’s an amazing atmosphere to feature your vocals. How did you land in that particular musical territory?
I think for me, and for my writing, the voice is the soul of the song, it tells the story and conveys the emotion so I knew I wanted the vocals to be upfront and to lead the productions. The vocals create the atmosphere and I write at the piano so everything starts piano and voice. Then I start to build the sound around that and I have found out through much exploration that a larger cinematic sound is what excites and moves me and I hope will move others too. Because music, for me, is there to make you feel something, and the way I see it, the BIGGER that feeling, the BETTER!
You’ve got a lot going on between shooting videos and preparing for the global release of your new single at the end of March. How do you feel after putting in all of the work and finally seeing it all come to fruition?
Exciting, terrified and feet barely touching the ground. When you’ve poured yourself into an artistic project it’s incredibly rewarding to get to the end of certain stages. Having completed the video, single and album you’d THINK it would be time for a break… but nope, live shows to prepare, tours to sort out and media promotion for the releases…. it’s non-stop and I LOVE IT!
How did you end up mastering “Stop Me” at Abbey Road Studios?
We wanted to give the songs the best treatment we possibly could and that meant aiming high and using the best studio we could get and Abbey Road Studios is DEFINITELY that. It was SO cool to go up there and see the studios where some of the best music of all time has been recorded, such as Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ and films like ‘The Lord of the Rings’. Mind. Blowing. Insane.
Where do you draw inspiration for your songs?
I’m hugely inspired by cinema and tv and often find I’m absolutely overflowing with song ideas after watching something epic like Game Of Thrones or The Hunger Games. When I’m writing a song its a very visual process, it sounds a bit bonkers but when I am composing I see colours and if the colours look beautiful, then I know I’m on the right track. A dose of heartbreak never hurts (not your songwriting ability anyway) and that has definitely inspired some of the more personal songs off the album
What is the plan with the current status of your music, releasing a single on March 29th, but then can we expect a full length album? Tour? Are you planning on coming to the US at any point before your SXSW spot in 2016?
I’m so excited about coming to the US for SXSW, I bounce around and squeak whenever I think about it. Hehe, I digress, sorry.
The plan is, at the moment, to release three singles and then the album, so a constant stream of material should be coming out over the coming months. We’re planning a rather large live set up with a theatrical show and are looking to make each gig something a bit special, so that you experience the album in the most exciting and visual way possible. We’ve created our own label initially to handle releases, which means gigging with a full band is going to be a little more difficult to pull off but hopefully we will be able to build some momentum and get the live side really kicking off. The musicians that have come forward have all loved the album and are ridiculously accomplished, talented players and I’m so honoured that they want to be involved. Players such as Ellie Verkerk, our MD (Musical director), who was assistant conductor at the Royal Albert Hall for the John Lord tribute gig with Deep Purple in 2014 and who has been involved in countless West End music productions; the string section, The Bergersen Quartet, who have performed on pretty much every major London stage and in every major London recording studio. It’s these people that are helping to shape this project into something really exciting and a dream come true. I am so grateful for the support I am receiving and can’t wait to see what this year brings.