Sophie Barker discovers new sound, voice

Sophie Barker discovers new sound, voice
Sophie Barker, center, will be performing with her new band on a headline tour with fellow Brit band The Egg, at The Belly Up May 13. Courtesy photo

SOLANA BEACH — This month, singer Sophie Barker and her band, along with fellow British alt-music group The Egg are embarking on a West Coast tour.A former singer with Zero 7 and Groove Armada, Barker said she was excited to be venturing into new territories and had the idea that the two groups should do something together.

Having worked on The Egg’s previous two albums, including their newest “Something To Do,” Barker said she felt very strongly that with the two bands together it would be a great event for U.S. audiences.

Barker released her first solo album “Seagull,” in 2011 and is now at work on a new one. She said her new album will be quite different than “Seagull.” The difference being that she has a band with her now. “What I’ve been experiencing with my live performances is now affecting me when we record,” she said.

And with that the music has developed into a more rock-based sound. “It’s got a bit more live sound in it,” she said, “But it’s also helping me discover different parts of my voice that I probably haven’t discovered when I’m just doing a studio album.”

Known for her plaintive and luscious sound, Barker said her voice has influenced the songs she’s written in the past, and she’s now discovering a new way to use it.

“And what’s interesting is that it’s now reaching through the live thing,” she said. “I’m reaching different depths of my voice that I’ve never explored before. Because usually, when I’ve been writing with other bands, whether it was with Zero 7 or Groove Armada, I sort of fit into a certain type of music, and also I was doing quite a lot of acoustic stuff myself, but I’m finding, that as I grow with the band, I’m finding a depth to my voice, which is coming from a deeper confidence of fulfilling this journey as Sophie Barker, rather than as being part of other bands.

“I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s got more depth to it, I feel. And I’m enjoying the way that I’m using it in a different way.”

Her new album is slated to be released next year, but in the interim, Barker’s also going to be releasing her “Gold Dust” EP this year.

On it, she covers the Fleetwood Mac song, “Gold Dust Woman.” A fan of the band and Stevie Nicks — it was the lyrics of that song, she said, that hit a chord with her.

“For me it’s of a time and the time is now. And I feel, as a woman, and also what I’m writing in my life, I have a connection with that song.”

Having developed a new confidence and having seen the music industry change during her times, Barker has been careful to note how to walk the line between being in the industry and being an artist.

“Being an artist does not mean that you are the industry, but you have to understand the workings of it,” she said. “And then I think you then have to understand what type of artist that you want to be because there are different ways the industry can work for you.

“Being in the industry can help you to distribute and market the music that you create, but I certainly feel, for me as an artist, that I want to have greater control over what I do, and I would like to get it to wider audiences where it is useful. I think that artists today have to be realistic.”

Artists, she said, have to take on a more independent knowledge about the industry so that they can understand what they are getting themselves into. “Because essentially,” she said, “If you sign contracts, you are owned.”

Barker and her band, and The Egg will play a 21-and up show at The Belly Up May 13. Tickets are available at bellyupsolanabeach.com.

 

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