London-based and New York-born electronic pop singer Sofi Vonn released her debut EP That Was A Close Call in December of 2021. Says Sofi about the EP, “I’m so excited to finally release my first EP. I was in the same headspace when writing all of these songs (other than Next To Me, which was for a project for my current course at Goldsmiths University). I decided to call it THAT WAS A CLOSE CALL because not only is it a lyric from ‘Stranger,’ but it also represents the closing of a chapter in my life. The photo also conveniently had me pretending to be on a call. So much has changed for me in the last year in terms of my career. I’m excited for this EP to be out in the world so that I can keep making music but with a different mindset.” Born and raised in the West Village neighborhood of NYC, Vonn was surrounded by a creative and artistic environment, with the many diverse background she was exposed to influencing her artistically. Born to German parents, she spent her high school years in Zürich, Switzerland and was unsure of what she wanted to do after graduating. “I liked music, but I didn’t know how to get into it, because when I was applying to college for anything musical, they wanted me to be a Steinway Fellow already, basically,” she says. This led her to take a break from music, leading her to college at Tulane University in New Orleans. She was led back to music, however, when she studied abroad in Berlin for a year, a move that exposed her to techno music and cultivated a love for DJing. She later received a full-time job with the BMG record label, which brought her back to her hometown of New York City. Her work at the label taught her marketing skills that helped her with her DJ career at night, and she became an in-demand house and techno DJ, booking numerous shows around the city for the next two years. With the necessary experience to apply to music school, Vonn currently attends the highly prestigious Goldsmiths, University of London and has found a mentor in renowned music executive Charlie Walk (who helped launch the careers of Lorde, Ariana Grande, and The Weeknd, among many others), who brought her into his prestigious Music Mastery program earlier this year. With plans to keep writing and releasing music, growing as a performer, and playing shows, the future looks bright for Sofi Vonn! You can connect with Sofi Vonn to stay up-to-date with all upcoming music and tour news via the following links:
You were born and raised in NYC and grew up in the artistic West Village. What can you tell me about your childhood and how growing up in that environment helped to shape you as a person and your artistic style?
My childhood was very international and I had a lot of freedom in what I wanted to do. I was very lucky in that my parents were always supportive in my endeavors. This definitely molded me into the person I am today as I was never pigeonholed into one career path and knew I could achieve whatever I wanted with hard work. Growing up in a big city like New York made me very independent at a young age, giving me the drive I have today. My parents both being German, we would visit Germany twice a year and travel through Europe a lot. We also moved to Zürich, Switzerland when I was in high school which exposed me to another culture. Having such an international upbringing has changed my perspective on life and thought processes, making me more creative and adaptable to different situations.
After high school, you took some time away from music and attended Tulane University. What can you tell me about that time in your life and your experience at Tulane? Although you had stepped away from trying to pursue music for a bit, did you still feel drawn towards it?
I had a great time at Tulane. I’m so lucky to have been able to live in New Orleans. Even though I wasn’t pursuing music at the time I was constantly around it. It was a real time of self discovery, but I also kinda knew who I was at the same time. I was drawn to music the entire time, but didn’t know quite how to start getting involved. That took me a while for sure, but I knew I would do it eventually.
After you graduated from college, you were brought back to music after moving to Berlin, which led you to techno music and DJing. What was that like for you, getting back into music, and what was the scene like in Berlin?
I discovered my love for techno in Berlin for sure, which I’m sure many people say. I was really excited as I found DJing to be something I could achieve on my own in a shorter time. I taught myself and played a small festival outside of Berlin before moving to NYC, where I was booked for shows consistently for two years. I was really happy to be playing shows, and eventually starting singing during my sets which felt like I was evolving into my original dream.
You later moved back to New York and did a bit of sound engineering before landing a job with the BMG record label. In what ways do you feel that gaining experience in those aspects of the industry has helped you in pursuing a career as an artist? What can you tell me about your desire to learn about the business side of the industry, as well?
I did a bit of sound engineering in Berlin and then stopped once I got the job at BMG and moved back to New York. I think with sound engineering, it was fun but too technical for me and I realized I just wanted to be the artist in the studio. It still was helpful to learn about what goes on in the control room, though. I wanted to work at the label so I could learn on the back end what labels do and look for in artists, and see what things are successful and not. I also met so many great people during my time there, so I feel like I still have many people to lean on. I think it’s important to know the business side if you want to really know what happens behind closed doors in the industry.
While in New York, you also did quite a bit of DJing! What can you tell me about your DJing career and what you love about it? Do you still DJ?
I was in the melodic techno/ deep house scene there for two years. I loved being able to perform and show people a good time. DJing is pretty much about bringing the party in that sense. It was also great to meet more DJs within the same genre as it became a little group of people who would support each other.
How did you come to meet and become mentored by renowned music executive Charlie Walk and what has it been like to have him as a mentor, as well as be a part of his Music Mastery program? What have you learned from him as a result of his mentorship?
I actually was introduced to him through my lawyer funnily enough. I had gotten a contract from another company who wanted to work with me and sent it to him, and he basically said to not sign it or trust them. I was pretty bummed because I was still trying to get more press at that time and needed help with my marketing. I think I was asking him a lot of questions on why I shouldn’t sign the contract and kept persisting until he said he could introduce me to someone he knows who I could definitely trust. Shortly after I had a call with Charlie and Lisa, the director of Music Mastory, and he decided he wanted to work with me! I started out in the weekly calls with other musicians included in the program which was great for connecting with other artists and getting feedback on music. Being mentored by Charlie has been amazing! I’ve come so far in only nine months and never thought I would be able to move so quickly. I’ve definitely learned so much about artist development, stage presence, performing, and much much more. Working with him and Lisa has been a dream come true and I’m so excited to continue working together.
At the end of last year, you released your debut EP That Was A Close Call, which you have said represents the closing of a chapter of your life. What can you tell me about the making of the album? What has your journey been like over the past year, with all of the changes you have undergone, and in what ways has the EP been a closing of a chapter for you? In wanting to keep making music, but with a different mindset, what does that look like for you?
I actually didn’t have an EP in mind when writing the songs. They were all written months apart from each other and then it kinda just happened as we realized we had an EP. The reason it represents a closing chapter in my life is because I feel I’ve evolved so much personally and professionally since those songs were written, so I feel it’s a good way to move on onto my next projects. The last year has been crazy as I only released my first single last June, and things are really starting to pick up now. I guess that means I’ve gotten to where I want to be in my career as well as my headspace so the next chapter is about grinding and improving my music.
Your personal experiences have taken you across the world and back several times. Do you feel that your travels have given you a broader perspective on life and music? Where is your favorite place that you have traveled?
Definitely! I feel more aware culturally, which for me leads to different ways of thinking. This plays into my music often. It’s so hard to choose my favorite place. I’d say New Orleans.
You currently attend Goldsmiths, University of London. What is the focus of your studies and what are your goals upon graduating?
My course is called MMus Popular Music, so we’ve focused on everything from songwriting, composition, and production to musicology and performance. For my final project I’m doing a performance which should be fun. My goals upon graduating are to grow my fanbase and keep making relatable and honest music. I’m also looking to land a record deal around then so I don’t have to pay out of pocket and can hopefully tour more.
What do you love about living in London? What do you like to do for fun?
I love the vibes in Hackney – the music scene, clubbing scene, chilling at the canal and in parks in the spring and summer, that there’s always something to do. I also love a roast of course. I feel like in New York most people work a 9-5 and don’t really plan much, whereas in London everyone’s keen to plan get togethers or meet spontaneously. I love New York though!
In December of last year, you released the music video for “Next To Me” and have talked about how you got artsy with it! What can you tell be about the process of making the video? Did you have a clear idea of how you wanted it to look going into it? Do you have any other music videos planned?
We actually shot it all in one day in the Hackney Marshes on this giant sundial. I worked with Dwayne Thompson (@directedbydwayne) on the idea. We wanted it to be as if I was alien in a way but not far from human, which is why in the beginning I put my hand out triggering the dancer (and also why I’ve got colored contacts in). I always joke that we got arsty because it’s not the typical music video, as it is more interpretive with the dancer. I’ve actually just shot another video this past weekend! It’s for my song Ghost which comes out in 2 weeks. I’m super excited for this one as it’s definitely my best song and video so far. I’ll also have to start planning my next one soon.
What’s next for you?
I’m gonna keep writing and releasing as much music as I can. I always want to perform as well, so I am looking to play as much as possible to up my performing game. Otherwise I want to keep growing as an artist!