We got to chat with Munich-based singer-songwriter Sophie Hallberg around the release of her beautifully soulful new single, “You’re not the One”, in light of her forthcoming EP.
– Congratulations on the release of your new single, “You’re not the One”! Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind this song and how it fits into your forthcoming EP
“You’re not the One” initiated a general mental shift that had been brewing for years. Most notably, the musical separation from my sister, but also the end of life periods with people who have influenced me over the years. “You’re not the One” was the first song I wrote without my sister, and the first time I made the conscious decision to take a step towards my solo project. Now the song is one of 5 songs on my EP “Criminal” that all deal with the subject of escaping the familiar in order to grow.
– Your musical journey started at a young age, with classical piano and singing. How has your musical background influenced your current sound and style as a singer-songwriter?
I was strongly influenced by classical piano, mainly by Bach. When I wasn’t playing his music myself, you could hear his fugues, minuets and inventions from everywhere and all the time in our former very open and brightly-listening parental home. I’m not sure if classical piano music really influenced me that much, more likely it taught me the basics. I think what really brought me closer to the instrument and the process of writing was the limited and confined room of practicing and rehearsing and the constant desire to break free. I always thought „That’s not how you do it”. And sometimes I still catch myself thinking that today. The fact is, as soon as I gave myself the freedom not to go the conventional way, I was writing melodies, elaborating them and i fell in love with losing control – that’s what really brought me joy.
– You and your sister Lena founded the band “Sweetlemon” and achieved significant success with two albums and numerous performances. What led to the decision of pursuing your own musical path as Sophie Hallberg while continuing the duo project with your sister?
It was a combination of different circumstances. Lena and I started making music together pretty early and played many live concerts with our duo project “Sweetlemon”. After the release of our second album in 2019, we realized that we both not only developed an individual way of living, but we also developed the musical urge to implement our own thoughts and ideas. Now we are independently expanding our horizons. Lena is writing her own music for her indie solo project “Lener” and I am exploring my path as “Sophie Hallberg”. If our days should become brighter again at some point, I’m sure the sunrise will be even more beautiful.
– Your debut EP, “Criminal”, is set to be released soon. What can fans expect from the songs and what themes or emotions do you explore in the EP?
The “Criminal” EP, as my debut EP, generally embraces the idea of growth through escape. And I don’t talk about escape as avoidance, but escape as a source of development. Whether it be from mental structures, relationships or thinking patterns. To be honest, I’ve always had a strong need to not to stand out as a person and not to clash with anyone. I am really struggling to accept that I am simply not a loud attention loving performer. I think I am loud in a different way. I am presenting my music and my feelings to an audience that might not understand what I’m trying to say, might feel offended, bored or might make a fuss and combining these aspects seems to be one of my biggest tasks in life. With “Criminal” I start to break the iron.
– Are there any particular artists or musical influences that have had a significant impact on your own sound and artistry?
Leonard Cohen’s music has always touched my heart. Especially his very last album „Thanks for the Dance“. It’s in my opinion, unsurpassed in terms of honesty. Truthfullness is what I look for in music. I have always been most inspired by artists who expose their personality simply through their lyrics, melodies and minimal instrumentation and have the courage to open up completely without being blunt.