Five Questions With… Anna Sofia
The teen pop singer/songwriter is making a mark with her major label debut EP. Here she reflects upon its creation, the message of focus track Self-Aware Bitch, homeschooling, future goals, and her love of Benee.
By Jason Schneider
Through a pure perspective only an insider could possess, 16-year-old Toronto singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Anna Sofia threads together the unpredictability of 21st century genre-bending narrative pop with the scope of a classic ‘90s teen flick on her recently released debut EP, Self Aware Bitch (Electric Feel/Republic Records/Universal Music Canada).
It was only last year that she began turning heads with the indie singles Meaner Girl and I Try, racking up over two million streams and being hailed by outlets such as Complex as “a prodigious new talent.” It led to a deal with Republic Records, and some intense work in the studio that is also forming the basis of a full-length album later this year following the EP.
Her current success is something Anna Sofia has been working toward since she was a child, starting with competitive dance when she was three years old, to singing at community events and performing in plays in her hometown of Blue Mountain, Ontario. She began piano lessons at age four, eventually picking up ukulele and guitar. Inspired by everyone from Queen and Elton John to Tyler, the Creator, Rex Orange County, and Mac DeMarco, Anna Sofia continues to craft a signature style in the spirit of boundary bashing contemporary pop.
What's the message behind the track Self-Aware Bitch?
Self-Aware Bitch is a high school in one song. Kids are influenced by social media and brainwashed to look and be a certain way. This effects teens and how they look at themselves and treat their bodies. These kids try to brainwash more kids into thinking like them and it keeps going and going. Being a self-aware bitch means knowing who you are and standing by your true self. Everyone is their own person. Sure, we aren’t perfect, but nobody is. I have realized through high school that you can’t let anyone change you because you’re cool in your own way. If anyone tries to change you, do me a favour and cut them off!
What was the process like making your new EP?
The process was very smooth. This was my very first writing experience, and I had so many things to talk about. Every session was a good one and we got exactly what we wanted. The writing process also brought my producer Jeff Hazin and I closer and closer. Jeff and I are now best friends and it works in our favour. I am super open with him and talk about everything with him, which always helps us create and helps us communicate without upsetting anyone. I was so excited to start writing music that my ideas just flew right out of me and five hours later we had a song.
How are you balancing your music career with other aspects of your life, like school?
School is really important to me. In the future, I would like to work on entertainment law—dealing with record deals and artist’s money. I have taken the courses I need to get into a law program, however, I take them through homeschool. Being absent all the time from school is extremely difficult and I learned the hard way. I got terrible marks and never knew what was going on because I was never there. Yes, I did ask for help, but out of a class of 40 it’s hard to get the help I need. I switched to three classes through homeschool and one class at school and find life is so much easier. I can finally focus on music with no stress while getting the marks I need.
What are some of your goals for the coming year?
I come from a very small town outside of Toronto. I have travelled many times before but I want to travel and see the world while doing what I love to do. I have been performing my whole life, whether it was through piano, dance, acting, or singing. I want to get back out there and share my music with the whole world and meet people who have heard of my music before. I also want to see more of the world and learn about the history of different countries while I’m out there. I love world history.
What song by another artist do you wish you had written?
SUPALONELY BY BENEE! OMG, I LOVE HER!!!!! Benee is a Republic artist as well. I started listening to her a few months ago and instantly fell in love with her vibe. Supalonely has so many cool elements and little things that make the song so damn amazing.