Sound & Vision with Sofia Wolfson

We get sent new music every single day. But, every so often, a new song drops into our inbox that really feels exciting.

Party Favours, the new self released single from 20 year old American songwriter, Sofia Wolfson, did exactly that. With hints of Phoebe Bridgers and Clairo, Wolfson is definitely one to keep an eye on. And she’s over in the UK for short tour later this month.

Catch her at lunchtime at at Rough Trade East in London on 15th June for a free show, or at The Lexington in the evening alongside Harrison Whitford and Katy J Pearson. Or on 16th June at Oporto in Leeds or 17th Jan in North Shields. These are her Sound & Vision picks:

Three Favourite Records:

Blake Mills – Blake Mills

I first discovered this record when I was in middle school and just starting to get serious about songwriting. On first listen, it sounded unlike anything I’d ever heard sonically, yet the songwriting had such a familiarity and comfort to it. For much of high school I continued to return to it. I feel like I learned how to write from it. This record taught me the value of concise lyrics while also encouraging me to expand my knowledge of the guitar. I didn’t want to just play four chords anymore, but instead wanted to find a way to more intricately accompany myself without overpowering the lyrics. This record has continued to follow me throughout my life – now I can’t feel calm on a plane without listening to it during take off. I think the most special records are the ones that soundtrack seasons or moments of your life. It used to be called Break Mirrors, but he renamed it on all streaming platforms to a self titled album – just to avoid any confusion.

Capacity – Big Thief

I will be the first to admit that I was a little late to the Big Thief game. A couple years ago, I caught them in Boston right when I moved out there for school. I was totally miserable and spending a lot of time in my dorm. A friend had recommended seeing them so I went on my first big outing off campus since moving. I never cry at concerts, even when I get to see my favourite bands, but I couldn’t help but get so emotional seeing them. I think there’s something incredibly special about going to see a band having never heard their music before. Capacity had just come out and after that show, I listened to it all the way through every day without fail. There is such a communal feeling to their music. Everyone in the band seems to be equally as valuable and giving in something so unique. My favourite song is Coma. There’s such a special intimacy about it.

Car Wheels on a Gravel Road – Lucinda Williams

My dad first showed me this album when I was really young. It became a soundtrack for road trips. Lucinda is one of my biggest songwriting inspirations because she has this incredible way of writing the greatest three-chord songs. Last year I got to see her perform the album in its entirety live and it reminded me of how cool those songs are. She inspires me to always be honest in my writing, even when it’s difficult to say something.

A favourite Film:

10 Things I Hate About You: It is impossible to choose a favorite film. I was tempted to go with something more mature or cool like telling you about how I grew up on Singing in the Rain and other Gene Kelly films but no, 10 Things I Hate About You does it for me. I can’t really tell you why I love this film so much. There’s something so uncommonly romantic about the whole thing. I feel like in a way I’ve always related to Kat. And I feel for how she is depicted by the world around her. And I cry every time she reads her sonnet. I don’t know what it is but it’s the most feel-good movie for me.

An inspiring book:

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love – Raymond Carver: I am an English Major in school so it is hard to pick just one, but Raymond Carver is who inspired me to study English. I find myself influenced by him when writing music, working lyrically to capture a small moment. His stories give such an intimate look into the daily lives of people. My favourite story in this collection is The Bath. I could talk about Carver all day.

One Song That’s Important:

California – Joni Mitchell

Blue is an album that changed my life, though I know many songwriters feel that way. This song in particular inspired me to start learning dulcimer and I used to cover it at shows. In my second year of college, I wrote a long final paper analysing this song and its resulting impact on songwriting culture. I love how plainspoken yet complex the words are, creating the perfect balance of storytelling and poetry. I love her performance in the recording. The vocal has so much emotion and longing behind it. I think the song itself is so universal, perfectly depicting the difficult feeling of being far from home.

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