R&B has developed and adapted to the changing music scene. The Atlanta songstress, Sophia, is a part of the new R&B. She grabs influence from legends like Aaliyah and Sade. Sophia breaks out of the mold of traditional R&B with her unique vocals and Daft Punk samples. She combines pop, soul, and R&B. Her debut project, Love, So: The New Classic includes the single “Nas” and was released this past Valentine’s Day. Sophia has hit 12,000 plays on Soundcloud and has been featured on Revolt. Her body of work is relatable to love during the 20-somethings. The project takes you through the different phases of a relationship that ends: attraction, lust, falling in love, heartbreak, denial, and anger.
Listen to the project in full here, alongside a brief interview. Sophia describes who she is as an artist and what she likes about being a woman.
aafleur favorites: She, I Want You, Doin’ It Right, 20 East, Nas.
Who is Sophia? How do you describe yourself as an artist?
As an artist, I like to say what I feel. I’m laid back for the most part but I like being flamboyant. I just like to be myself. My personality has an emphasis on my music. I think for the most part it is alternative R&B, soul and pop but not too soulful.
Has your Nigerian background influenced your music or will it in the future?
I’m half Nigerian. My father is Nigerian. My mom met my father in a reggae club. Me and my sister live separate from my father but I want to get back into the culture sometime. I listen to the [Nigerian] music now.
What’s the backstory of becoming an artist and your debut project, Love, So: The New Classic’?
I started recording in the summer of 2015. At the end of last year, I went through a rough time. My mom was sick, I was working for a mechanic. I started working with FL studios and then met up with TL On The Beat. I had a hard time finding consistent producers, sometimes they didn’t have time and were traveling. D Sims helped finish the Intro, Doin’ It Right, and BYOB. I was listening to Earth, Wind, and Fire when making BYOB. I finished the project at the end of last year. I named the project The New Classic because I felt like I had a late start in Atlanta. My mom was a single parent and my dad was going through immigration issues but I finally got it together. I felt like I needed to get on the music scene.
How has Atlanta influenced your music style?
I grew up with an African dad and was raised in Ohio. Growing up there, my dad didn’t want me to be “ghetto” but I learned that it’s ok to let your hair down and be yourself. At one point I wanted to rap but I decided not to. I sing-rap in my songs now.
Who are your influences?
Sade. Growing up when I was younger, in 6th and 7th grade, my voice was deep. My music teacher put me in the tenor section. She always made fun of me because my voice would stand out. Sade has a soft voice and she trained me to hit the bottom notes. Aaliyah is also my influence, my favorite part of her singing is going low. PartyNextDoor too, I love his sound and how it’s just him. I want my music to sound like my own experience.
What do you like to do outside of music that inspires you?
Work. Go to school. I’m not in school right now but I’m going to try to make these next 6 months work. With this extra year, I’m experiencing what it is to be a musician. My emotions drive my music, my best songs are written in 5-10 minutes. I started seriously doing music at Benjamin Banneker High School. I had a mentor at 16 years old who showed me how everything works.
How was it opening for Avant and Keke Wyatt? Was it hard to get the audience to like a different type of R&B?
I enjoyed it. It was a real concert stage, the energy was different. They heard my music but I didn’t know what they expected from me. When artists open for shows you have to give them a chance and they gave me a chance.
Do you feel like R&B is separated? Can the older generation get into the new forms of R&B?
As an artist, you have to know how to get to people. In my body of work, it’s consistent and you can manipulate the sound. Like Rihanna, I want to put out that kind of body of work where you can pick and choose from an album. I feel like I did that on my debut project.
What’s your goal with music?
I just want to be able to live off of my music, I don’t have to be extra famous or rich. For me it’s what I love, people are not bold enough to take the risks. If you don’t do what you want to do, you’re not going to be happy. If I have to go broke, I’ll do it.
What’s next for Sophia?
I’m taking it step by step. BYOB is the new single off the project, It will be out next week. I’m going to release more visuals. Maybe I’ll drop a new project. I just need to find what works for me.
What do you love most about being a woman?
I hate being a woman sometimes. Being a woman is interesting. We’re seen as sterotypically softer. We’re capable of bringing babies and building nations. Women are spectacular beings. We’re both strong and soft and we can pick and choose to be both at the same time. [For example] In Greek mythology, the women were sirens and sirens were soft, sour and sweet, they’re like sour patch kids. They have the ability to kill like we all do but it doesn’t mean we need to. That just shows how women are.
Watch the visuals for Nas below: