Interview by Whitney Bryan
If paradise is the ultimate home of all things good, then Paradisia just might be the three voices that greet you at the door. With a mix of serene sounds, potent lyrics and good old-fashioned friendship, Paradisia (made up of Sophie-Rose, Anna and Kristy) is the homegrown girl group that keeps on rising.
How did the band come to be?
Kristy: We had worked together in a different band for a long time and after coming out of that at the end of an era, the girls and I decided we wanted to continue together, just the 3 of us, female lead; in control of our own music and identity. That’s when Paradisia was born!
Looking at your Instagram, I saw that you went to France to write some new music! What’s your songwriting process like?
Sophie-Rose: Our process is varied, sometimes we might start writing in a 2 or a 3, maybe start with a melody or a chord progression or we’ll bring in a chorus idea or a verse idea to the table. A good conversation over coffee before is imperative! And I’ve found having something to bring to a session helps start it off, so we have ‘Sunday club’, where each of us writes an idea and sends it over on a Sunday night.
With work’s like, ‘A Seat at the Table’ and ‘Lust for Life’, music seems to be a new type of healing for artists. Is making music ever therapeutic for you all?
Anna: I think any type of creative activity is therapeutic, it’s a means to express yourself without having to necessarily communicate directly; it is so much more intuitive than language! You can say so much through the combination of sounds and words. We had an interesting experience recently regarding this subject. Something happened to Kristy and it was a horrific experience and about a month later Kristy and I started working on a new song and sent it to Sophie and she thought it was about what had happened to Kristy when we hadn’t intended to write about it consciously at all! But then looking back, the lyrics completely line up to what happened. It’s mad how the brain works sometimes! Aaah
You have such a unique, serene sound. What type of music inspires your work?
Sophie-Rose: Between the 3 of us it’s really varied, but for me personally, I’m inspired by singer songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Michael Kiwanuka, Laura Marling. I’ll always go back to these artists and listen to Blue or Once I was an Eagle, Love and Hate.
I suppose 60% of the day is spent listening to music, so I’ve always loved waking up and listening to something new, that definitely creeps into songwriting, we have a playlist that we update called ‘Welcome to Paradise’ on Spotify, which is a variety of what we’re into at the moment, a lot of which is Soul, R&B, Pop, Indie Music.
How did it feel the very first time you performed live on stage together?
Kristy: I can remember the very first time we played as Paradisia like it was yesterday. We played a tiny little venue in Stoke Newington called The Waiting Room and I’m not sure any of us had been more nervous in our lives! There were lots of people who had been waiting to hear us play for a quite a while, after a long time not playing live; I remember stressing so much my voice went! But as soon as we started playing, something just clicked into place and we knew that making the decision to become Paradisia was absolutely the right one.
Speaking of togetherness, it seems that we mostly see so many female solo artists. Does it make it any easier being a group?
Anna: Nothing is easy in music really, at least in our experience it hasn’t been an easy journey! But getting to share the ride with two of your best friends definitely makes it more fun. We get to experience some very odd and unique situations and it is so much more rewarding being able to share it. When we see solo artists on the road, we always wonder how they do it, I couldn’t begin to imagine what it’s like to go through all that madness on your own!
As an all-women’s group, even with the rise of #MeToo. Do you ever find it difficult to navigate the music industry?
Anna: We’ve definitely had our brushes with tricky situations in the past relating to our gender in the industry. Thankfully, there are three of us at most times and we’re there to support each other. We’ve got each other’s backs. People see three girls showing up and they assume we have no clue or that we need ‘help’. But at the same time, they have no incentive to do anything helpful or to take us seriously, making it extra hard for us to do our job. We’ve had this experience many times before we play, they laugh at us at soundcheck and don’t want to co-operate, then fast forward post-show the same people will often come and shake our hand. We’re just going to keep doing what we do, it’s the only way things will change. We met the Haim girls at a party recently and shared similar road tales of unnecessary sexism.
What do you like fans to take from your music?
Kristy: I want our fans to relate and have their own story, I want it to make them happy, dance, cry, reminisce. Everything that we as humans enjoy! I know that when I listen to great music, I can feel so many different emotions and this is what makes it so enjoyable. Music can heal you, take you away into another world or even out of your own mind. So, I guess I can only hope that our music can make people feel even just one of these emotions. Then we will have succeeded!
This year and last year you’ve achieved so much success! What are your hope’s for the future?
Sophie-Rose: Hopefully so much more of what we’ve already experienced! We’ve never performed in the US or Asia, that would be a bit of a dream for us. ‘Later… with Jools Holland’ would be a dream too! But ultimately, I think we’d just like to make a record that’s even truer to us now. I feel like your first record is almost working out your sound, your song writing and seeing what sticks. We’re away writing it now, almost there!
In the end, what does music mean to each of you?
Anna: You’ll find out in the next album!
Sophie-Rose: I actually can’t put into words what it means to me but without it, I think I’d be really bored and sad.
Kristy: Everything. It’s what I live for!