#PopularPlay: Sophie Strauss
May 25, 2020
Sophie Strauss is the type of girl that knows what she is doing and what she wants! With a huge sense of fashion and an amazing voice, the singer released her new song “Gone”, with an ’80s vibe that we fell in love with!
She is our Popular Play star for the day, and we are so glad to have her here!
1) Tell us about your new song “Gone”. What the song is about?
“Gone” is about that scary, amazing, reckless feeling of losing yourself to love. Sounds very cheesy, I know, but that’s it–it’s a love song. But I wanted to talk about love in a way that isn’t just sunshine and butterflies because that’s not what love is like. I wanted something that incorporates the fear and doubt and change as well.
2) Where did the idea for the music video come from?
The video is directed by my friend and long-time collaborator Gregory Kasunich. The song has such a nostalgic, the 1980s feel to it so we wanted to make a video that played into that without being too on-the-nose. I also thought it was only appropriate to have my actual husband, Brendan, star in the video since this is the first song I wrote about him. Shooting it with him made it 10x more fun and I think that comes across in the video–the emotions you’re seeing are real and I hope that resonates!
3) We heard you gave a VHS copy of your love song to your fans. How the idea of a VHS came up?
The VHS idea was entirely a crazy plot by my director Greg. He is someone who always goes the extra mile to make something special and unique and since the video plays into that 80s/90s nostalgia we thought it’d be fun to make merch that went along with it. Greg did everything and it was an unbelievably complicated process to get the artwork and tapes and actually upload the video footage onto the VHS in a way that was playable. I’m not sure Greg would’ve been able to go through with it if we weren’t quarantined with lots of time on our hands, but he pulled it off and we ended up with something incredibly special. I now get to keep this really detailed souvenir of this experience forever…..even though I don’t have a VCR to play it on!
4) You are so authentic and musically gifted. What are your inspirations in music?
Thank you so much! I grew up listening to a lot of folks, blues, and Americana—Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison–and I think that style of music lends itself really easily to authentic storytelling. So even though I don’t really write folk music anymore, the sensibility of trying to directly communicate a feeling or idea comes organically because I spent so long thinking about how these great musicians were doing it. As for what I’m listening to right now….the new Fiona Apple record, Hop Along, Jenny Lewis, Ama Lou, Solange, Laura Marling, Diana Gordon….basically just brilliant women on repeat.
5) You have an eye for style! Where do you get your style inspo from?
I’m blushing! I’ve always loved fashion — which baffled my parents who couldn’t care less about clothes or makeup and didn’t really know what to do with me and all my barbies as a kid. I remember my dad had to paint my sneakers with glitter paint when I was four years old just so I would wear them. I worked in fashion for a while, mostly at boutiques and vintage stores and a little bit of buying–I think what I love so much about it is honestly very similar to how I approach writing music, which is that it’s just another form of communication. Of letting the world know how I feel and how I want to be perceived at that moment. And I love that there are no rules, so it’s all just up to you and how you want to have fun with it. It’s very creative. I’m also lucky that one of my dearest friends, Claudia Cassina, owns this incredible store called Desperate that carries only independent female designers and that I get to play dress-up with all her amazing stuff and incorporate it into my shows and videos.
6) Is there anything about yourself that you want to tell us?
Follow me on Instagram and listen to my music, please! No, but really, I hope everyone is doing alright. This is a really difficult and unprecedented time to be a human being and it’s okay to be gentle with yourself. You don’t have to write a novel or finish your screenplay right now–I know I wish I were writing a song a day and generating a ton of “content” but that’s just not actually important. Productivity isn’t important. It’s enough to just be taking care of yourself and the people around you. The only responsibility you have right now is to be paying attention to the people who are being left behind or left unprotected by our society in this difficult time. Pay attention to the people that are forced to work in unsafe conditions or choose between buying food and paying rent. Pay attention to the people who have been laid off and lost their health insurance at a moment when they might need it most. You don’t owe it to anyone to finish a big project, but we owe it to each other to take note of the way our community is not caring for our most vulnerable neighbors because it’ll be our job to make sure we do better going forward.
7) Do you have any upcoming projects or future plans?
I’m just going to keep writing and playing and making stuff, when I can! The world feels very uncertain right now so relying on a concrete plan seems foolish. I have been playing lots of little virtual concerts on Zoom and Instagram, so I’ll definitely keep doing that. Music is bringing me a sense of purpose and calm during quarantine, so I have no plans to stop.