Sofia Lafuente releases her eagerly anticipated second EP today and it’s already starting to turn heads. The Independent championed her single ‘Religion’ and the lead single from the EP ‘Are You Listening’ was released to widespread critical acclaim.
Sonically, this new EP seems to be a step towards an even more authentic sound, picking up so many of the positives from her earlier releases but taking them to a new level. A slight shift in musical direction but maybe a bigger shift in the artist’s approach to the future.
The pandemic and its subsequent lockdowns affected song writing in so many ways, but for many it was an opportunity to take stock, focus on direction and due to having to write and create remotely, a chance to experiment musically and really collaborate with other artists.
This was an opportunity to decide what kind of artist you wanted to be and this resultant EP is filled with contemporary sounds, honest song writing and real certainty, maybe drawn from being written during a time which was so uncertain for us all.
I guess sometimes when things are so up in the air, it’s important to know where you’re going to plant your feet and with this EP, Sofia makes a huge statement. It’s an EP filled with quality and will provide the perfect launchpad for this exciting talent.
Being born in the United States and raised in London by her American father and Spanish mother, Sofia has been exposed to so many influences and that is why her music feels so accessible. She obviously enjoys the thrill of experimentation with her music and that feeling of not being boxed into any particular genre is what makes this artist so exciting for me as a writer and music lover.
Sofia says she is inspired by the drama of Kate Bush, the undeniable charm of Stevie Nicks and the confidence of Shakira; all strong individual women that have been unafraid to be different, to be exciting and be able to always surprise their audience. Sofia Lafuente’s music is moving in that direction and this EP feels like a real statement of intent to me.
A significant episode of surgery on her back at the age of 13 meant that Sofia picked up a guitar as part of her mental and physical coping mechanism.
She says: “I picked up a guitar because it was the only thing I could do in a back brace! Songs just started coming out of me. I needed an outlet”
By 14, Sofia was performing live and quickly got herself into writing and studio sessions. This long affinity with how therapeutic music can be is hugely apparent when you see Sofia play live. I was lucky enough to catch her in a stripped back session at St Pancras Church where the acoustics gave flight to her stunning vocals and beautiful lyricism with just a guitar and a rapt audience. Listening to the tracks now, on the EP, feels like looking at a painting that has been mounted and framed and is hanging in a gallery and are in their fully formed state but I will never forget the stunning simplicity of hearing those songs in the way they were probably conceived with a girl, a guitar and a huge talent.
Speaking of the EP, Sofia says:
“Nearly all the songs were written completely remotely which was a crazy new experience when working on a project, but I think it definitely made the project a more reflective one where I was looking back on the things I valued and wanted in that moment. When I listen back I think I was experimenting with sounds a lot more being inspired by artists like Caroline Polachek and Christine & The Queens, but the actual song writing feels more introspective and actually more hopeful than my previous work. I think in a way writing these songs helped me cope with the complete uncertainty of the situation we were all in”
‘Habits’ sees Sofia embrace her Spanish heritage, with two of the EP tracks sung in both English and Spanish. The feel of the music is certainly darker and possibly more sensual than previous releases and the move towards mixing English and Spanish showcase a wonderful ability to convey her innermost soul and emotions in musical form. Recently, Steven Spielberg insisted on making his reimagining of West Side Story bi-lingual and un-subtitled in deference to America’s second language and I think the two bilingual tracks, ‘Religion’ and ‘Are You Listening’, will particularly play well in America but with most secondary children starting to learn Spanish in the UK, it will be a fun way to mix music with education.
EP cornerstone track, ‘Domestic Bliss’, feels like the climax of a movie, but whilst it feels cinematic in scope, it also feels incredibly personal.
“It’s a look back at a time when I first met my partner. The excitement, the hope but also the complete question mark as to how it was going to work, especially dealing with distance and a pandemic. It was my way of capturing that feeling of a positive ‘what if?’ Instead of uncertainty giving you anxiety, using it as a reason to live fully in the present”
And therein lies my feeling about this EP; if uncertainty scares you it can sadly lead to anxiety but if uncertainty makes you feel the flutter of excitement, then that can be a positive. This EP wraps up all those feelings, puts them beautifully into words and sets them to music. It’s a stunning sophomore EP and I can’t wait to hear the first album.