Interview with Sophie Holohan, a 17 year old Singer/Songwriter!

Sophie Holohan is a 17-year-old singer/songwriter from San Jose, CA. She has been writing songs for as long as she can remember, and has recently released her debut single, “Orange”, which has surpassed 80,000 streams on Spotify. She is excited to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston in the fall to continue to develop her performance and songwriting skills.

Interview by Daania Sharifi

Could you start of by introducing yourself to the readers?

Sure! My name is Sophie Holohan and I am a 17-year-old singer/songwriter from the San Francisco Bay Area in California.

Nice to meet you Sophie!

Nice to meet you too!!

So how did you first get into writing music? Did you start singing in a choir, independently, or what? When did you figure you really loved singing?

I first got into writing music when I was really little, around the age of five. My family was extremely musical growing up, and my mom worked at a theatre with her best friend during the summers of my childhood. My dad was also in a local band during my early childhood, so music was an extremely important part of my life. I grew up in musical theater and started learning how to play the guitar at age 9, and it was then that my mom encouraged me to start a YouTube channel. I did choir throughout middle school, and I think middle school is when I started taking music really seriously, and I started sharing more of my original music with people through Instagram and YouTube. I first started writing music as a fun, creative pastime, but now I see it as a way to help myself deal with things that I’m going through in my life in a healthy way.

What’s your favorite part about songwriting?

I think that my favorite part about songwriting is the freedom that I feel when I’m doing it. I’m usually very judgmental of myself in most areas of my life, and I usually hold myself to a very high standard. When I’m songwriting, I just let myself dump all of my thoughts on the page without judgement, which is an incredible feeling. I also love being able to connect with others through my songs. It’s a wonderful feeling when people tell me that my music has helped them in some way, or that a lyric has resonated with them.

Who is your biggest inspiration? What’s so inspiring about them?

I think that my biggest inspiration is Adele. She writes music from her pain in a way that is so honest and beautiful, and she is also so unabashedly herself. Her tone is also so gorgeous, and she inspires me to be a wittier songwriter whenever I listen to her music.

If you could ask her one question, what’d it be? Why?

Ooo.. that’s a really hard question. I think that I would ask her about how she is able to be so open and honest about her life in her music when the whole world is watching her. How is the able to be so authentic and stay true to herself after so many years in the music industry?

Who is your biggest supporter?

That’s a really hard one...I’m so lucky to have so many incredible people in my life that support me in my music. My family is incredibly supportive of my music, as my dad helps me produce my songs, and my mom and sister always encourage me to put my music out there. My friends are also so incredibly supportive, and they always share my music which means the absolute world.

Love that! So how have you been coping with quarantine? What do you do to past time? Have you written any recent songs?

I have been doing the best I can, but I think that my emotions have kind of been on a pendulum. Since I’m a senior in high school, it has been really hard to not get those moments that I have been waiting for for years, but my friends and I have been trying to stay connected to the best of our abilities. We’ve had a bake-off, and we do weekly trivia nights to stay connected, which has been super fun. In terms of music, I’ve been writing a lot, actually! I’ve written quite a few songs about quarantine in terms of loss and isolation, but I’ve recently been working on a project to write songs for other people. I’ve been spending my time writing songs based on people’s stories that they’ve sent me, from trying to learn to love oneself, to trying to get over a breakup. Writing songs for other people has been really fun, because the people that I write the songs for are always so incredibly grateful and kind. Overall, quarantine has been challenging, but I’ve found ways to stay connected —- both socially and musically.

Have doing songwriting and singing affected what career you are interested in the future?

Yes! I’m actually committed to Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA where I plan to study songwriting and vocal performance. Though I’m not expecting to be a pop star by any means, I couldn’t imagine my life without music being in the center of it, whatever that means career-wise.

What’s the big goal/dream?

I think my goal is just to have people enjoy my music or have it help them in some way. It could be ten people, it could be ten million. Either way, as long as my music means something to someone, then that would be the dream. Paying the bills would be great though, too, haha.

What’s some advice you have for teen singers who want to do the same as you?

I think my best advice is very simple but super important: just start doing it. Put yourself out there. Start writing even if you’ve never written a song before. The first songs may not be good, but eventually you’ll write something that you’re really proud of. Sing whenever you can. In the shower, in the car, at an open mic, wherever. Don’t worry about whether or not you’re good enough, just have fun doing something that you’re passionate about.

What advice do you have for teens in general about life?

I think the best advice I have is to try your best to do what you’re passionate about instead of what people expect of you. I convinced myself that I wanted to be a lawyer for a really long time because music isn’t a career that is stable or easy, but I wasn’t passionate about it. Even if you can’t make it a full time job, take the time to do the things that you’re passionate about, even if that’s just on the weekend

s or during weeknights. It is so important to allow yourself to do the things that you love.

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