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Currently Listening to “Pancakes” by Nicole Sophia + Interview

Produced by a Girl Artist Interview -  ‘

NICOLE SOPHIA

Pancakes


Hi! What is your favorite memory of writing/recording Pancakes?


This is a surprisingly hard question. I have a few moments that stand out. The first is being in the shed where I wrote a lot of the songs for the record. I remember having an Ah-ha moment for one of the lyrics. Those always feel good. For the production, we went back and forth on the drum groove for this song for what felt like fifty thousand times. When we finally nailed the drum part, it felt so good. 



Your voice is beautiful! What was your journey to being a singer/songwriter?


I started writing songs really organically as a little kid. I didn’t come from a musical family, but music is something I have always been drawn to. I grew up with it at family camp. Then in middle school I joined choir and started doing musical theatre, which led to me getting voice lessons and intentionally working on my craft.  When I got a little older, my god mom mentored me in lyric writing. I had been writing songs for a while, and she helped me hone my craft. 


What plans do you have to perform Pancakes? I know a lot of fans would love to see you live and support you!


So far my favorite Pancakes performance was getting to play it at Pacific Pride Festival for the LGBT+ pride celebration. It felt really amazing to get to share a song celebrating queerness with some many queer people. As far as plans to perform, I absolutely love playing live. I am hoping to go on tour in the next few months. I am especially hoping to play a lot of college shows. If you want to see where I am playing or request a show in your town, you should check out my BandsInTown page. 



How do you stay motivated to be in the creative zone to make music?


Honestly, life motivates me. Writing has always been the way that I process the world. When I don’t create for a while, I feel backed up or congested. It’s not to say that I always feel like writing or creating. I have actually been in a little bit of an internal productivity tantrum lately. Even still, writing, especially finishing, a really good song is a feeling that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else. It feels like it scratches an itch on my soul. So, I guess it's that itch that motivates me, that and the voice in my head that screams at me when it feels like I’m not doing enough. 



What has your experience been like with being in the Queer musician community? Produced by a Girl loves supporting all our artists in self expression and we totally love that you are standing up as an artist with creating beautiful songs that resonate with the Queer community! 


Honestly, I have felt really loved and supported being a queer musician. There are so many people that have done such tremendous work to make the world and the industry more accepting, and I have definitely benefited from that. I hope to carry on the work of continuing to create a more loving and accepting world through music. 



When did you start studying/writing music and do you have an instrument of choice?


I started writing music in the fourth grade, if not sooner. I think I was always making up melodies and lyrics as a kid. My first official instrument was piano. I begged for lessons but then I hated all the music theory. It’s pretty ironic now because I became kind of a theory nerd in college. My main instrument now is guitar.


Who are you inspired by?


I love Joni Mitchell. I am in absolute awe of her as an artist, songwriter, and storyteller. Additionally, I love Hozier, Madison Cunningham, Bruce Springsteen, Florence + the Machine, Maggie Rogers, Caroline Polacheck, and Debbi Dawson. As far as musicians whose careers/lives I look up to, I am really inspired by Brandi Carlile and Sara Barilles. I think they both do a really great job of being wonderful, authentic, successful artists who are also grounded, real, well-rounded human beings. 



Please explain your creative process.


I often sit down with a guitar and start singing and playing and see what comes out. Sometimes I have a lyric pop into my head that inspires me, sometimes it starts with the chords. It all depends. One thing that is pretty consistent is I draft and edit songs. I go through and refine the lyrics to make them as clear, true, and beautiful as possible. I also go through and refine the chord voicings and see what I can add, or take away, to make the song more interesting. 



What’s an average day like for you with music?


It really depends. Most days I start the days with three pages of journaling (a technique from the book the Artist’s Way) and a meditation and affirmations. I am pretty consistent but not perfect. Then if I am in a writing phase, I will hang out and let myself wake up, and then sit down and write and see what comes out. If I am in the process of recording, I will do my morning routine and then wake up and go to the studio. Some days I batch content, some days I write more, some days I throw a tantrum and don’t wanna do shit. I still have another job outside of music currently that pays my bills, so I balance life with that. I am trying to get a lot better at structure, especially around practice and content creation, which I find to be the less glamorous parts of being a musician. 



Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music or deeper meaning you want your fans

to know?


I actually try to be really clear and honest in my writing. It is the place where I am probably the most honest with myself.  I use a lot of metaphors, double-entendre, and word play, but I actually use those as a way of revealing my truth and the meaning of the songs. If I am doing my job, my songs tell a really clear story in a beautiful, engaging, creative, clear way. 



Do you collaborate with others in the studio? What is that process like?


I collaborate a lot with my producers. It is wonderful to have people that challenge me and open me up to new ideas. It is really nice to have people to bounce things off of sonically, especially since most of my writing process happens alone. We tend to go back and forth on various sonic things. For example, my producers would tell you I am very particular about drums and grooves. I have really strong opinions on my music, which I think is very healthy. It takes a lot of trust to bring songs that have your heart and soul coded into their DNA and allow someone else to help you bring them to life. I have had to learn how to navigate the difference between perfectionism and the drive for excellence. The biggest thing for me in any collaboration is making sure everyone has the space to be honest and that we all communicate with respect and compassion with the common goal of making the song the best it can possible be.



I know your fans would love to hear how they can interact with you. Is there a way you

prefer to connect with them?


I love connecting fans on social media. I love when you comment, tag me in your pictures and videos, and use my songs as a way to tell your stories. 


What is your favorite part about this line of work? 


I feel most like myself when I am doing it. I get to be real, raw, creative, powerful, and authentic, and in doing so, I get to inspire others to do the same. I think that’s amazing. 


What’s your favorite performance been and why?


The last show of my recent SoCal tour was so amazing. The audience was so engaged and I could just feel the energy and impact of sharing music together. I love when I can feel how deeply people are touched by my music. It feels good to connect with people’s souls like that. 


What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?


Learn how to practice. Learn how to do the less glamorous parts of the job. That’s what I would tell younger me if I was being really practical. If I needed a pep talk or some inspiration, I would say trust. 

Loving something is enough of a reason to want to do it. You are allowed to do music because you love it. 


I would also say focus on your gifts and learn to let yourself be seen. It is really easy to compare. Let comparison be a guide of ways that you can grow, but also make sure you really take inventory of the things you do well. You are the only person that thinks, writes, and creates the way you do. No one can take that away from you. 


Do you have any big projects or shows, tours coming up after your album releases? 


I am hoping to be going on tour. We are in the work of planning it and I am super excited to play all these songs live across the country, and hopefully the world. 



What are you working on next?


After the release of my debut EP “Reveal Your Heart” I will be in the studio recording my first full length album. I’m super excited. 



What does the term Produced By a Girl mean to you?


To me, it has a lot of agency and power. It is a claiming of space and a celebration of the badassery of women and femme identifying people. It is a focus on empowerment and freedom. 

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