FeminINDIE Cover Artist: Sophie Hanlon
After over 3,500 submissions and 13,000 votes there was one artist left standing to take the title of FeminINDIE Cover Artist…Sophie Hanlon. This solo artist from Sydney, Australia blew us away with the range and different styles of music represented in her music.
While she classifies herself as “Progressive Pop,” the twelve tracks on her soon-to-be-released (no date set yet) album Chemical Girlfriend show that she can spread her wings and be successful in many places. Her love of film scores is evident on tracks like “My Dark Crusade” with the big sound the choir-like backup vocals and piano provide. It almost sounds like it should be in a James Bond movie.
“Chemical Girlfriend” starts slow with Sophie’s distinct voice demanding that you pay attention. Just as she pulls you in, the song kicks it up a notch and her pain is clear when she yells “why can’t that be me?”
The rest of the album is a great mix of indie-inflected pop tunes that wander across the music spectrum the way a dancer glides around the stage. Keep an eye out for a release date and prepare yourselves. Sophie Hanlon is coming, and we should all be a witness to the arrival.
Sophie took some time to answer our questions for Wordkrapht readers. Come get to know her before everybody else does…
In reading your bio, it tells quite a tale. Who is Sophie Hanlon?
I grew up in North of England and was born in Manchester; a lot of my family are from that Greater Manchester area. I lived in Haworth, and I don’t know if you know that area but it’s a small village where the Bronte sisters (Charlotte and Emily) are from. So that was quite idyllic really, I was near the moors and we used to walk there a lot, it was very inspiring. They had 1940’s themed weekends and Spitfires and Lancaster bombers would fly overhead and we’d dress up which was wonderful. I moved to Sydney when I was about 15 and began gigging in the city. I’ve always done music, I’ve always written songs, my Dad was a huge influence in that way.
What do you want to say to your fans, old and new, who voted for you in this contest?
A massive thank you! Every artist would be nowhere if it wasn’t for their fans and the people that support them. All of the people who supported me throughout this competition and beyond are very special and important to me.
You are currently in the middle of a fan-sourced campaign to raise money for your debut album. How is it going so far?
Very well, I am almost there! I have organised a number of fund raising shows where people are able to pledge on the night, these have been a lot of fun. The money raised from the Pozible Campaign will go towards the promotional costs of the album. It is one thing to write, produce and record songs and film clips and I can just about self-fund these creative aspects of my career, but marketing is something that every artist needs if they want to be heard. Through the support that people have shown me during this campaign, I am able to get this album heard.
I try to keep the development of my music as organic as possible. Most of the time I have a clear idea about the production aspects of a track, but I also love to be inspired by the ideas of others. I don’t worry too much about making sure I stick to a specific ‘genre’.
Is it entirely a solo effort or is there a writing partner or producer that you work with?
Yes I work with David Skeet who produced the record. We had a lot of fun recording the album and through the process he has become a very close friend. Maybe it’s the fact that we are both English and even though I’m from the North and he’s from the South we come from very similar places musically and our synergy worked well when in the studio.
We’ve covered a few Australian artists and there seems to be a really great music scene in both Sydney and Melbourne. Is that truly the case or just an outsider’s view?
There have been some great acts out of Australia who majorly put Australia on the map. There’s definitely a positive future for the music scene here and I feel there is a desire for other great new artists to emerge.
From a live scene perspective, I feel like Sydney could be leading by example, but we need another dozen venues around the inner city. Don’t get me wrong though, there are a lot of great places, like Oxford Art Factory and The Soda Factory and I have noticed a couple of new gigs popping up in the East.
Another really positive thing about Sydney is the level of musicianship. I noticed that even compared to London, musicians here can definitely hold their own.
When was that moment when you first realized, “this is what I want to do” and what created that inspiration?
I have always dedicated my life to music. I come from a musical family with an Irish background. There’s never been anything else that I’ve even thought about doing. I don’t know what I would do if it wasn’t music…
What has been your biggest struggle in your music career so far and what are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the wonderful connections that I have made with people, particularly with David Skeet who produced the record. The most important thing for me is to retain strong friendships with people along the way as well as have fun with others and have a laugh. I think people sometimes forget the connection between comedy and music. It’s an English thing I guess. George Harrison always said he thought Monty Python carried on the spirit of The Beatles.
When you’re not working on your own music, who are you listening to?
I listen to a lot of film music. I am very inspired particularly by film composers from the Golden Age of cinema such as Dimitri Tiomkin and Enrich Korngold, as well as more recent composers such as Jerry Goldsmith and John Barry. I draw a lot from their music and find them very inspiring to listen to.
What is it like being an independent female artist in the music industry?
Without a major label behind me I do have creative control over my music and marketing and feel that everything I present as an artist is true to my vision. This is very important to me, however, at times it can be hard work.
Artist Name: Sophie Hanlon
Location: Sydney, Australia
Genre: Indie Pop
Members: Sophie Hanlon