#MusicMadeUs

Sophia De’Mendonça: How Music Made Me

30th November 2020

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As part of our Music Made Us campaign, Sophia De’Mendonça, a non-binary artist and student moving into their final year at BIMM Institute, explores their musical journey. They tell us about their influences, how they developed their music, and what they hope for the future of the industry. 

Well, I used to take a lot of influence from artists like Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran in their early days as their lyrics always seemed so heartfelt and raw, and that was something that I connected to and could appreciate and enjoy. When I got older, my taste in music broadened and I started to get into both heavier and more indie music. Two of my favourite bands of all time are SOAD and Her’s – both of which I find very interesting lyrically, melodically and instrumentally – and I’ve learnt a lot of different things that I’ve implemented into my music by just listening to them over the years.

Another thing that really helped to develop my music and make it what it is now is the inspiration I get from being surrounded by so many musicians with their own styles. This is especially true of my closest friends, as musically, they are very diverse, so I am able to gain a heck of a lot of influence from a lot of different places.

My mum was always very encouraging when it came to picking up a hobby in the arts and then I started to gain an interest in music in secondary school. That’s when I started writing and attempting to play the guitar. It wasn’t until the end of college that I kind of started to take it more seriously and improving upon my skills. Hearing about BIMM and my entire experience there so far has definitely impacted my motivation when it came to developing and growing as an artist.

I would say that there are quite a lot of platforms I could release my music onto, for sure, but being heard is kind of another story. My demographic is pretty much just sad people, so as long as these platforms have a place where all the sad folk can gather and cry, then most certainly there are spaces.

How changing my identity affects my musical output

I think it would be fair to say that my music has grown and matured along with me, as though it has had a little puberty of its own if you will. I’ve learnt a lot over the years; how I view things has changed and so has the way I present my ideas and thoughts.

“The stronger I am in my identity, the more my musical identity develops.”

The more I learn about myself and who I want to be, the more I learn about the musician I want to become. The stronger I am in my identity, the more my musical identity develops. I think it kind of goes hand in hand, as the things I’ve experienced so far have altered both my identity and my musical output. All of this has helped me to reflect who I am in my music, which I’ve only recently started to be able to do and is a place I’ve been trying to find for so long.

“To see deserving, smaller artists and bands given slots at bigger shows in the future would be really nice.”

I would like to see more opportunities made available to musicians, especially young ones or people who are just starting their career in music. Gigging is good and all but doing it doesn’t guarantee getting your music exposure or growing your audience, so to see deserving, smaller artists and bands given slots at bigger shows in the future would be really nice.

I also think that more funding for the industry is well needed. We were hit quite hard by Covid-19, and the industry is very much in need of some help. Artists who are self-employed and whose main source of income is reliant upon music are struggling right now, and even though it’s probably not possible, it would be nice if they were helped in some way instead of being left to watch their careers suffer or being told to re-train.

Other than that, I guess it would be nice for more unique and interesting styles of music to be brought into the spotlight more. In my opinion, the music that is played more frequently on the radio and such is so repetitive and it would be nice to hear something interesting on the radio for once. That would be cool.

Our Music Made Us campaign is told through the students, graduates, journalists, experts and passionate people who have been shaped by music. Discover their stories here

Author

Sophia De'Mendonca

Sophia De'Mendonça is a non-binary artist with an incredible voice. About to move into their final year at BIMM, they have released music solo as Fi as well as collectively as This is not a Pirate Ship. They’ve also organised and hosted a successful run of open mic nights in Birmingham.