Interview: Sophie Odira
Written by Kiersten Gerard
Sophie Odira is an up and coming artist from Hertfordshire, England. Having achieved major success on Tik Tok and recently having signed to Tinpot Records, Sophie is quickly making a name for herself. We were able to chat with her about her favorite songs, what she takes inspiration from in her writing, and the beauty of a well crafted drag performance.
How long have you been making music and how did you get into it in the first place?
As long as I can remember, I've always been into making music. I probably wrote my first song when I was very young, but the first proper song I wrote was when I was about 11 called “Envy.” I first started performing at open mics when I was 12. I'd do those every week and that was a nice little hobby/pastime of mine. I'm not really sure how I got into music, I’ve just always been drawn to it.
Who has had the greatest impact on your music career?
It was actually I think my mum who first suggested that we go to an open mic. I got my first electric acoustic guitar when I was 11 or 12 and I was sayin “I wanna perform I wanna perform” and she was like “I've heard about open mics, do you wanna do one of those?” and I was like “yeah! Sounds cool!” The first one I did I was very nervous and probably sounded pretty bad, but it's such a small family-like environment so everyone was really nice and supportive. I’d say everyone in that scene sort of encouraged me to keep going and keep making music.
In February you released your first single “Naked” on Spotify and it has since blown up- Did that surprise you?
Yeah for sure. It was thanks to Tik Tok pretty much. Like most people I've had a Tik Tok account for going on 2 years but I’d never really posted any of my music or anything to do with music at all, I'd do the little dances and the trends. It was just a fun thing to be on. One day I wrote a song and sent it to my group chat with a couple friends in it and said like “Haha look what I just wrote” and one of my friends was like “That seems like the type of thing that would do really well on Tik Tok because it’s a fast paced cute little ditty.” So I put it on Tik Tok and it got around 180k views I think. Half the comments were like “Release this now!!” So I released it!
Do you have any plans to release an EP or even an album any time soon?
Hopefully, yeah. I’ve actually just signed to Tinpot Records. I think I should be releasing a single soon. within the coming months. It’ll be one from my tik tok about having low standards. I'll be the first one to release with them!
If you looked at your life as a movie, what song would play during the credits?
That’s a hard question! Well I don’t know because it's not over yet. My life could suddenly turn really tragic and I’d want a really tragic song at the end. Right now I'm thinking “Vienna” by Billy Joel. I'm not sure why. Even though that’s quite sad, I really like it.
What song have you had on loop lately?
“Millionaire” by Kelis and Andre 3000. Good song
Who would be your dream collab(s)?
Maybe Billie Eilish. Love Billie Eilish. A lot of people are saying I remind them of Lily Allen, Lily Allen would be pretty cool. Yeah. Oh and Arlo Parks.
When you're writing lyrics do you have a specific theme you write about often?
I have found that what I write about is most often relationships. Relationship troubles, not wanting to be in a relationship, being in a relationship and it not being good, heartbreak, all those things, which I find quite funny because I’ve never been in a relationship. I think songs about love or heartbreak, I wouldn’t say they're easy to write but I would say they're easier to write about. If you turn on the radio most songs, whether they’re explicitly about love or not, will be “love” songs. You see there's a lot of examples of love songs in terms of lyrics and the cliches. So I think I incorporate a lot of that.
How has Covid impacted your music career?
If anything it’s propelled it to be honest. Before the pandemic I was going to open mics quite regularly and that sort of died down when school started getting busier. I haven’t been to an open mic in probably about a year and a half so I really miss that, I really miss performing. But if it wasn’t for Covid I probably wouldn’t have started posting on Tik Tok. I probably would’ve sang at open mics to get reactions ‘cause I feel like you need reactions to your songs to gauge how people respond to them, and gauge how you can write more songs like that. So I don’t think I would’ve posted on Tik Tok like that if it wasn’t for lockdown. Not that lockdown is a good thing, but it gave me time.
What is a song that can always bring you comfort?
"American Boy." Or "Gold Digger." Or any of Kanye West’s Graduation album. They just make me feel good.
You’ve been doing open mics for years. What is the strangest thing that’s ever happened at one?
This might’ve been the last open mic I went to before lockdown. I was outside talking to some people and I started chatting to this guy. He was like “Are you performing tonight?” and I was like “Yeah, are you?” We started talking and he mentioned he had a degree in music and he seemed really serious about it all. I thought, “Well yeah, he's going to be an amazing, really serious performance!” He was on before me so I went upstairs to get ready and he was on stage full drag. When I was talking to him outside he was in completely plain clothes like a dad. I went upstairs and he's in full drag, big black wig on, tights, could see his bum cheeks, it was brilliant. He just started doing this whole burlesque performance. His voice was brilliant, it just was not what I was expecting. Definitely one of the coolest/funniest things that’s happened. And I had to go on after him! Didn’t know how I was gonna top that.
What is some of the best advice you’ve received?
Not to do with music would be “Fall in love with yourself because you are the only person that is guaranteed to be around for the rest of your life.” If you can't stand to be with yourself then you’ll be miserable. That’s my favorite piece of advice. For music, I've got two that are completely opposite of each other. One is “Always have a backup plan” and the other is “Never have a backup plan.” I've lived by both of them. I’m still in school, I'm planning to go to university and get a degree. That is sort of my backup plan but if my music suddenly takes off I will gladly drop that. Do whatever makes you happy. If you love what you do you'll never work a day in your life, that’s another one. Music is the only thing I could imagine doing for the rest of my life, it never feels like a chore. So there’s a mash of lots of advice.
Anything you’d like to plug?
I'm going to plug all my social media, I’m sophieodira on everything. Listen to “Naked” on Spotify and all streaming platforms, and keep your ear out for my next single. It’s called “Little Love” and it's about how sad it is that some standards are so low, but also keep your standards because that’s why we set them.
Keep up with Sophie by following her socials!