In Session: Sofia Corts

ALBANY – Some people take a whole lifetime to find their passion. For others, however? Folks like Sofia Corts find their drive at an extremely young age. Now, at just 17 years of age, the budding singer-songwriter is quickly developing a reputation as a force to be reckoned with. Since her initial single release of “Spring Cleaning,” the undeniably soulful artist has been ramping up her productivity. Those that know her keep coming back, and those that don’t, such as this interviewer a mere month ago, stay for more.

I had a chance to sit down with Corts this past week. What follows is our conversation.

Lucas Garrett: Thank you, Sofia, for sitting down today. How are you?

Sofia Corts: I’m good. How are you?

LG: Doing well, thank you. About a month ago, I heard this voice, and I thought, “Who is that?!”

SC: Hahaha.

LG: It ended up being you! I was very thoroughly impressed. Tell us a bit about yourself.

SC: I’m Sofia Corts. I’m 17; I’m an artist located in the Albany area of New York. I’ve been trying to find my sound; I’ve been recording music since I was 13, but didn’t release my first single until I was 15 – “Spring Cleaning.” That’s what really got things started. I attracted a management team through that song, and ever since then, we’ve been working to get myself out there and do the best I can to become an artist that I want to be.

LG: What does that mean to you? What is the artist you want to be?

SC: I want to be someone who people can just really get along with and understand. I think being an artist is my identity because everything I do is very artistic – the way I think is very artistic. I want to share that with the world, and I want people to recognize my talent and be able to connect with it. I like to write music that is not necessarily popular at the time, so recently, I’ve been writing music that is not so mainstream. I think I’m able to accomplish a nice sound, and I want to introduce people to new sounds and broaden their horizons.

LG: Where did all of these musical aspirations come from? Does it run in your family?

SC: Yeah. My family is very music-oriented. My dad is, locally, a legend here. He started a management group called Avid, and he did lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of events. He’s been around the country, and he’s been very involved with the music scene. My mom – she’s from Venezuela – has me wrapped up in all this Latin music. I get my rhythm from there. My aunt, she’s very into musical theater, and she’s what got me into theater myself. I’ve been doing theater since I was 5. My grandpa plays harmonica, and he’s really good. Overall, I think my family is very music-oriented, and it happened to pass down to me.

Sofia Corts with her band. Photo credit: Leif Zurmuhlen

LG: That’s awesome to hear that. What is your favorite band and/or genre?

SC: Favorite band? Oh, that’s hard. I’m more a genre person. I like more genres than I do specific artists. For bands, I really like ‘90s alternative. I like Green Day, the Dookie album – that’s a really good album. I like Plush, Stone Temple Pilots, all of those. My favorite artist, at the moment, is Raye. She’s a newer artist, and just had a hit song recently. Ugh, she’s something else. She can sing like crazy. Her songs, and the words she uses…the way she sings is so powerful and inspires me to have that soul.

I can alter my voice to make it sound like different genres… but I think, in general, my voice really resides with the soulful sound and R&B. That’s another genre I really like, R&B and hip-hop.

LG: When did you start playing the guitar?

SC: I started playing, I think, when I was 12. I had the guitar for a year until the next Christmas. I got it the Christmas before and didn’t touch it until the Christmas after.

LG: What made you pick it up?

SC: I’ve never been taught any instruments; I’ve never been how to do anything other than being guided through musical theater. I just picked up the guitar, looked up basic chords and songs that had those basic chords, and perfected them. For people that play guitar, you know that when you first play it, your hands get super messed up. Over time, you get the calluses, and it doesn’t feel like anything anymore.

LG: So, you clearly have a lot of passion in what you’re doing.

SC: Yeah.

LG: It’s inspiring today to see in the youth today. Not to sound like an old man, but I’m becoming one.

SC: Hahaha.

LG: What is one thing you want to get done this year that you haven’t gotten done? Do you have a plan, or is it one day a time?

SC: I have an overall plan. I won’t say everything, but I’m hoping, hoping, hoping to come out with this new single that I wrote about a year ago. It takes a while for these things to happen, especially with me being in high school still – I just started my senior year the other day. But I’m hoping to release a single before January. That’s the hope. Overall, I’m looking forward to performing more live shows and hopefully releasing an album, potentially, or an EP at least. That’s the goal, and it’s always been the goal.

Sofia Corts. Photo credit: Leif Zurmuhlen.

LG: As you know, the industry can be a very hectic thing to navigate. What is, if any, some advice you’d have to someone that is your age that wants to get into music?

SC: I’d say that you should just follow your sound. Don’t get swept up with the trends because if you’re trying to sound trendy, by the time you release something or by the time something comes out, that wave has already passed. The trend is over. They go by really quick in this day and age. Find your sound and make what you like. Don’t let other people define what your sound is, because at the end of the day, it’s your music. Your art. And, you should be able to control what you’re making, rather than having people tell you you can’t do this because it’s not fit for today’s sound, or not fit for today’s culture.

LG: We all, as artists, have different definitions for the word “success.” What does that word mean to you?

SC: I think success means you are doing what you love and you have people supporting you. I think that as long as you’re happy with what you’re doing, and you’re getting by a little bit – you’re making a little money off of what you love [laughs]. I think that’s success, and if you surround yourself with good people that really support what you do, at the end of the day, that’s really all you need. You need your passions, and you need company; you need friends and family. I think that’s what success is.

LG: It was wonderful talking with you today, and I wish you the best of luck with everything you’re doing.

SC: Thank you! You, too.

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