When it comes to being a successful artist in today’s saturated climate, it’s very hard for a newcomer to shine through. There are many who try, but the door only opens for a select few.
One of those talents is rising up the ranks without a hint of pretense or ego, an 18 year old who, by all accounts, is starting to realize she’s got something quite special to offer the world of dance music.
Sophie Francis really is the girl next door. She loves to go out and hang with friends. She is an avid Vlogger and you can bet that updating her social media status is a daily ritual. She’s a typical teenager, working on her final high school year in a gifted school, studying for exams and focusing on what her future may hold. We doubt she ticked the ‘Accountant’ box when asked about her dream job.
It isn’t much of a stretch to say that Sophie’s future is looking extremely bright.
Like, laser light show bright.
Her music has already been released on top labels in NL like Powerhouse and Dirty Dutch and she’s had her singles plastered all over dance and national radio, not to mention that her next single will be released just in time for Miami on a label known for snatching up young musical prodigies.
She’s already confirmed at 30 festivals this year and, speaking of MIA, she’ll make her US debut this March over Miami Music Week at events we can’t yet mention. Whew!
Her fame is just beginning and we are happy to bring you the first interview in the US with an artist that we expect will be a household name in, oh about 3 more minutes. She’s humble, smart and appreciative of what’s going on around her, a very sharp contrast to many of her A list DJ peers. We like that.
Please meet your next favorite DJ: Sophie Francis!
You just turned 18 and you seem to have the electronic music industry at your feet- how did you break through at such an early age?
I am involved with music and DJing for several years now. It’s really intense work besides studying full-time, but I love it! My first official gig was being 15, in a small bar at my village, and my first encounter with production was a bit earlier on that period starting at the DJ school. After that, it all went really fast. I signed a management deal with Always Management when I was 16, after seeing me playing in a tent at a local festival. I guess they saw potential on me and after we met several times we decided to work together on a ‘professional DJ career’, combined with school. We agreed that I should get my diploma in May 2017. So with a lot of dedication, discipline, work and their guidance everything went really well! Last year we focused very much on making music, and playing a few shows during school time. Then during the holiday season I started to play much more shows and abroad, having the club owners really happy with my sets, and willing to repeat, giving me more and bigger opportunities. It all exploded with even playing festivals for 35.000 people!! At the same time, we released my single Walls. I worked on it with two singer-songwriters from L.A. and my Dutch friends James and William. It became a really cool song and I am so proud of it! The record was signed with Powerhouse Music, and luckily all the national radios picked it up, which made a lot of noise, getting Dance Smash of the week on 538 radio etc. It is all so cool, but I think that a real break through didn’t happen yet, but there is attention, that’s true 🙂 with a lot of work, and a combination of factors that made me reach where I am today.
You’ve played B2B with Martin Garrix, among many others, what is the feeling when you’re standing next to these superstars?
It’s an awesome feeling to perform right alongside great artists who inspire you. It’s great to see what they do and how they do it in real life. I can learn a lot from them, so really enjoy those moments! The B2B with Martin Garrix was so much fun and it happened spontaneously. Earlier that night I went to BH in Mallorca to see his show, afterwards we had a chat backstage, I gave him my upcoming single and he decided to join me together with his friends for my set at BCM. During my performance he stepped into the booth and joined me for a B2B! He’s amazing at what he does, with so much and good energy, and the more important I think he is also a super sweet person and very much down to earth.
“YOU SHOULD ENJOY EVERY SECOND OF WHAT YOU EXPERIENCE AND IMPROVE, IMPROVE AND IMPROVE”
Speaking of superstars, you are well on your way to becoming one yourself. Most who become famous say they wish they had done something different before fame hit. What would you want your future self to remember about this time in your journey?
Thanks! I don’t really see myself as a becoming-superstar, I have a long way to go and you never know! But it would be so cool! During last summer I got my driving license, being 17! 🙂 Hey! That’s good isn’t it? Haha
Also I want to make sure I pass my final exams and getting my diploma in May. I really wanted to have this done now, because later if I get even busier with my music career it will not be possible to achieve anymore. I think in the future I will be glad to have at least a high school diploma and my driving license 🙂 It’s really hard to do both things at the moment, but I’m very determined to finish school this year so I can focus 100% on my music and shows.
I like to enjoy quality time with my family and friends. In the traveling periods I miss that a bit, but that’s part of the ‘job’ I guess 🙂 I love traveling and actually I am living my dream!
We’ve been told that you’re being courted by many record labels who want to cash in on your rising star.
Does it feel real to you or is this still too new?
I love doing what I do and I’m so happy and grateful that all these things are happening. It’s very new and kind of unreal 🙂 I am also very lucky that my management takes care of those parts while I fully have to concentrate on my music and study at the same time, which is very hard to combine to be honest. Of course it’s what you’re dreaming for when you start making music and touring, but I could never have imagined it would happen for real and this fast!
As a ripely turned 18 year-old, you’re still under the pressure of your last year in school. What do your classmates think of your burst into the limelight and, do you sense a change in the way they treat you now? Tell us how you balance school and shows?
I’ve actually asked some of my friends about this, because I was wondering the same thing. Luckily they say I’m still the same and they also treat me like that. Unfortunately the only difference is that they don’t see me as often as they used to. Every week I spend around 30 hours on music beside touring and going to school. I have a really tight schedule per day. Usually I do one show in the weekend and full time touring on school holidays. As you can imagine I don’t have a lot of time for a social life, but my close friends and family support me all the way! I definitely couldn’t do it without them.
“I CONNECT A LOT WITH THE CROWD. BY JUST BEING MYSELF”
You graduate from your gifted high-school this May. Can you tell us how that will impact your touring and where you want to play most?
I really can’t wait until end of May! I am so excited for the summer! My management has already a heavy schedule in place for touring around the world. They don’t tell me all, so I focus in my studies and I don’t get too much distracted haha but I already know about a few super cool gigs and it’s so exciting!! I’m going to be playing at so many cool places this year!!
You’re known as a powerhouse on stage, lots of energy and a real connection with the crowd. How do you think you came to be such an uninhibited performer?
I just love it!! 🙂 I connect a lot with the crowd. By just being myself… I receive a lot of energy from them and I give it back! Before I go on stage I always take a good look at the crowd and try to get an impression of how they feel. Based on that I pick my first track and from there we go on together, connected and partying! That gives me such a rush… Its the most wonderful you can achieve together.
“MY STUDIO ISN’T FANCY. I AM STILL A BEDROOM PRODUCER”
As a producer, whose music is played by the likes of Guetta, Martin Garrix and radio stations across the world, what advice would you give aspiring writers on how to get their start? Who gave you yours?
I’d say you need an immense passion for music, perseverance, discipline, a lot of hours to spend on your music, a little bit of luck and the support of trustful and professional people around you. You should enjoy every second of what you experience and improve, improve and improve… Be critical and also a bit stubborn. In the end it is your music and your show. I started myself with Bram, my first DJ teacher who advised me about music production and my piano teacher Roel, who gave me very good music composition input. Also I listen to my management, and of course I continue sharing studio time and co-working with experienced and older producers who show me how to achieve what I want in my music. At my age I still have a long learning path!! 🙂
Do you have a bit of studio gear that you can’t live without? Why?
My studio isn’t fancy. I am still a bedroom producer haha 🙂 There I work on my ideas, and then to record instruments, vocals and work on the final masters I take my files, laptop and I go to real studios of friends, or rental studios…My home studio is basically a Mac with Logic Pro X, an Apogee Symphony Soundcard, a set of monitors Genelec 8050, a Mackie Big Knob, a Novation Impulse 61 MIDI-keyboard, and a pair of piano pedals: M-Audio SP2 and M-Audio EX-P. That’s it! 😉 I use Logic for producing, and Ableton mainly for making some mashups and small edits. It’s how I am used to work. There isn’t a specific gear that I cant live without, except those.
What can we look forward to from Sophie Francis in 2017?
2017 is looking like a very exciting year already. The first half will be taken very quietly because I must study for my final exams… >.< But still, I have been working intensely in studio the last months, and I am planning to release lots of new tracks which are practically ready starting very soon! Next single coming out in February! There is very nice news coming up, but I can’t tell yet! I’ll visit Miami Music Week in March, then study and after May I’ll start touring a lot! We are planning a nice summer in Europe, with a follow up tour in Asia, and hopefully another visit to America and South Africa! I can’t wait!! I hope to see you around!! 🙂