Making music in lockdown - singer Sophielou reveals her hopes for the future

The coronavirus crisis has made many of us slow down and focus on what truly matters.

For RnB singer Sophielou this has meant devoting time to finding her true voice and pushing her creative boundaries as an artist.

Her lyrics are inspired by her own experiences and the world around her so the repetitive nature of lockdowns and restrictions on our daily lives have made the writing process more challenging.

But the 28-year-old, who will soon be releasing her latest EP, has found new ways to develop her sound and is looking forward to sharing her songs with her fans.

“I get a lot of my inspiration from being out and about, being in a different place can spark ideas so it’s been a challenge and I’ve had to think outside the box and find inspiration from being at home a lot.

“It’s really pushed me and enabled me to be more creative and I’ve been focusing more on my sound,” she tells Weekend.

Sophielou, whose real name is Sophie Louise Nedrick, first began writing lyrics at the age of 14 after hearing JoJo’s Leave (Get Out).

The song resonated with her so much that she decided to try writing her own, utilising her love of poetry and rhyme.

Artists such as Ciara, Chris Brown and Usher also made her realise that music wasn’t just something she enjoyed, it was something she also wanted to have a go at creating herself.

She released her first EP Stepping Stones in 2012, aged 19, and continued to develop her songwriting following it up with her RnB mix-tape Spiritual.

Her third EP, Out With The Old, followed in 2017 and hit the top 10 on the iTunes RnB charts.

By the time she began writing songs for her first full-length release, Soul Search, which came out in 2019, Sophielou had gathered a loyal following of fans.

The central theme running through the album was about being yourself and included songs talking about life, love and hurt and featuring a mix of rap, spoken word and singing.

“With Soul Search I was trying to work out what sound I wanted to be known and remembered for,” she explains.

“This time I’ve introduced more RnB vocals, melodies and harmonies. There is a lot more singing rather than spoken word. It’s been really fun. I’ve realised I can do things with my voice that I didn’t know I could do,” says Sophielou, who grew up on the Long Knowle estate in Wednesfield.

Last month her fans were given a taste of what they could expect from the new EP when the first single from the record, Check In, was released.

It takes listeners through a journey of nurturing our internal needs rather than the external goals and expectations set by society and was produced by Wolverhampton producer/engineer Spock and mastered by TRC.

“I’m sure we can all agree that social media has become a habit for most of us and we tend to absorb a lot from it, which isn't always great for our mental health,” explains Sophielou.

She says in the lyrics "instead of checking online, you should check in with me”, urging the people to make sure they sign out of the virtual world from time to time and remember that there’s so much going on outside of social media.

The song, which she describes as “healing music”, has struck a chord with many people and Sophielou says she’s been pleased to hear that many have taken the message on board.

“People have contacted me to say they like the message and that it’s relevant for the times. We can’t see people as we would normally do but we can still check in with others.

“It’s nice to know that people have taken this song as I intended and know that staying connected is important,” Sophielou tells Weekend.

Recording sessions are already under way at Wolverhampton-based APS Studio and she says she was excited to get started.

“I do have a home studio set up but it’s not the same as going into the studio. I’m glad we are still able to do that in lockdown. As artists, not being able to do that has a big impact on our mental health because it’s our escape,” Sophielou explains.

She hopes to release the EP in late spring but she is remaining tight-lipped about the title as she wants to share it with her fans nearer the time.

At the moment Sophielou is keeping her fingers crossed that she will be able to celebrate its launch with some live performances once coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

Like many artists, she has found the closure of music venues and not being able to take to the stage during the pandemic very difficult.

“At first I thought I could knuckle down and concentrate on my music, make the most of the downtime to write. But as time has gone on it’s been really hard and I’m missing performing live and missing that connection with the fans.

“There is only so much you can do online, performing live is a totally different experience because everyone is there together. I miss being on stage and having that interaction.

“But if I can’t get into a venue, I will do something online, I’m up for the challenge. I think the next best thing is live sessions on Instagram for previewing the tracks.

“I would like to push for more radio play as well as live performances,” says Sophielou.

See www.sophieloumusic.co.uk or follow Sophielou on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @SophielouLife

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