The Secret To Writing A Pop Smash
Mar 10, 2015
After penning hits for some of pop’s biggest stars, like Britney Spears and Ke$ha, L.A. singer and songwriter Sophie Stern decided to strike out on her own. Judging from the fact that her ear-wormy EP, Schmixtape, is still on loop in our heads nearly half a year since its release, it was definitely the right move. Fresh off a recent split from her label (she’s now independent), the frontwoman of Sophie and the Bom Boms has just released the band’s latest single “Power.” It’s an in-your-face pop anthem, stocked with killer – and not-so-subtle – lyrics like, “Power, money, make the whole world act funny,” all set to an irresistible beat. On the day of the video release, Stern phoned in from London to share her excitement and reveal the secret to the ultimate pop song.
Tell us about “Power”!
I’m really excited for everyone to hear “Power.” I feel like it represented me, just the attitude and the message behind it; it’s really just something that I’ve wanted to talk about and is a really great representation of myself.
What’s the story behind the track?
I heard the beat and I thought it went so hard. I had been going through some personal things, and I just thought— well, there’s a lot of stuff going on in the world with power and money. I see it in the music industry, and people who have power or people who are around power, they just do funny things. The song itself came about pretty naturally.
What made you decide to stop writing for others and just do your own thing?
I never set out to write for other artists, actually. My life just ended up taking a turn that way, and so I gave myself to it for a few years. After a while I couldn’t do it anymore; I just felt like I had something to say. It was actually a trip to London when I felt everything was a lot more free and open over here. I needed to get out of the L.A. music industry. I figured it was now or never, and so when I went back home, I stopped writing for other people and started on my own album. It’s comfortable to stay at your day job, but I just couldn’t live with myself without following my heart.
After working with tons of pop divas and pursuing a pop music career yourself, we need to know: What is your recipe for the perfect pop song?
I love a good melody, and I love really poppy chords, but I feel like the coolest thing that comes out in pop music is when people reveal their story. Someone like Sia, as a songwriter or an artist, took off so much because she brought her own story and her own twist. That’s when I love pop music the most: When there’s something genuine or a real story behind it. Someone like Amy Winehouse might be considered pop music, but she’s taking from her heart, and that’s the coolest thing about it.
- SOPHIE STERN. SHOT BY MYLES PETTENGILL