An Interview With The Singer-Songwriter SOPHIE AUSTER on Her Forthcoming Album, ‘Next Time’ and More!
Posted On 04 Apr 2019
Meet the Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Sophie Auster!
Sophie’s first new record in four year ‘Next Time,’ is out April 12th via Fieldhouse/BMG . Produced by Swedish musician Tore Johansson (New Order, Tom Jones, a-Ha), the album marks Auster’s first time recording abroad in a completely isolated space— the ensuing sound, lush orchestral fantasies of romances abroad (“Mexico”), poetic remembrances of heartbreak (“Black Water”) and reflections on a unified ecstatic love (“Dance With Me”) are all threaded together by Auster’s haunting voice.
Next Time Pre-Order Link: http://smarturl.it/SophieAusterNextTime
Auster has received several awards abroad and at home including the 2016 Grand Prize at The John Lennon Songwriting Contest and was named “Singer of the Year” by Cosmopolitan Spain. Auster is also the daughter of authors Paul Auster and Siri Hustvedt.
Connect With Sophie Auster Here:
Learn more about Sophie Auster in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you?
I am currently in a van driving to Boston to perform tonight.
How has 2019 been treating you so far? What are some goals that you have for this year? How are those New Years Resolutions going?
So far, 2019 has been an exciting year. My album Next Time comes out next month, on April 12, and I’ll be embarking on a European tour shortly after the release. New Year’s resolutions are meant to be broken.
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
I started singing in the school choir when I was very little. At age 8 my teacher pulled me out from the group and made me sing in front of the class. After that, I became the choir soloist, joined jazz band, and started music lessons. Being on stage was an exhilarating experience for me and I realized quite early that I wanted to be a singer. The decision to become a musician was easy. The road is long, however!
Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else? If you weren’t a musician today, what could you see yourself doing?
If I wasn’t doing music I could see myself working as women’s healthcare activist or with animals.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
I think the biggest surprise and relief is that I finally trust my instincts now more than ever. I feel fully in command of my art and where I want it to go. It’s an incredibly satisfying feeling to have ownership over what you are doing. I think the biggest challenge is dividing my time between my art and the logical aspects of being a musician. When I decided to become a full-time musician, I had no idea that I would be essentially functioning like an independent business owner. It’s definitely taught me a lot and made me a stronger woman.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by New York City?
I think growing up in New York exposes you, at an early age, to really eye opening cultural experiences. It’s built a strong foundation for my relationship to art and what I have seen, heard, and read. All these different influences have inspired me in my music, without a doubt.
Let’s talk about your forthcoming album, Next Time. What was it like working on this collection of songs? Can you explain what it was like recording abroad in a completely isolated space?
Recording on the rural countryside in Sweden with Tore [Johansson] was the best recording experience I’ve had yet. I think getting away from the familiarity of New York and the distractions of my everyday life was really conducive to helping produce the album that we made. I was more focused and more relaxed than I’ve ever been making music.
What was it like working with your producer Tore Johansson on this album?
Tore was a real dream to work with. He has a way of gently pushing you to make you better but without any kind of ego or dominance. We really hit it off.
While it’s hard to pick favorites, can you pick out a few songs on this collection that you are particular excited to share with people? What was the inspiration for them?
“Black Water”, “Tom Collins”, and “Rising Sun” are my favorite songs on the record, to me. All were inspired by solitude and yearning for someone or something to fill up that space. They hold the spookier space on the record.
Next Time is your first album in four years. Why is that? Were you working on this collection throughout out that time?
I finished Next Time is 2016, but it took a long time for the record to be put out. I was signed and dropped and then scrambled to find a good home for the album. I was really happy to have signed with BMG. But, after all is said and done, it took years.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
I do my best to keep up to date with social media, but it is a challenge at times, since all platforms require their own content and personal touches. I try to have fun with it and keep records of my trips and things I’m doing. I use Instagram a lot but I’ve begun interacting with people a lot more on Facebook and YouTube and I’ve seen more engagement with fans since I’ve been more active on it. I think it’s really about how much effort you’re willing to put into your social media.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Tom Waits, Nina Simone, Carole King, Peggy Lee, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Leonard Cohen, Melanie, Norma Tangea, David Byrne, Lou Reed, Prince, Bill Withers, Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield, Laura Nyro, and a lot more but that’s what comes to mind in the van driving to Boston. Currently, I’d love to work with Fiona Apple, Tom Waits, Anhoni, Mavis Staples, Brandi Carlile, Sarah Bareilles, Daniel Wilson, St. Vincent, Paul Epworth, and Jon Brion to name a few.
Where can fans see you perform next?
I’ll be in Boston tonight at Middle East and then back to New York for a pre-release party at the Top of The Standard on the 27th! I then head to Europe. More Spain dates are being announced today!
April 26 Astro Club Pordenone, IT
April 27 Cantine Coopuf Varese, IT
April 29 Bravo Caffe Bologna, IT
April 30 Studio Foce Lugano, Switzerland
May 3 Kino Ebensee, Austria
May 5 Strom Munich, Germany
May 6 Porgy & Bess Wien, Austria
May 8 Privatclub Berlin, Germany
May 9 Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld Koln, Germany
May 16 Cultural Center MVA Malaga, Spain
May 18 Teatro Principal de Ourense Ourense, Spain
May 21 Theatro Circo Braga, Portugal
May 23 MusicBox Lisbon, Portugal
If you had an unlimited budget and your schedule was free, what would your dream music video look like?
I’d love my dream music video to look like a full-scale Fellini film á la “Nights of Cabiria.”
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island, what musical item would you take with you and why?
My guitar. I take it everywhere with me and it’s what I write my songs on.
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
Hands down anything by Pawel Pawlikowski. He’s an amazing director and I’d be honored to be featured in anything he does.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
What’s really cool about making art and music is that your crazy personal and sometimes nutty ideas can become personal to someone else. I hope that the songs are reinterpreted into other people’s stories and that it affects them in some way or another.
Would you like to share anything else with our readers about your music?
You can pre-order Next Time now on all platforms and we made gorgeous vinyl that will be available the same day as the release!