I first came across ‘Friendly Ghost’ by Sonia Stein earlier this year and instantly fell in love with the engaging, exotic feel of it. She has recently released her first EP, Symbol. I was so captured that I got in touch with her and was lucky enough to get my first ever interview!
How do you begin to write a song?
When I write alone, it usually starts with a phrase that I really want to use. It’s usually some sort of idiom or cliché that I reverse or breakdown and find clever. I’ll usually sit down at my keyboard and build the song around that. Sometimes it ends up being just a small line in a verse, sometimes it ends up being the main lyric or idea of the song.
Do you see you see yourself as a singer/songwriter or do you find that an old fashioned term?
I definitely see myself as a singer/songwriter. The term used in the sense of a ‘genre’ is as confusing as the term ‘pop’ but just the fact that I sing and write my songs means that by definition, that is what I am.
How important do you think image is in the modern day or do you think that songs speak for themselves?
Unfortunately image has become more and more important, as everything we consume is now visual. I wish it wasn’t and personally try to keep the visual statements minimal, as an enhancement to the music as oppose to a whole other element. Identity should feel fluid but in the music industry one has to define it very early on, in order to stand out. It is very hard to pick exactly what you want to be seen as and feel comfortable with it for years to come.
Is it important for you to be a good role model for young girls?
To be honest, I haven’t thought about it in a bigger sense yet. Looking back at people I used to listen to, I always wanted to be a lot like them so it would be great to look back at my track record and feel like young girls could do what I did without having any regrets.
Do you think that being in a good relationship is essential for happiness?
No, I don ‘t think it is essential. I think the people you surround yourself with are a huge part of happiness and that includes family and friends and sometimes, a relationship.
A lot of your songs are about relationships, do you see yourself as a strong female?
Great question. I do feel like a strong female. There is a power and bravery that comes with letting yourself be vulnerable and it’s important not to confuse the now so prevalent term ‘feminism’ with being less sensitive and less in touch with your feelings. Music has always revolved around love and relationships, and I don’t think that women should feel like they can’t express that in the same way as men just to appear strong and independent. You can be strong and independent and still be affected by feelings of love and want.
Who did you listen to when you were in your teens?
I wasn’t as cool as I see teens today, listening to old 60’s and 70’s music. I remember being very into the first two Avril Lavigne records haha. And the band A Fine Frenzy really sent me on my first writing spree at 15.
Other than music, what do you feel passionate about?
I feel very passionate about food and nutrition. I love cooking and eating and knowing what is in my food.
Symbol has strong lyrics about someone not fulfilling their potential. Is this based on a family member or friend?
Symbol is actually aimed at politicians. It was inspired by the hope that a candidate symbolises at the time of a campaign, all the things that they promise, and the choice they make to either fulfil those promises once elected, or disappoint people who’s fate is dependant on them. I do like that it can be interpreted in terms of a friendship, family member or relationship too.
How important is it to be ambitious and fulfil your dreams?
It is very important to aim towards fulfilling your dreams and make sure you stick to your own definition of being ambitious.
Friendly Ghost is my favourite, will it be on the album?
I’m so happy to hear that, I love that song as well. I don’t know if it will make the album, I like the idea of having as many unheard tracks on a new release as I can and since it’s been online for over a year and available to download I might just leave it at that.
A huge thank you to Sonia Stein for being such a great interviewee, I can’t wait to hear the new album in 2015. I’m really hoping to go to her next London gig, and review it!
Links below to SoundCloud, FaceBook, YouTube(video for “Waiting”) and the Amazon link to purchase: