Zionsville Community High School student Sophia Joelle's track made it into the soundtrack of Garry Marshall's Mother's Day. We called her up to chat about it.
While we're at it, consider this your official Mother's Day reminder. Have you bought all the flowers and chocolates and other delicious things to honor your mother? You've got until Sunday.
NUVO: You have a song in the movie Mother’s Day. How did you meet Garry Marshall? Was this about your music or acting?
Sophia Joelle: A couple of years ago I went out to LA to visit Heather Hall (Producer, Mother’s Day, New Year’s Eve). She works with Mr. Marshall and I got to go into the office and meet him one day. I was out there for acting and [Marshall] had me read some sides on tape just in case he had in projects in the future. Heather [Hall] contacted me and asked if I had any songs about mothers or relationships. I sent over my EP and Mr. Marshall picked out the song “Irresistible” to be in the movie.
NUVO: Have you watched the scene that features your song?
Joelle: I haven’t, but I know that Jason Sudeikis is watching his daughter get dropped off from a date with a boy and they’re saying “goodnight.” My song is coming out of the car radio.
NUVO: When you sent the EP did you think that would be picked for the film?
Joelle: When I sent the EP I was honored that Mr. Marshall was even going to listen to it. I didn’t have any expectations that he would choose any of the songs to be in the movie. When I found out I was really grateful to get one of my songs in a movie.
NUVO: How does the songwriting process work for you?
Joelle: It’s different with every song. Usually I go to the piano or my guitar and find some chords that I like and fit the mood of the song I want to write. I kinda like freestyle and sing until I find a melody and start thinking about where I want the song to go and what the structure should be and then I start putting lyrics to it. Sometimes I’ll think of a lyric randomly one day, like in class, and I’ll write it down and I’ll go back later and add to it and build it and then add the melody.
NUVO: Do you feel that you’re constantly working on songs?
Joelle: Yeah, definitely. I’m always kind of searching for inspiration or different aspects of my life that make me want to write or give me ideas or new perspectives on things I can write about.
NUVO: With your songwriting, do you inject your personal life or are these ideas that you want to explore through music?
Joelle: With the EP I released in October (Other Side of My Soul), most of those songs are written from personal experience. A lot of songs are about teenage, romantic interest, because those are easiest to write about. Because I’m so young, there are [experiences] that I have to use my imagination or write based on my friends’ stories.
NUVO: Do you hear the other instruments while you’re writing with either your piano or guitar?
Joelle: I definitely hear the direction of the song, if it’s going to be more upbeat or what instruments you’ll hear the most. Like my song “Trapped in Today,” I knew that I wanted heavy strings, and I could hear that in my head as I was writing it.
NUVO: On your latest EP you worked with Hunter Smith and Thom Daugherty (AGITPROPER / Elms). Did they give you a lot of freedom with the songs’ direction or did they have more of a mentor capacity?
Joelle: I think both. With Hunter, I send him songs if I get stuck, or if I can’t think of a melody to go with the words. Thom is awesome; my EP wouldn’t have been possible without him. I go to him with a song once I’ve finished it and talk to him about where I want it to go and he helps writes the part and finds new interpretations of the song.
NUVO: You’ve already touched on writing songs from a teenage perspective. Do you ever feel like you’ve had to fight to be taken seriously due to your age?
Joelle: I do think that’s something that most artist who are younger face because of their age. I haven’t struggled with that in monumental ways, but in general I do feel that way sometimes, like people won’t take the initiative to look up my music if they know my age first. It’s kind of discouraging.
NUVO: With your background in musical theater and acting, do you think it’s helped with writing and performance?
Joelle: I think it’s helped me with confidence and being comfortable on the stage. Musical theater is where I fell in love with performing and telling stories through music.