5 Questions with Sophie Kilburn

PICTURE: Sophie Kilburn – press

First of all, how are you? What have you been up to lately?

Hello, I am good, you know. How are you? Well, I have been gearing up for the release of my next single ‘Broke’ that is now out in the world and have been finishing off the songs that will be on my debut My Room Made Public EP. Also, I have been starting to learn Spanish on Duolingo. So please wish me luck with both.

Listen to Broke while reading the interview:

Was there a specific moment in the past that made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in music? 

Well, I have been writing my own songs since I was 13, but being a professional singer-songwriter only really came about from losing my mother when I just graduated drama school. I have been obsessed with music my whole life, but that was the time where I fell into writing songs to try to cope with the situation, and that resulted in my wanting to pursue music as a career. It made me want to make music that would mean something to others, not just myself. Also, I did this songwriting and performance programme at Camden Roundhouse called OnTrack led by the amazing Eska Mtungwazi, who encouraged me to believe in my talent and carve a career out of it.

What are some of your influences?

There are so many! Florence and the Machine will always be up there as an influence for sure, as well as, Anna Calvi, who just blows my mind when I see her live. She is just a genius. At the moment, I am influenced a lot from female indie artists like Arlo Parks, Fenne Lily, and Phoebe Bridgers. Their songwriting is not generic but still relatable. Also, I think particularly in the past with female artists, there was this fear put on them to not talk about anything other than heartbreak, but now you see women releasing songs about all issues in life, not just romantic ones. You might judge me, but I really love Harry Styles’s new album. From the songwriting to the production, I think it is pushing mainstream pop to have more substance.

Sophie Kilburn – press

What’s the story behind your new track, “Broke”?

So I wrote ‘Broke’ only a few months ago actually. It was a song where it just came out. It was this realisation moment that I hadn’t really addressed the loss of my mother, and I just felt completely deflated in life. Even though she had passed away a few years before that, I just kept punishing myself for still hurting from it. I grew up in the north of England, where the mentality is ‘just get on with it’ and I couldn’t do that.

I was also incredibly frustrated on the music front because I had been waiting on empty promises from people in the industry to help me advance in my career with no fruition. After I finished the song, I took it to an amazing producer Jack Gourlay, who produced my official debut single Indigo Fever, and we worked on the song to strengthen the chorus, and suddenly, it became this anthemic song that was empowering whilst containing the emotional storytelling within it. The result is something I am very proud of, and I hope people love it as much as I do. 

Can you highlight a lyric from “Broke” that stands out as something special to you, and tell us why?

So a line that really stands out for me is ‘how I grieve for someone that lives’. This line actually came about in a conversation I was having with one of my housemates, completely unrelated to the context of the song, but I started to build the song around it. Then recently, when I was singing an acoustic version of Broke, the lyrics took on a whole new meaning for me. I thought it was about grieving the spirit of someone you love, but it was grieving my old self. Sorry, that is very deep, but I do write emotional songs, so it kinda makes sense to me. 

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