It’s fair to say that Sophie May has been firmly marked as ‘one’ to ‘watch’. The 23-year-old has just dropped her debut EP ‘You Do Not Have To Be Good’, following a string of adoration from all the right people. With a Very Online following of obsessed fans, comments left by the likes of Billie Eilish and Celeste – the later of whom has since worked with Sophie in the studio – and new material underway with Arlo Parks collaborator Luca Buccellati, those millions of streams make a lot of sense. We caught up with Sophie to ask her to run us through her new release, front to back.
With The Band
I wrote ‘With The Band’ mid-lockdown. I recorded the first verse using a podcast microphone my brother had given me so we could record our dungeons and dragon games. It ended up being a great microphone to record my demos with; I still use it now!
‘Bad Man’ was created out of frustration with my intrusive thoughts. I’d just gone through a breakup, and I finally felt like I could write whatever I wanted. It was me leaning into that part of myself that questions whether I’m a good person, a judgment-free moment that was extremely cathartic.
One of my favourite films is Almost Famous, so when I was writing ‘High Life’ I think I had the character of Penny Lane in mind. Even though the concept of falling in love with a rock star is romanticised, it felt like a good representation of how I felt when I was dating at 19. A lot of asking for the bare minimum from average guys that have the egos of wanna-be rockstars.
Drop In The Ocean
Writing ‘Drop In The Ocean’ was a rare moment where the song kind of just fell out of me. I was catching up with John (Foyle, producer and co-writer), telling him about a really strange experience I had with a past tutor from school who ended up completely switching on me. He dumped all his problems on me and said nobody understood how much worse his problems were compared to everyone else’s. I then proceeded to start writing a love song, and John stopped me and said, “I think you need to write about this instead”.
I started writing ‘Cadillac’ in bed after I’d been listening to a lot of Lana Del Rey (as per). I’d also just re-watched What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, so I had that ‘small town, big dreams’ type of vibe going on. Nothing beats my fascination for repressed American small-town domestic dramas.
I wrote ‘Lover Boy’ after experimenting with the tuning of my guitar. I had it set to open D, which made everything I played sound like a bit of a lullaby. The phrase ‘lover boy’ felt super cheesy, but it fit so naturally, I couldn’t change it. I had re-watched Dirty Dancing, and now I listen back to the song, it definitely lives in that world.
Some Italian Mountain
‘Some Italian Mountain’ came to fruition in a session with Matt Maltese. We were talking about Italy, and I started reminiscing on my time in Tuscany last October. I had gone through what felt like a never-ending breakup, and my trip away represented this escape route. So it was only natural we ended up writing a song about running away to start a new life on some mountain. It’s now one of my favourite songs I’ve written.
Sophie May’s EP ‘You Do Not Have To Be Good’ is out now.