Although it was never easier to get music across, platforms like Bandcamp, Soundcloud and YouTube are so packed that it’s difficult to stand out. Nevertheless, some manage to gain a considerable audience and one of them is Soccer Mommy aka Sophie Allison with her personal bedroom pop.
The Nashville musician’s debut album Clean was released in early March and was preceded by several EPs and the compilation Collection. Recorded in a studio and with a full band, the LP takes the established qualities of Soccer Mommy’s music to the next level. As we previously already named Allison as one of the most promising artists of 2018 it’s about time for a proper introduction in the form of a short chat about her beginnings, the decision to be a full-time musician and its result. Here’s what she told us.
‘I always shared my music with my family and friends.’
I guess every musician, and basically everyone who creates something, experiences alternating waves of self-confidence and insecurity to some degree. This influences how you handle your work and most essentially, if you keep it private or if you share it with other people. Allison, who plays music since the age of five, is familiar to these waves as well: ‘I always shared my music with my family and friends. I actually got more private about it once I got into high school. I started only really playing it for close friends because I was more insecure about it. But at the end of high school I decided I wanted to start experimenting with recording and putting my music out for other people. At first, I would post stuff on tumblr and I would get some people I knew from the scene or from school giving me compliments now and then.’
The decision to be a full-time musician
‘ I felt like my career was really taking off and if I stayed in school I’d be holding myself back.’
As above mentioned a career in music or arts in general is not that easy and often goes along with many sacrifices (money, free time etc.). It’s not unusual that artists have additional jobs or start other careers to supplement their income. Only very few can eventually leave these jobs behind and focus on their art full-time. For Allison, the decision was between college and music and it wasn’t a difficult one it seems: ‘I decided to do music full time this past summer when I took a leave from school, but I had been more focused on music than college for almost a year before that. I felt like my career was really taking off and if I stayed in school I’d be holding myself back. Just knowing that I could be doing music full time was all I needed to take off school. There weren’t really any counter arguments for me.’
Lifte as a full-time musician
‘It’s very tiresome being a musician, and you kind of always have to struggle to survive.’
Travelling around the world, meeting interesting people, earning a lot of money – if you think this is what the life of a musician nowadays is all about, you better think twice. Of course there are the ones who made it, but the growing trend of music venues letting musicians ‘pay to play’ and the fact that most music is streamed (often underpriced) or (illegally) downloaded are just two reasons why especially the careers of small and independent musicians don’t look that bright (cf. our feature with Kraków Loves Adana).
‘It’s very tiresome being a musician, and you kind of always have to struggle to survive. Being a student is hard in its own ways, but you get to have a lot of fun too. Playing music is obviously fun but doing it for a career is really hard when you’re starting from nothing.’
Soccer Mommy is band now and the songs are not recorded in Allison’s bedroom anymore. Nevertheless, Allison still sees herself as a DIY artist (though she’s not really identifying with the many dudes writing about dude problems she got to know in the Nashville DIY music scene): She writes all the songs – and is inspired by moments that seem to captivate a specific feeling – and is involved in as much parts of the process as possible. She explains: ‘I still make all the music on my own so it’s not that different. The process for me is still very much the same. I think what I do is still pretty similar to DIY. I’m still just making music and doing a lot of work myself. I’ve just upped the production a bit.’
If Allison ever completes her degree at New York University or not: We’re happy that she is planning on ‘doing a lot of touring and press and working on new music‘ and are happily inviting you to enjoy the already released one right now.