Sofia Isella is a singer-songwriter and violinist currently living in the Gold Coast.
Despite her age, singer-songwriter and classically-trained violinist Sofia Isella displays a level of musical talent not often seen.
The young artist (born in 2005) was raised in California but spent her childhood in various locations including Taiwan, Canada, Louisiana, and New Mexico.
After moving to the Gold Coast just over 12 months ago, Sofia has already made her mark on the local music scene playing her first Brisbane concert in March.
While at the recent Caloundra Music Festival, Sofia performed a standout set that withstood the elements (torrential rain and lightning of an electrical storm) even delivering a spine-tingling crowd sing-along; did we mention she's only 16.
Last year, Sofia released the excellent EP 'I'm Not Yours' with the majority of the songs on that release written when she was 14-15. Her influences include Phantogram, Amy Winehouse, Marian Hill, Lana Del Rey, Queen, Alessia Cara and Melanie Martinez.
"I'm experiencing both crazy homesickness for Los Angeles and my friends and mad love for Oz, so both those elements are coming out in the music I'm writing and recording now," Sofia says.
"I love blending my voice with the wildness I can find from violin."
Who is Sofia Isella... I'm 16 years old, born and raised in Los Angeles, California now living in Gold Coast, Australia. I'm a classically trained violinist, singer-songwriter, producer (more female producers YES BUAHAHA), guitarist and pianist.
My first actual Australian gig was opening for Sycco at Black Bear Lodge, which was incredible. I've now played at Caloundra Music Festival, Hidden Lanes Festival, Creekfest, gotten a residency gig at Miami Marketta, played at the venues The Zoo, Felons Barrel Hall, Dust Temple, Vinnies, Mo's Desert Clubhouse.
I've opened for Sycco, Felipe Baldomir, Alex James Bowen, and I'm opening for Mallrat in January/ February and playing Liquid Kandy Festival (which I have written two new bangers for) in Perth in March, and a violin mash-up at Halloween Hysteria in Brisbane, which is a punk, indie rock festival. Magic!
As an underage musician performing at these gigs, I'm not allowed in the venue without my mum with me or some adult monitoring my behaviour. Good luck.
In the studio I usually... Outside of being on stage, there is genuinely no other place where I feel more comfortable. Performance and recording are completely different environments, performing being energising, full of adrenaline, and getting to connect to the audience; and the studio being relaxing and cozy.
Mistakes and accidents are my favourite part of creativity. It adds something that you didn't think of and adds uniqueness to the project. I have a mini studio at home, where I'll produce my own music if I have a very specific idea in my brain on how it needs to sound, but I also have producers I work with all over Australia who are incredible.
I worked with this amazingggg producer a few days ago and we were adding samples of people talking, and laughing so, so hard at how we could add the samples to the most random parts of the song just to mess with the audience.
We recorded feedback and filtered it and added it to the song. We started randomly screaming and shouting like a bunch of dramatic cows and added it because why wouldn't you add dramatic cow sounds. It sounded DOPE! I highly recommend adding dramatic cow sounds to your art. I think it's important to not take yourself too seriously.
If I could tour with anyone... Phantogram is absolutely incredible, so is Marian Hill, Alessia Cara, Halsey, Billie Eilish, Finneas. If Freddie Mercury was still with us, that would be an absolute dream. I love that man with all my HEART.
Life on the road can be... Driving to gigs is ridiculously fun. To get the energy going, we'll play very dramatic, happy music and try not to sing too loudly so I don't show up with a lost voice.
I have a highlight on my Instagram that's called 'car music' and it's solely made of us (me and my mum) driving to gigs. I've laughed so hard I turn bright red. I think it's one of those things that I'll have as a core memory in a few years.
If you'll have me on your bill, all I ask is that the rider contains... A little stuffed toy and any kind of berries. I don't EXPECT anyone to go out of their way to get a cute little toy 'cause I understand it's a hassle.
But if they DO?? OH MYEWYJFGWEWEUF IT MAKES MY DAY MAN I CAN'T IT LITERALLY IS EVERYTHING TO ME wow. I have a strong attachment to objects relating to memories, so getting an adorable object at a performance – that's really special to me.
If you had to live in a city abroad, where would you choose and why? I would absolutely love to live in Chile for at least a year of my life. I want this for many reasons.
First off, my dad is from Chile and I feel a strong connection to the country. Second, I strongly want to be able to speak fluent Spanish, which I think relates to my first point of feeling connected to it due to my dad. Which is funny, because my dad can't speak a single word of the language.
His dad still lives in Chile and when I first met him, I felt a HUGE connection to him. Now, this dude, my grandpa is a wonderfully weird man. I'm talking a 100-piece drum set, chanting with his friends, singing along to my classical violin playing etc. But he is such a happy man and I love him so much.
If we were coming over to your place, what would you cook us? Oooh ok. Well. I'm a vegan. I'm also gluten free and refined sugar free. Food talk is usually so boring. Basically I eat salad and air. That's a joke, because people always think vegans eat salad and air.
I would make you this noodle dish that has broccoli, garlic, ginger, toasted sesame oil and seeds and tofu, and it is amazing. I made it for a friend last week who never likes anything and she loved it! Oh, and corn. I love corn.
When it comes to pets are you a lover or hater of our furry friends? Sir. Who is answering this question being like MAN I'M SO GLAD YOU ASKED, THOSE BUNNIES MAN, I JUST HATE THOSE SMALL, FLUFFY BUNNIES, LOOK AT THEM JUST BOUNCING AND BOUNCING AROUND LIKE THEY OWN THE PLACE, THOSE EGOTISTICAL BOUNCY BRATS. Like who's gonna say that? Who?
The last time I saw the inside of a gym was... I actually go to the gym multiple times a week. I know it doesn't look like it 'cause of my chicken-leg arms, but I have chicken-leg arms for a reason.
If you build up muscle in your arms, it will be harder to do long periods of vibrato on violin because your arm's muscle will tense up. If there is no muscle, like me, Ms Weakling, then I can go on for ages without ever feeling any muscle tighten, because I have none.
So if you're super built, I will happily challenge your strong self to a vibrato competition and let's see who’s struggling now, tough guy.
What's the one chore you dislike the most? The glass bottles that go down that garbage shoot in our building. There is no need for it to be that loud. It's like it's trying to alert the whole building that it's shattering a bloody death.
Do you have any phobias... Literally any Australian insect because I don't know what's wrong with them, but they had a growth spurt that American insects did not get. Our insects look like they skipped puberty compared to yours.
The most scary scenario I've found myself in, was... I was playing Caloundra Music Festival and that night was the night that everything chose to go wrong. It was rain and lightning, my guitar battery died, the violin Bluetooth pick-up wouldn't work and I couldn't hear myself as the fold-back monitors were covered in plastic.
But the biggest deal of the night was when I started my show doing this violin intro that I do, my E string snapped which is the highest string on the violin and a lot of my violin solos use it.
So I had to improvise all of the solos during the show, on top of the fact that when a string snaps, all of the other strings go out of tune. But that show was one of the funnest shows I've played. The crowd was amazing and we had the best sing-along in the rain together.
Which fictional character best describes your personality? Either Pinky Pie from 'My Little Pony' or Harley Quinn, minus the murder.
I am genuinely a very happy, bubbly person. That doesn't mean I can't have emotions, but on the most part, I'm a bouncy little ball of light. If there happens to be a person who comes into my life who makes me less than that, they are kicked away so far into the sky.
Last show you binge-watched? '100 Humans' on Netflix. VERRRRYYYY interesting. I learned that men typically think higher of their looks than women do, and they've decoded the reason that men aren't constantly told day in, day out that they aren't good enough and that they need to fix their appearance.
Sofia Isella 2021-2022 Tour Dates
Tue 7 Dec - Vinnies Dive (Gold Coast) Wed 8 Dec - Miami Marketta (Gold Coast) Thu 9 Dec - Burleigh Brewing Taphouse (Gold Coast) Sat 18 Dec - Dust Temple (Gold Coast) Sat 1 Jan - Dust Temple (Gold Coast) Sat 8 Jan - Dust Temple (Gold Coast) Wed 12 Jan - Miami Marketta (Gold Coast) Fri 14 Jan - NightQuarter (Sunshine Coast) Sat 15 Jan - Dust Temple (Gold Coast) Sun 30 Jan - Burleigh Brewing Taphouse (Gold Coast) Wed 9 Feb - Miami Marketta (Gold Coast) Sun 27 Feb - Miami Marketta (Gold Coast) Sun 6 Mar - Liquid Kandy Festival @ Claremont Showgrounds (Perth) Sun 13 Mar - Sirens Of Brisbane @ Lefty's Music Hall (Brisbane) Sat 2 Apr - Halloween Hysteria III @ Mansfield Tavern (Brisbane) Sun 24 Apr - Out Of The Woods @ Barnard Park (Busselton)