Nashville singer-songwriter Sophie Allison, 20, attracted passionate fans when she began uploading DIY indie rock to Bandcamp in 2015. She’s leveled up with her proper debut, Clean, which arrived last week. Below, four reasons why she rules.
1. She got her start via Bandcamp
Allison began playing guitar at the age of five. “I got a toy guitar at a fundraiser and was trying to write songs with it that were ridiculous,” she recalls. “After a week, my parents bought me a real acoustic guitar and I started taking guitar lessons.” She played music her entire childhood but began releasing music as Soccer Mommy via the Bandcamp platform after graduating high school.
“I had never really thought you could just do it yourself,” she says of uploading her “bedroom pop” to the site that has proved pivotal for other artists such as Car Seat Headrest. “It’s an official way to put your music out there that’s free and easy and available to everybody. … A lot of people actually do use it like a Spotify or something to find new music.”
2. Deeply personal tunes and lyrics
Allison says Clean, which spans jaded slacker rock (“Skin”) and plaintive acoustic gems (“Wildflowers”), documents a year in her life, during which she accepted that “it’s okay to be vulnerable with other people.” She reveals that she put up barriers to avoid being hurt by others before realizing “that’s not who I am” and “accepting that part of myself and growing from it.”
3. Avril Lavigne fandom
One of the first CDs Allison owned was the alt-rocker’s 2004 LP, Under My Skin. “[She] definitely hits somewhere between ’90s grunge and pop and emo — which I think is all mixed into my music,” she explains, noting that her music as Soccer Mommy sounds “like 2003.” But Allison has older influences, too. “Joni Mitchell I like a lot and definitely was a big influence to me as a writer, because her lyrics are so amazing and can tell a story with imagery,” she says. “She sets a scene in her songs.”
4. Good taste in collaborators
Though Allison took a recording-tech class at NYU and self-recorded her Bandcamp output at home, she enlisted producer Gabe Wax (The War on Drugs, Fleet Foxes) to help her infuse her songs with more grandiosity. Working with Gabe “was not a hard decision to make,” she says. “I was either going to work with Gabe or use all the money to buy gear. … I would’ve been nervous about handing it over to a producer but it worked really easily.”