Sophie Sanders is a country singer/songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee.
Sanders unveiled her debut single “Still Waters” (feat. Amy Grant) in July which premiered on Billboard.
She is now revealing her second single “Easy Enough”, off her upcoming project “Steep and Shining Spaces.”Written by Sanders and produced by Felix McTeigue, “Easy Enough” is a reminder that love doesn’t have to be so complicated.
"I’m singing to myself as much as anyone I’ve dated. I guess I haven’t found that one relationship that really is easy enough yet. But I think it’s out there. At least I hope,” expresses Sanders.
“Easy Enough” is now available.
Hi! I’m Sophie Sanders. I’m a songwriter who sometimes sings. Or a singer who mostly writes. Take your pick.
What’s your story?
I was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. My mom taught deaf students. My Dad, Mark D. Sanders, is a country songwriter. I have four lovely siblings, three of whom are half-siblings. I’m the baby, and I like it that way.
I studied Psychology and Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I thought I wanted to wander around the world for a bit then maybe be a therapist, so I joined the Peace Corps after college. I served in Indonesia teaching English from 2012-2013. In my down time, I practiced the little guitar I brought with me. I’d started trying to play in the months before leaving.
Long story short, while I was sitting on the other side of the world with a guitar in hand and song ideas in my head, I realized that I actually wanted to be back home, making use of those ideas. So, here I am, five years after my homecoming, still honing my skills. Lucky for me, writing sessions are like therapy sessions anyway, so maybe my initial career musings weren’t so far off.
Tell us a little bit about your childhood. What were you passionate about?
I guess you might say I was passionate about observation. I had a brother in the same grade as me who was loud as anything, so I took the backseat and watched things unfold. I played soccer, took piano lessons, did Girl Scouts— all the typical kid things. I didn’t discover a real passion until later. I was actually such a perfectionist at piano, making myself miserable practicing instead of having fun, that my parents let me quit. At some point, I discovered I loved writing. It was nice because I could get every little word just how I wanted it before anybody looked, and there was no performance involved. I remember English teachers along the way always telling me I should write things, but it took me a while to figure out what those things were.
When did you start feeling connected to music?
I always felt connected to music in a way. My Dad being a songwriter, there were always guitars around, and I remember how he’d play his demo tapes in the car, and we’d go see him play writer’s rounds and think it was so cool when his songs were on the radio. I don’t know why it took almost 22 years for me to try to pick one up, but the day I did, I was immediately determined to play the thing. Within six months, I’d attempted my first song. That’s when I really started to feel connected to music. I thought, “Ohh. This is what my Dad’s been doing my whole life!”
What did you grow up listening to?
Beyond my Dad’s demo tapes, I grew up listening to a lot of commercial country. 90’s country, the kind with real emotion and that clever wit in it. I also listened to a lot of commercial pop. Hanson, N’Sync, all the things all the middle school girls were listening to. I wish I could say I was some 12-year-old with avant garde music taste, but that wasn’t really the case. I did listen to a lot of Guy Clark and quality older songwriters, thanks to my Dad controlling the music on long road trips to and from Colorado. And then I had my high school depressed about my first bad break up phase and listened to things like Augustana and Ryan Adams and Ben Folds.
What or who made you want to pursue music as a career?
It was me slowly realizing myself and my DNA. My Dad never once tried to push me into songwriting, but when I stumbled upon it myself, he was right there with 45 years worth of tools and advice. I wouldn’t quite say he was excited. He knows what a struggle this career can be. But he’s proud of me, and I’m more than proud to have him as the anchor I use while navigating this crazy sea of trying to “make it.” He has a square on the sidewalk outside the Music City Center downtown, where all the great songwriters get to go. I like to say I’m not leaving until I get one too.
What can you tell us about your new single "Easy Enough”? What’s the story behind it? Who wrote/produced it?
The story behind “Easy Enough" is mostly that I was messing around on my keyboard and landed on the melody. My brain immediately said, “It just takes a girl, just takes a guy,” and then I thought, well that’s not terribly interesting. It sounded like every country song I’ve ever heard. So then I thought, “or maybe two of one of those,” and it started to feel interesting enough to make a song. I have plenty of friends and family members who aren’t in the kinds of relationships you typically find in country music, and I think they need to feel welcome in our songs too. I wrote it by myself, and Felix McTeigue produced it.
Could you tell us about the songwriting process? When did you start working on it?
I started early one morning in the spring of 2017. I write best early in the morning. It was really just one of those fun word puzzle songs, once I got the idea in place. I remember I had written the whole thing but still had a two-syllable empty space in the first verse where it says “every bit of no fun nitpick (insert two syllable word here) we’ve been being.” I was playing the whole thing through and realized ho hum fits perfectly, meaning and rhyme-wise. Anytime I can construct a line where I get to say nitpick and ho humtogether, you know I’m having a good time.
What does songwriting mean to you?
Songwriting is a place to play on my feelings. It’s a place to climb through them, or out of them, or further up under them, sometimes. It’s also just an infinite word playground. Imagine legos but with words. I can roll up my sleeves and build something in my head, and I never know quite what it’s going to look like until I get to the end. Sometimes I happen upon the most interesting thought that feels like it was made to snap into that place. Sometimes I find a feeling I didn’t even know I had, and words I didn’t know I could build it with.
What are your first thoughts when you finish a song?
I usually think, “Well, that was strange,” or, “Huh. I wonder why I did that.” It’s funny, I have some writer friends who finish something and are immediately like this is great! I’ve just accepted that I’m not the kind of writer that comes with that kind of assuredness. I learned from my Dad that it isn’t my job to decide whether my song is good or not, so I do the best I can with the idea and hope someone besides me finds it worth listening to. Then I probably take a nap.
What do you think of the music scene in Nashville?
The music scene in Nashville is a strange and beautiful thing. It’s amazing how full of talent this town is. And that it can actually be your job to go to Music Row and write a song every day. I think people who have never experienced the inner workings of Nashville find that to be a really strange concept. As beautiful as it is, the music scene here is an ever-changing beast, too. It slowly opens its clenches to let people in, and then it can spit them out just like that, if it wants to.
As an artist, what are the things you want to accomplish?
I want people to relate to my music. To float a little higher, or feel a little deeper, or lighter, or stronger because of it. I want them to say: hey, that’s just how I feel, or felt, or what I needed to hear in this moment.
Who’s helping you build your career? Who are you working with?
I’m working with Felix McTeigue, my producer, and my dad, my ever-present mentor. I have a handful of dear and steady co-writer friends who I know I can make magical things with. And I’m always trying out new co-writers, too.
What advices would you give to anyone who’d like to pursue their dreams?
Find a way to make it work until it really works. It might be a long and trying journey, but getting there is half the fun. Or maybe even most of the fun. It’s like a Mary Oliver line I read recently, “The ripeness of the apple is its downfall.” I’d say don’t be in such a hurry to reach ripeness, that peak point where your dream is realized. Just enjoy the ripening because once you ripen you inevitably have to go in another direction.
What keeps you going?
The thought that tomorrow could bring the song that changes things. Tomorrow could bring any song, really. It’s a never-ending surprise.
What defines you?
Sometimes I like to think my name defines me. Sophie. Wisdom. It’s kind of a lot of pressure. But hey, it is my name. So I think I can claim it and at least try to live in pursuit of it…
In your opinion, what would make the world a better place?
I think the world would be a better place if more people were doing something they truly cared about doing.
Any upcoming project?
For right now, the project is just releasing the rest of my record, Steep and Shining Spaces. Stay tuned! There are more songs coming.
What’s your purpose?
My purpose is to keep learning and keep creating. I don’t really know what else I can do!
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