Sophia Bel #MONTREAL
Like many artists of Montreal, Sophia Bel jumped straight into the art scene and made her unique space for herself. Bel’s music is made up of soft instruments, chill beats, and combined with her dreamy yet uncanny voice in what is known as “trip hop”. To further take listeners to the edge of melancholy, Bel writes her lyrics filled with sullen and immense imagery, most notable in her song, Shades of Blue, where she revisits the emotions felt after a break up. Shades of Blue and her other hits will surely be a good addition to any “heart break” playlist.
In this episode, we take this Quebec City girl out to figure out what makes her tick, what makes her music, and what the Montreal scene is through her eyes.
How did you get into music?
I’ve been into music since I was a baby. I remember singing with my dolls, I don’t even know if I could talk yet. And the first song that I would sit in front of the radio and repeat was the song from “Titanic” which I saw when I was four. I was obsessed with that Celine Dion song! And then when I was five, I would sing all the Britney Spears songs. I would just lay next to my radio and look at the ceiling and sing. That’s when the dream started - when I was about four or five years old.
If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
I would probably be pursuing another type of visual art. Lately I’ve been really into makeup and I like painting as well. I also like fashion design, so it would probably be something in the arts, maybe something more visual.
what is shades of blue about?
It’s a song that I wrote after a break up, kind of coming back into finding myself and finding my own center, and just being comfortable being alone again. That song is kind of like a hope for the future - feeling hopeful but also feeling comfortable in the state that you’re in.
I wrote it in Montreal with my good friend Cri, and my good friend Tim who also produced it. We were just jamming in the studio and we actually wrote it in the middle of the night. It was just this big bubble of inspiration that came over us. It was very natural and therapeutic for me.
what are the three key words about shades of blue?
Ethereal, melancholy, hopeful.
how does montreal influence your music?
I’m from Quebec City, and it’s much more of a corporate city in a sense. For me, coming to Montreal really helped me get to know myself and be myself. I’ve met so many artists here because there’s just so much talent here, so many talented people to work with. The Montreal scene just really helped me to come into myself and get to find out who I want to be in a more comfortable place, surrounded by artistic people.
Montreal has definitely affected my sound and my direction because it’s just so much more free. There’s so much more diversity. I mean, I’m from a little suburban bubble.
what kind of artists are you listening to right now?
I don’t think I could pick a favorite artist. I really like listening to trip-hop from the 90s and early 2000s. I like a little drum and bass, Prodigy, Moby. I like pop artists that were in the hip-hop era, so like Avril Lavigne, Dido, stuff like that.
What do you think about the current state of music?
I think everything is bound to change. We saw it with vinyls to CDs, and now it’s transitioning to the streaming stage. I don’t think streaming is a bad thing, because instead of just buying the album once, they can listen to it over and over again, and you can end up making even more money if you have a great hit. I think it’s just about finding a way to do shows, sell merch, but it is hard. I think it’s always been hard. It’s definitely more saturated now because everything is more accessible to people, but if it wasn’t accessible to produce music in my bedroom, I think it would be harder to be discovered. It’s the yin and the yang of life. You get some, you lose some.
what are some of your favorite places in montreal?
My favorite spot in Montreal is called Jerry Park. It’s just a park with a beautiful lake and some weeping willows. You’re just chilling in the willows close to the water and there’s ducks and birds, and you can just bring a blanket and some friends.
There’s this place called Le Rogue Gorge, and they have this really long wine list where you can try all sorts of wine. I really like to go out and drink wine. Or I really like this place called Larry’s, it’s a little English place, also with some good wine.
What’s next for you?
Right now, my plans are to just keep producing songs, and then hopefully one day I’ll have a repertoire that I’m proud of. Then I can focus on touring and stuff like that. Right now, I feel like I’m still in the creation stage.