INTERVIEW: Sofia Carson

Sofia Carson is steering towards the release of her forthcoming debut album with a powerful message of empowerment at the forefront. She will not be silenced, and she will be as loud as she wants to be, not only for herself, but for all women alike. The American singer, songwriter, and actress has had an impressive career that has seen her star as Evie in the Descendants film series, as well as star in Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists, A Cinderella Story: If The Shoe Fits, Feel The Beat, and Songbird. And throughout her career she has released a string of singles and featured in film soundtracks, but it’s only now that she’s really found her fulfilled artistic vision. 

Last year she opened a new chapter in her journey with the pulsating and sensual disco-tinged ‘Fools Gold’. From there she tapped into her storytelling for the highly relatable ‘He Loves Me, But…’ and gave this rhythmically charged mid-tempo energy. And now she is making her voice be heard with the important messaging of ‘LOUD’. Written as a song of empowerment for women and minorities who feel like they are being silenced, this is all about reclaiming their voice. It’s a soulfully charged RNB-pop song that immediately captivates you with its incredible lyricism that speaks some hard and important truths.  

I recently chatted to Sofia Carson about the importance of the female empowerment messaging behind her new single ‘LOUD’, explored the creative process behind her music video for the track, and discussed her recent singles ‘He Loves Me…But’ and ‘Fools Gold’. Check it out BELOW;

THOMAS BLEACH: Your new single ‘LOUD’ is an empowering anthem which is all about change, standing up for what you believe in, and sharing female voices. With this song passionately tapping into that sentiment, how did that studio session feel when you were recording it? Was it emotional, or was it energetically empowering? 

SOFIA CARSON: I would say a combination of both. I recorded it during the pandemic, and had the absolute privilege of collaborating with two incredible songwriters to help bring ‘LOUD’ to life, Alida Peck and Paris Carney. I recorded the song a year ago at this point, and I remember being quite emotional while recording it as I was thinking of my mom, and the other incredible women in my life. My mom always raised her daughters to be fearlessly loud, and she’s always been my forever icon and inspiration to what it means to be a woman. After I recorded the song I texted her to let her know that I dedicated the song to her. So it was really emotional, but also empowering as it is a challenging and emotional song to sing. So it was incredible to go through that journey, and very cathartic listening to it back after. 

TB: “Are you getting uncomfortable now?” Is an incredible and important lyric that truly sets the tone. Where did you personally draw from for that line?

SC: It’s such an important line that has never been said before because it’s true. Loud women in the past, and still, make people, aka men, uncomfortable. We are considered “difficult” instead of a man who knows what he wants. It was a very powerful line, and we all felt it in the room when I was recording it. 

TB: And the opening line “Confrontation never has been my strength. Always feel like I should take all the blame” is something that a lot of women, and marginalised voices will be able to relate to. What was the turning point in your personal journey that helped you claim your voice to stand up?

SC: “Confrontation never has been my strength” was my truth for a very long time. It’s interesting because I was raised by a very strong woman, and I do believe that I always knew who I was in my heart, but it was always about finding my own way of being loud. And I think that came with time, and from being in this industry, and truly turning up the volume in my voice. To me, being loud isn’t about being the noisiest person in the room, it’s about finding the strength in your heart to stand up for what you believe in, and for who you are. There is such strength and volume in that. 

TB: Sonically the track sits in a pop and RNB soundscape that taps into your emotional soul. It’s a bit reminiscent of Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande. So what was actually inspiring you sonically for this track?

SC: Thank you for that incredible compliment! I’ve always gravitated towards pop music that had soul. Always. I’ve also always gravitated towards mid tempo ballads. So with this song, and especially the vocal performance, I wanted it to be this beautiful marriage of soul, RNB and pop. Even a bit of rock n roll with the strength of the belts in the choruses as such. I always thought that song needed a powerful soul performance, and I think that’s one of the reasons why the production of this song is so deep, and hits you in such a striking way. 

TB: The music video is a cinematic affair that uses the inspiration of a butterfly coming out of her cocoon. What was the most challenging thing about filming this video? 

SC: Music videos are always a beautiful challenge, or at least in my experience because I always want to accomplish so much in one day. I really do try to look at my music videos as films, and I try to tell stories through them. It was a lot to take on though as we wanted to tell the story of ‘Loud’ as a marriage of art and music. We wanted to create these individual art-pieces that told the metaphor of a butterfly coming out of her cocoon. I think for me as an artist, my challenge was to perform in a way that told the story. I do believe when I’m singing that I’m acting and telling stories, so I really wanted to do it justice. We were also running against the sun setting, and I needed to with everything in my being get that shot of me being thrown in the air before the sun set. We were 60 seconds away from losing the sun so we ran down to that section and everyone was yelling to toss me in the air to get the shot, and thankfully we got it. 

TB: With the track’s strong empowerment messaging, who are some female creatives you are currently obsessing over?

SC: I’ve always been a huge fan of Taylor Swift, not only as an artist, but also what she represents for women and artists around the world. To this day, I still listen to ‘All Too Well’ in the shower, and now if I have 10 minutes spare I will play Taylor’s version. 

I’ve also been listening to a lot of Billie Eilish. I just think she’s so raw, vulnerable and unapologetically herself. I’ve always just been drawn to honesty in music, and I think she perfectly captures that. I also love Rosalia, she is amazing, and has really created a new sound for herself. I listen to Dua Lipa a lot when I’m writing. And a big shoutout to GAYLE who is just killing it at the moment. There are so many incredible women. 

TB: Last year you released the banger ‘He Loves Me, But…’, and the lyric “He says it’s best for me. But I don’t really remember him askin’ me” made me actually scream when I heard it, because I have been there. What is one of the stupidest excuses a guy has ever given you? 

SC: Oh my god, the worst one is; “I really wish I could, but I can’t”. It’s like, what? It’s a double negative, and makes no sense *laughs*. “He says it’s best for me. But I don’t really remember him askin’ me” is a direct quote from someone really close in my life who experienced that, and I wrote it about her breakup. I was sitting next to her and she was like “he made this decision on his own, and he decided that it was best for me, but I don’t remember being asked and a part of this decision”. And I just remember thinking it was genius and that I needed to make it a song. 

TB: ‘Fools Gold’ felt like the opening of a whole new chapter for you with this new music feeling really confident. Looking towards all the rest of the new music on the sidelines at the moment, what are listeners going to learn about you? 

SC: I have been telling this story from start to finish. I began with ‘Fools Gold’ and then continued it with ‘He Loves Me…But’, and now ‘LOUD’, and they will listen to the rest of the story soon. They are just gonna get a deeper look into who I am and my heart. I always wanted my music to be a reflection of me; honestly, truthfully and as vulnerably as possible. But what I long for more than anything is to hear people’s stories, connection and reaction to songs like yours with ‘He Loves Me…But’. 

TB: A lot of people will know you from the Descendants movies. So if you could turn one of your soundtrack moments from the movies into a powerful new pop-RNB track, which song would you choose for a Sofia Carson sonical makeover?

SC: Oh wow! There are so many good ones. ‘Chillin’ Like A Villain’ was a really cool song, and was very Michael Jackson and retro funk inspired. So that could be really cool. But I really like ‘Night Falls’ which is a song I did with Dove Cameron and China Anne McClain. It was this female empowerment moment where Evie was kinda having a Joan Of Arc moment, which would also be really great. And then ‘Rotten To The Core’ will always have a special place in my heart. So all of the above *laughs*. 

‘LOUD’ is out now!