An Interview With Singer-Songwriter Sophie Simmons About Her Debut Original Music, Being on X-Factor, Lessons Learned From Her Famous Parents and More!
Posted On 13 Apr 2018
Sophie Simmons, the daughter of Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed, is no newcomer to the entertainment industry. Spending years breaking out from her notorious family, she has focused her attention on her own music career and re-defining beauty as the host of Refinery 29’s Body Image School digital series and as the face of Adore Me’s “all women campaign” (showing women how the lingerie looks on all sizes of women). After spending the last year developing her personal sound, Sophie debuted her first single “Black Mirror” earlier this year on February 23rd. TODAY, she released another single called “Burn Me Down.”
Sophie has made a name for herself apart from her rock and roll roots, not limiting herself to one aspect of the entertainment industry and establishing herself as an actress, model, host, musician and activist. She was seen in lead roles in Shannon & Sophie, and A Very Satan Christmas, and later went on to audition for X-Factor, making her musical talent public. She also appears in recent documentary Straight/Curve which tackles body image and plus size modeling.
Late last year, Sophie focused on released within the dance industry pairing up with The Galaxy (Dangerous), Cesqeaux (Private Time) and Yellow Claw (Home). Previously she released a cover of the 90s classic “Kiss Me,” with Rebel via Republic Records.
As if she doesn’t already seem busy enough, Sophie also runs a child abuse advocacy center called Sophie’s Place in Vancouver, Canada.
Connect With Sophie Here:
Learn more about Sophie Simmons in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So where does this interview find you? What’s on tap for the rest of your day?
Earlier this week I was in New York doing press for my debut single “Black Mirror,” and today I just released my brand new single “Burn Me Down”! There’s a pretty fast turnover for music these days.
Overall, how do you think 2017 was for you and your career? What are you most excited about for this year? What is one big goal you have for 2018?
2017 was really a development year for me. I spent most of it writing songs for myself and other artists. I expect the fruits of that labor in 2018. This year, I’m really excited to focus on my artist projects. A big goal of mine is to have my EP out in 2018.
Growing up, did you ever think that this would be the kind of life that you would have? Has music always been a big part of your life? Can you recall your first ever musical experience?
I always loved to create music. My parents made me take piano lessons as a kid. I wrote my first song when I was four years old and pretty much haven’t stop singing and writing since then. I wasn’t naturally good at it at first and had to really develop over the years. I also avoided going into the music industry straight away because I wanted to avoid the comparisons between myself and my family. But it was something I ultimately couldn’t avoid. It is my passion.
How do you think growing up in your hometown has influenced your sound and who you are as a musician? What about your dad’s music? Has that influenced you and your music at all?
Growing up in Los Angeles probably prepared me more for the entertainment industry. It’s a really rough industry with a lot of rejection and if you’re not ready for that it can be the thing that discourages you. But it really motivates me when people say that I can’t do something. Nothing better than proving them wrong. My dad‘s music didn’t really influence me as it’s a very different genre. But I think more so his work ethic influenced me. He always says “no days off“ and it is something I live by. I think my mom influenced my personal taste in music more than anything.
Let’s talk about your breakout single “Black Mirror”! What was it like finally releasing it last month? How do you think it is an example of the direction of your music today and where you are heading? Where did the inspiration for it come from? How is it different than anything else you have put out before?
It’s different than anything I’ve put out before if only for the fact that it’s original content and not a cover. It was really incredible and also stressful releasing something that I wrote. There’s a lot of emotion tied to it and you’re never sure how it will be received. But I’m so thankful that it was received positively. I think it’s a good example of my music today.
I try to write all of my songs from personal experience, and I feel if I do that, they will stay be a good representation of myself. I’m definitely continuing to head towards pop music being the general umbrella and indie pop being the more specific genre.
The inspiration for the song came from a multitude of sources, but the biggest being my own relationship with technology. I thought it was important to explore our relationship with our phones.
When do you hope to put out more new music and a full album of new songs? How will your forthcoming music compare to “Black Mirror”?
My new single “Burn Me Down” came out today! I’m very excited about this single and the video. We worked very hard on it. I definitely hope to have an EP out this year as well. But until then we will continue releasing singles.
What was it like being on The X-Factor? Would you go back and change anything about your performance on that show if you could? Do you recommend other musicians audition for it as a way to break into the business?
I did X-Factor as a personal challenge. It was kind of the deciding factor whether I would pursue music fully or let it go. I needed someone outside of my family to tell me that I was on the right path and I got that validation from the judges. I don’t think I was prepared for a competition though. I kind of just wanted to write songs in my room. I don’t know if I was ready to be an artist at that point. I do recommend it for people who are ruthlessly competitive and thick-skinned. It can be a great platform. But it will be mentioned in every interview you ever have.
Can you talk about how you got involved with Refinery 29’s Body Image School digital series? What does this organization mean to you? And what has it been like being the face of Adore Me’s “all women campaign”?
Positive body image is something that’s very important to me as someone who is “outside of the norm” of the beauty body standards of Hollywood. Getting involved with companies like Refinery 29 and Adore Me just further concretes my stance on that.
I understand that you also run a child abuse advocacy center called Sophie’s Place in Vancouver, Canada. What does this organization mean to you and what have you been able to accomplish through it?
Sophie’s Place rivals music for my top passion. It’s a child advocacy center in Surrey British Columbia. We opened the center when I was around 18 years old. We’ve been able to help so many children and I hope that we can continue that work. You can go to https://the-centre.org/sophies-place to donate.
Where do you find that you sing the most these days, in the shower, in the car, in the studio or elsewhere?
I’ve always done most of my singing in the car. It has such great acoustics and I love how silent it is. I hash out a lot of ideas in my car. The studio would be second I guess.
Do you have any upcoming shows? Where can people see you perform live next?
For now I’m really focusing on releasing all of my music in a timely manner. But I hope to be performing consistently live soon enough.
We are living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today? How do you think that music is going to reflect these challenging times?
I think music always reflects the times. But I don’t think I am an expert on world politics so I try to keep it out of my music. And maybe let my music reflect how I’m impacted by everything instead of just my idea of how it should be.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
I really get inspired by other songwriters. The people behind the artist that craft the songs. So many artists these days don’t write their own music, which is fine. But I’m very interested in the creative process. So I am inspired by people like Julia Michaels, Justin Tranter, Sasha Sloan… People who make the songs that we listen to.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music?
My music is deeply personal and I hope that my fans take away a connection with me. Hopefully they identify with things that I’m going through even in the smallest way. It’s almost an invisible acknowledgment of each other when you share music in that way.