Sofia Wolfson

August 20, 2016

Sofia Wolfson (@sofiawolfson) is a musician/writer/photographer who wrote for us about what inspires her to make her own music and how she got started.

Purchase and listen to her full-length album, Hunker Down, here!
Listen to her new EP, This is What You Talk About When You Talk About Love, here!

When I was 7, I ran into my mom’s arms at a family function and gestured for her to come close so we could be face to face. I then, in a bold John Mulaney type whisper, stated proudly in her ear “I’m gonna write a song.” She looked at me with that “anything you want, honey” grin, not entirely sure what I was up to. Later, after the guests went away, I brought out my baby taylor and strummed a song about my best friend, using the 6 or so chords I had learned thus far in guitar lessons. “We will always be together, I hope it will last forever, you will always be my friend, I hope it will never end,” were the opening lines. To her surprise, the song had verses, a chorus, a bridge, it resolved, and it had structure! That’s when the songwriting started, more comical at first, turning serious with my 4th grade heartbreaker “Think I’m In Love With You.”
I continued to write during middle school, discovering the magical tool of the capo to change keys and I even played around with some alternate tunings. In 9th grade, I built up the courage to book a show and finally share these tunes that only my bedroom walls had heard. I’ve been a performer ever since I was little, but there is something so different about sharing songs you wrote yourself. You can make someone else’s words personal, but at the end of the day, it’s not the same feeling. Performing your own songs is an incredibly vulnerable process; I learned that quickly. You learn that your songs bring out the words people are trying to find, and you also learn that not everyone likes your style. You learn that being personal with an audience can touch someone, and you learn that it can make people feel uncomfortable. You learn a lot on stage, whether you like the brutal reality of it or not.
The biggest savior in my songwriting experience has got to be notes on my phone and voice memos. Half of my songs start as lines I pick up while I’m out of the house that I type quickly so I don’t forget. Later, when I’m home with my guitar, I tend to play that opening line out with different melodies to see what sticks. I don’t really have a strict writing process that works for every song; it’s always changing.
Something that is constant about my songwriting is how it is always evolving (which I know is ironic in itself). What I mean is that who I’m listening to greatly influences what I will write. The summer I blasted Joni Mitchell’s Blue, I wrote in funky alternate tunings with run on sentence lyrics and sang falsetto. The London weeks I was hooked on First Aid Kit, I stuck to simple folk chord positions and recorded demos with continuous harmonies. I don’t find myself trying to sound like these artists, but I am always learning from their style.
Learning more about Logic and home recording has also been a great outlet for me. I’ve been down the professional studio path, and that was an incredible experience for the making of my album. But being able to finish up a song, go out into my studio garage, and lay down a track has helped me update my music online in order to share with friends and family what I’ve been working on. For example, I decided just last night to stay in and make an EP. I got a new Rode mic that sounds amazing when songs are recorded live (meaning I play the guitar and sing at the same time), so, in one take each, I recorded two new original songs and a cover I’ve been playing around the house a lot, which I then put it up on soundcloud. I think some of these music services are an important part of the internet; it connects listeners to new music.
Songwriting has been such an important way for me to decompress, to express something I’m having trouble saying, or to simply explain myself. In plainest terms, I learn more about what I’m feeling when I write.

As for music I’ve been loving lately, here’s what I would suggest:
Julien Baker – Sprained Ankle
Blake Mills – Break Mirrors
The Cactus Blossoms – You’re Dreaming
Lake Street Dive – Side Pony
Lucius – Good Grief
Mike Viola & Kelly Jones – Melon
Nice As Fuck – Nice As Fuck

No Comments

Post a Comment