Photo by Natalia Mantini.

soccer mommy on her biggest year yet

From making demos in her dorm room to touring full time, i-D caught up with the 21-year-old musician at Coachella to hear all about her journey.

by Nicole DeMarco
23 April 2019, 3:20pm

Photo by Natalia Mantini.

Saying Sophie Allison, a.k.a. Soccer Mommy, has had a big year is a bit of an understatement. The 21-year-old singer-songwriter and Nashville native started out making demos in her NYU dorm room, but after playing SXSW last spring everything changed. Her melancholy songs of messy young love, and lyrical bluntness, have made quite the impression and her debut studio album Clean, released in March 2018, was named best album of the year by The New York Times. She left school to tour full time and now Soccer Mommy’s performing at some of the biggest festivals in the world, like Coachella.

i-D sat down with Sophie before her set to hear all about her whirlwind journey and the making of her next album — hopefully coming soon.

Photo by Natalia Mantini.
Photo by Natalia Mantini.

This is your first Coachella, how exciting is that?
Yeah, this is cool. It’s a much bigger version of all the other festivals we’ve played.

You’ve played so many. Do you have a favorite by now?
Definitely Sasquatch in Washington. It’s just this big beautiful gorge that you’re in and the weather was so perfect. It was on my 21st birthday and it had a beautiful artist area with a free bar that looked out over the fucking canyon. It was so crazy. I think they just cancelled it. It’s such a bummer.

Have you been able to catch some of the bands this weekend?
We caught Four Tet and Aphex Twin last night, which was so wild. Some of Janelle Monae, Yves Tumor, and a few minutes of Donald Glover. I wanted to see Rico Nasty, but I can’t. It’s right when I have to go to my stage. Men I Trust are on our stage before us, so I’ll be able to see them. I want to see Gesaffelstein and I’m probably going to hit up Ariana Grande. It just depends on how tired I am.

How are you feeling about your set?
I’m feeling good. Our drummer did break his hand, a week and a half ago, so we have a new drummer that we haven’t played any shows with and we’ve practiced two times with. But it feels good, so I’m not too worried. I'm hoping it’ll just be totally great.

Do you have any surprises planned?
We’re playing a new song that we just recorded in Nashville, called “Lucy.” So, that will be cool. It’s about darkness dragging you down with it. Yeah, that’s a good way to put it.

I saw that you’ve been busy in the studio.
Yeah, we’ve recorded a whole new album. I don’t know when it’s coming out though because it’s just such a process after you record. It’s at least in the works at this point.

Photo by Natalia Mantini.

Is there anything in particular that’s inspired it?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Fiona Apple and Tori Amos. My boyfriend showed me this Japanese pop band from the 90s that I’ve been really into. It’s called Fishmans. I really love that new Weyes Blood album. The new SASAMI record is amazing.

But as far as themes inspiring the record, it’s about my own personal issues and mental health issues. Stuff from my childhood and stuff that’s had a permanent effect on me. It’s inspired by bigger things in my life.

It’s been just over a year since Clean came out. How are you feeling about it all?
Good. It’s been crazy. It feels like forever and also like yesterday. But it’s great. It went really well and people liked it a lot, which was surprising.

Why was it surprising?
I don’t know. I just wasn’t very big when I released it. I had a following, but it wasn’t a lot of people and now it is a lot of people in my mind. It’s obviously not that many, but it’s a following at this point. It feels good. Now I get to work and do this for a living and not really worry about money really. I mean, I still do, but I don’t have to be very worried.

I just feel like now it’s an equal amount of being more comfortable and more nervous that people won’t like this next one, this next thing. So, it’s just kind of an equal balance. I still feel as nervous and as confident as before.

What’s the biggest change?
I guess it’s a lot more touring. That’s probably the biggest thing because I’m doing that all the time. A lot more press too. The shows are more fun because we get to headline and bring out bands that we really like — play these big rooms, have it be sold out, and all of these people are there to see us. People are into it and want to be there. When you play a festival in the middle of the day, there’s like Playboi Carti playing at the same time as you, so you can’t see him.

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