Home Arts & Culture New Jersey Music Spotlight: Sofia Khorosh aka Sof

New Jersey Music Spotlight: Sofia Khorosh aka Sof

by Amaris Pollinger
Sof Sofia Khorosh

In some alternate universe, Sofia Khorosh, aka Sof, is already a superstar. In this universe, I’m still wondering what’s taking so long. If you’re not listening to this New Jersey native, you should be. After spending years performing at local venues and watching her Britney Spears cover, “Criminal” go viral, Sof reinvented herself by dropping “Inertia” in November of 2019. Sof isn’t just a pop artist, she’s a genuine lyricist and raw vocalist. You only have to listen to her voice in “Inertia” to experience the very stagnation and depression the lyrics reflect. 

For me, “Inertia” resonates as the national anthem for every passionate creative battling their inner critic. While her follow up single, “Bloom” speaks of coming into one’s own, breaking away from what’s no longer useful, and pushing yourself towards some sort of divinity. No one has put this poetic torment into a pop song as honestly as Sof. 

I understand these consistent highs and lows, and the duality of how creatives view themselves. A topic in which we found mutual understanding, as we sat for our noon Q&A. Sof is as kind as I expected, with ice cream pink hair to match her spontaneity, something she admitted she relishes. That is only one layer of this talented soul. And don’t let it fool you, this girl is coming for the world—and I can’t wait.

I heard you mention in an interview with “About to Drop!” (Youtube channel) that you’ve been singing since a really young age, and your parents always supported you. Is there anyone close to you that hasn’t? 

You expect that the closer that you get [to your goal] the more that a certain friend group will support you. I’ve found that there are some friends that don’t necessarily vocalize their support, and that’s always hard to navigate. At the same time, they’re my friends and I value them, but it’s those kinds of relationships where I always feel torn because I’d like to feel supported by them. But at the same time, I’m not the type to be like: “Hey! You didn’t buy my merch, what’s up with that!?” 

Q&A with Sof

Ready to bloom, photo by David Ross Lawn

What about your creative process? Is there anything specific that inspires you, or does something sort of pop out of nowhere?

Sometimes it pops out of nowhere! I’ll find that if I’m allowing myself to sit in silence and to not be distracted and give myself some space to have my own thoughts that’s usually when ideas come in. With that being said, what inspires those ideas are my personal experiences. I have a hard time writing about things that I don’t relate to. 

I’ve written songs like that in the past, but my more authentic work comes from personal experiences. And that ranges from my relationships, both romantic and platonic, family, and mental health. That’s [mental health] something I’ve been very passionate about lately since it’s affected me deeply. Whenever I write something, whether it’s darker or lighter, I’m always calling back to a specific time.

Like with “Inertia,” when I wrote it, I was in a very bad place. But by the time I started finalizing it and getting into the studio, I was improving. So it became this weird duality where I had to channel this darkness in a time where I was feeling happier. 

“Bloom” and “Inertia” feel lyrically linked, yet coming from different stages in life. Can you talk about that creative transition a little bit?

Something that I’ve experienced in my life and kinda flip-flopped between is these polar extremes, where I’m either in a very somber place, or a place where I’m thriving and blooming. I wanted to write about that duality, and I wanted “Bloom” to come right after “Inertia.” I was very excited because I had just released “Inertia” and its music video, which I was really proud of. I was getting a lot done and heading into the studio—I almost felt manic! Then COVID hit, and it was like, “What now? What do I do!?” 

I had actually been working on another song, “Movement,” that was supposed to be the original second single after “Inertia,” and it was meant to be the antithesis. Like, “Inertia” was reflective of how I was staying still, being completely stagnant as a person, then here’s “Movement,” and I’m starting to get going. It’s the opposite! But, because of COVID, I found myself trying to figure out what it was that I was supposed to be doing next. I didn’t have access to a studio; I couldn’t see anyone, and I was really uninspired. Then in the spring, I was laid off, so I was faced with: “Okay, now I have no excuse not to work on music.”

So I started working out, eating healthy, doing all these different routines that I had always wanted to implement into my life but always made an excuse for. From all of that, I was inspired to write “Bloom.” It was spring. I felt that as a person I was blooming. It all came together in this transitional period where I had started out stationary but started seeing results little by little.

What are some of your musical influences? You describe yourself as “alt-pop,” so I imagine your influences vary across genres.

I find myself influenced by a lot of different artists and genres, so when it comes to writing, at times, I’ll have a hard time pinpointing where I want the song to live, what soundscape I want the song to have. That’s why I feel like so many people have said that “Inertia” and “Bloom” sound very different from each other. And then there are certain elements that I really wanted to keep. I love synths and a really nice, driving beat and fun bass line. 

[As far as artists go,] I love Lorde. She’s one of my favorite songwriters. I love how she can tell a story and paint a picture in a way that feels unique. I feel the same way about Billie Eilish, and I think it’s funny when people who aren’t necessarily musically inclined, comment about how “she just whispers,” Ugh. She’s doing so much more than that! I also love Tyler the Creator and Frank Ocean. Really I’m just always looking up to artists who do something in their work that isn’t anticipated.

I love it when you hear a chord in a song and it’s just like, “Oh, where did that come from? That’s a little weird!” I love when an artist does something weird with their voice that you’re not expecting. All of those little, subtle things that add up to this new product. Basically, any artist that makes their own world, I really like. 

You describe “Bloom” as a “celebration of self-love, sexuality, and personal growth.” Is that the overall theme for your future EP, or is “Bloom” a stand-alone in that regard?

I think that “Bloom” captured a moment in time. I do have an EP in the works, and those ideas are definitely encompassed at least personal growth. Not so much sexuality.“Bloom” is probably the only song where I ever really delved into that topic. I’ve always been a lot more careful with anything risque, so “Bloom” was sort of my jump into something I had never done before.

But as for the EP, the theme surrounding that is self-improvement and growth. But it also explores the opposite end of the spectrum, like deterioration, sadness, depression, anxiety—all these things that make me who I am. As artists, we have this tendency to romanticize ourselves. We look at ourselves and think: “Oh, I’m always bubbly and happy! I’m just always great!” But no human being is like that. There’s this polarity that exists within all of us. You can be the nicest person but still hurt someone. So I really want to explore these oppositions on the EP.

Speaking of that, is your EP coming out soon, or is that a secret?

Next year! It was supposed to be released this year, but with COVID and everything happening, it just pushed everything back in a way I wasn’t expecting. But definitely in 2021!

Do you plan to stay in New Jersey?

Eventually, my plan is to end up in California. I want to get out of New Jersey as soon as I can. I’ve been living here since I was two… I’ve played every show there is to play. I love it here, I have all my friends and family here, but something I’ve always wanted to do is uproot, everything—move to a new city where I know absolutely no one and just start fresh! 

I do think everyone should leave their hometown. Whether they move out, or they stay but travel extensively.

I fully agree! I think that’s something that I’ve really struggled with: feeling trapped here. But I love change! I think I’m the only person I know that loves change. I’m excited by the idea of change all the time, so in whatever way, I can make that happen soon, I’d like to do that. 

Despite COVID, do you have any live shows planned for the near future?

I made the decision to play it by ear as far as live shows go. I have an idea of what I want my live show to be when I do get back at it. I’ve really been working on building a full live experience, so I really want to wait until I have the opportunity to really engage people in the way that I’d like to. So, that won’t be for a little while I think, but I am hopping on a few live streams in the meantime; so you’ll see more of that. But as far as the whole Sof-show-whole-shebang that might be a little while longer. Ideally, I’d like to go on tour, so that’s a goal in 2021 or 2022. Whenever the world exists again!

Sof’s music video for “Bloom” is set to come out in October, and while there’s no official release date, she’s over the moon about it. For updates on Sof, merch, upcoming virtual shows and releases, you can follow her at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. And check out her website at Sofmusic.com

Main image by David Ross Lawn

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