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Meet Sophie Strauss

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sophie Strauss.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I’ve been singing, playing music for as long as I can remember. I started writing my own music at age 16 and haven’t stopped since.

Please tell us about your art.
I make music. I’m a songwriter and also a singer. I don’t like to think of myself as making music with a “message” so much as letting myself write whatever comes organically and then, after the fact, seeing what I might be saying.

I almost always start by writing lyrics. I collect lyrics, even. I am constantly thinking of lines, couplets, or writing down fragments of overheard conversations that sound musical or biting or strange to me. Then I revisit those little bits and pieces of lyrics and start to synthesize. Do any of these work together? What happens if I try continuing the thought here? Eventually, if I’m very lucky, a song comes out. Sometimes it’ll take 20 minutes start-to-finish to write something I love, and sometimes it takes a year of frustration and toiling.

I’m not worried about people relating to my music or not relating to my music. I think when you start trying to create something for a specific audience instead of something that comes naturally to you your listeners can smell it from a mile away as contrived. People respond to honesty, and people respond, I believe, to specifics. It’s often so tempting to try to write songs that speak generally about topics like Love or Loss or Anger in order to avoid alienating anyone with details they might not relate to. But I believe it’s actually much harder to relate to generalities, to broad abstractions. There’s nothing tangible to put your finger on or wrap your head around. Don’t be afraid to be personal and specific! I also am very much not afraid of alienating anyone with my politics. If my personal politics or the politics that come through in my music make you feel alienated, then my music is not for you anyway.

As an artist, how do you define success and what quality or characteristic do you feel is essential to success as an artist?
This is tough. Conceptually, it’s easy for me to define success as simply creating music (or art) that brings you joy. To have the ability, the privilege, to continue creating work and finding joy and meaning in it then you are successful.

But personally, it’s really hard not to fall prey to the pressures of “SUCCESS.” That if I am not famous, I’m not successful. That if I’m not making lots of money off of my work, I’m not successful. That if I work a day job, I’m not successful. That if XYZ person has more fans or streams than me, I’m not successful. Those kind of toxic thoughts are so hard not to internalize, and I really struggle with it–as I’m absolutely certain most artists do. And so to those people I say YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
My music is available pretty much everywhere! Spotify, iTunes, Tidal, Pandora, Google Play, and like 40 other streaming services I’ve never even heard of!

I think there is no greater support than showing up. It is so hard to put yourself out there over and over again, and I think any artist knows that nothing is more meaningful than for people to show up at a show–whether it’s a concert, a gallery opening, a screening, etc. Listens, streams, and shares are all so wonderful and helpful, but you truly cannot top showing up in person for something or someone.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Hana Haley, Suzanne Jennett, Greg Kasunich, Jean Kim.

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