Anna Sofia Releases Nifty NFT: Toronto singer and songwriter Anna Sofia has been performing for her entire life, initially as a dancer and pianist. She was actually a competitive ballet dancer, and she studied with the Royal Conservatory for piano.
“Then at around seven, my piano teacher started teaching vocal lessons,” Sofia says. “I had always sung, but nothing serious. But then I started doing it all in a mix – playing piano, dancing and singing. Church or school events, all of that fun stuff in the community. Around age 14, I started to write my own music, and slowly started to build my team around me and started to release music. We’re here now.”
“Now” is the dark experimental pop music that she has made her own. Her LET ME OUT I’M FREE! EP just dropped, and it’s an emotionally draining affair.
“I love to try everything out and make it my own, and make it cohesive with the rest of my music,” she says. “I think it’s got that pop origin, but there are so many other things that I try around pop. It’s 100% meant to be dark. It’s not meant to be nice. I didn’t want you to feel your best. I didn’t want the songs to be empowering. I wanted it to be an eye-opener. The entire EP talked about a point in my career where I felt heavily controlled by the industry. It was not a good time. This was me being able to tell it to the world, and be a little bit more honest with the people I’ve been sharing my life with. I’ve gotten a really good response to it.”
A great example is the “Cruel World” single, which Sofia describes as one of her favorites that she’s ever written. Again though, it’s not a jolly ditty.
“It’s really just about my experience with finally entering the real world,” she says. “This is my first year out of school, I moved in by myself and am doing my own thing for the very first time. It was just written about my take on first impressions of the real world. Honestly, it’s a rude awakening. It’s not pretty. It’s not great. I think this every day of my life – I look at other people around me and I think, ‘wow, we live every day and we try to survive.’ That’s so scary to me. We try to make money to survive, we try to get food to survive, shelter, and it’s a terrifying thing and people will do anything for those things whether it’s good or bad. So that’s what the song is about.”
The artist also has recorded a 15-minute short film to accompany the EP and, typically, it makes for pretty heavy viewing.
“It takes place in an insane asylum, and I am a patient that is being mistreated by the employees and facility, she says. “It’s supposed to be a metaphor for what I feel like I went through over the past few years with the music industry – going through all this stuff of feeling very trapped and feeling like I can’t be who I want to be, feeling controlled by everyone around me. The asylum has been a big theme around the whole EP.”
The EP was recorded during the COVID lockdown, but specifically when the bubbles started to reopen a little bit.
“I was very nervous during COVID – I didn’t see anyone until I was fully vaccinated,” she says. “So I kept it to a small bubble of my immediate family, and my writer and producer. So we wrote that in 10 months over that nervous period of time. When we wrote ‘Surround Me,’ that was one of the worst things ever because while we were writing they had just announced another lockdown. The day was ruined by that. It was all done in Toronto at my producer Myles Shwartz’s house, he goes by Losh, with my writer/instrumentalist Nick Ferraro. Just us three, and then we started to bring in other session plates and collaborators when the world started to open a bit more.”
Speaking of “Surround Me,” and very appropriate for this issue, Sofia has released that particular song as an NFT.
“For me, I’m still not 100% familiar with what an NFT is – the buying and selling, crypto currency and all that stuff,” she says. “I’m still very much learning what it’s about. It’s a very new community. The real reason I got into NFTs and all of that fun stuff was just to grow myself into another community. As an artist, I don’t see why another opportunity of a new community is something that we should stay away from. I wanted to hop onto it, as fast as I could. There could be people there that haven’t heard my music and this is where they’re gonna hear it. This is where I’ll grow new fans and meet new people. What I wasn’t expecting to happen was, my fans that have already been around are going into this NFT space. I didn’t even think that would happen and it did, so that’s really cool as well.”
The artist says that she didn’t necessarily think that “Surround Me” was particularly appropriate for an NFT release – she simply wanted to test the waters.
“I was like, you know what, we’re new here, let’s try it out,” she says. “What’s the worst thing that could possibly happen? I wanted to test my boundaries of what I could do with all of this NFT stuff. It went very well, and I’m surprised that it did that well. It was really an experiment. There was no real intention of this one’s going to be the one.”
She is planning on wading further into NFT waters though. Meanwhile, there’s an album in the works.
“We have a bunch of shows coming up,” she says. “I’m working on an album this year, so that’s going to be really cool. There’s no strict release date yet, but it’s definitely happening.”
Anna Sofia Releases Nifty NFT: Anna Sofia’s LET ME OUT I’M FREE! EP is out now.
Anna Sofia Releases Nifty NFT