Sophie Madeleine Interview

Sophie Madeleine – Take Your Love With Me (The Ukulele Song)(MP3) can be downloaded on Bandcamp

Turns out my prediction that Rocky and Balls would be on Boing Boing in three weeks was wrong – it took three days (I may have hastened that process). It turns out that Sophie Madeleine – the Balls half of Rocky and Balls – has a back catalogue of knock-out ukulele songs. So I quizzed her for more info.

As a multi-instrumentalist, what particularly appeals to you about the ukulele?

It’s tone and it’s simplicity. It makes such a happy little sound. I found that I always ended up falling into the same patterns on a guitar when writing, so I tried to write on a uke and started coming up with a completely different style of song. It’s also so much nicer to pick up and play than a guitar – it’s quite a dainty little instrument!

I’ve seen mention of Life. Love. Ukulele. What is it and how can we hear it?

Love.Life.Ukulele is an album made up of mostly ukulele-based songs, and they all run on the themes of love and/or life (funnily enough!). There’s even a song specifically about my first ukulele! I made it last summer during my MA in Songwriting and it is currently unreleased. You can hear some of the tracks from it on my myspace profile. It will be released and available to buy online soon, so stay tuned… [UPDATE: It’s now available on Bandcamp]

What three songs should everyone listen to right now?

I could shamelessly plug my own music here, but I shall resist the urge.

I’m afraid I can’t think of any ukulele based songs, but three songs I can’t get enough of at the moment are:

“I’d like to walk around in your mind” by Vashti Bunyan (because I wish I’d written it myself.)
“True love will find you in the end” by Daniel Johnston (an acquired taste, but I think it’s naive and simple and beautiful).
Lastly, “She’s a rainbow” by the Rolling Stones (just because it makes me happy).
UPDATE: I’ve just heard that song “Oh What A Day” by Ingrid Michaelson on a tenor uke and have fallen in love with it.

Being an official master of songwriting, what are your top songwriting tips?

Firstly, collaborate. Writing with other people is great. I haven’t hit it off with ALL of the people I’ve written with, but you never know what’s going to happen, and you could come up with something amazing. I also find that talking to other writers and gaining their perspective on things can inform or inspire my own writing. Songwriters are generally very nice people too!

Secondly, it sounds strange, but I find that spending time NOT songwriting is really important. If I’m stuck with a song I just have to go and do something else. As long as it’s a task that’s not too taxing or distracting I find that I continue to write the song without realising it, and before I know it I’ve thought up a solution. It just takes the pressure off I think.

What have you got planned for this year?

Aside from trying to get my album released, I’m going to be working on a couple of other projects in various forms of collaborations. I’m already writing a new album, but most importantly, I am currently rehearsing with my band. We’re preparing for some shows around London and my hometown Brighton.

Buy Sophie Madeleine songs on Bandcamp. I highly recommend The Stars

More Sophie Madeleine

Beard Song (Chords)
Rocky and Balls – I Heart You Online (Chords)
The Stars (Chords)
Take Your Love With Me (The Ukulele Song)(Chords)

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