2:00 AM is the latest album from Latin artist, Raquel Sofia and in my humble opinion; it is her best work yet.
The album kicks off with “La Persona Que No Eres” which is the very first song of Raquel’s that I heard and no matter how many times I hear it, it continues to emotionally affect me (really, I have the tear-stains on my face to prove it). There is something extremely comforting about her voice and even though you may find yourself crying when listening to her album, the genuine tone in her vocals is what keeps you coming back for more.
While aware that many of you may not listen to Latin music, I still feel the need to share Raquel Sofia and her music with you.Music, in any and all languages, breaks down barriers and even if you can’t understand what she’s saying I promise that her music will force you to feel. Her songwriting leads with vulnerability and constantly threatens to leave you broken-hearted, yet it finds a way to comfort your soul with its genuine storytelling. The influence of jazz, blues and soul music is evident in every song and with 2:00 AM Raquel Sofia has created a magical musical experience.
I am a magnet for complicated relationships and though my mistakes have become few and far between with time, I still carry the memories of every previous complication with me. So maybe that’s why I find myself obsessing over the lyrics in every song but maybe it’s that Raquel’s magic is in her relate-ability. She creates songs that are deeply personal and yet the listener finds themselves within the lyrics of each song.
So yes, Raquel will break your heart with this album but she also finds a way to remind you why falling in love is absolutely worth it. With her song, “Antes de Ti” she recreates the butterflies in your stomach that make falling in love an adrenaline rush that is completely necessary. “Mi Ultima Cancion”, aptly placed as the last track on the album, is heartbreaking in its delivery yet full of the closure that is often needed at the end of a relationship. The song is a love letter to a relationship that has come to an end; it’s a promise to move on and a necessary step taken to close the chapter that contained the relationship. Raquel’s vocals excel in this “Mi Ultima Cancion”. She begins the song acapella with an acoustic guitar joining about 20 seconds in and though a difficult decision, this may just be my favorite song on the album.
Look, I could sit here and discuss 2:00 AM with you for hours but instead I’ll let Raquel Sofia speak for herself.
www.juliexplores.com interviews Raquel Sofia
Is it difficult to be that vulnerable in something that will be presented to the public? Is anything off limits when it comes to the subjects or subject matter you write about? (Like is there a particular situation or person that you can’t bring yourself to share?)
Nothing is off limits when it comes to my songwriting. I use my personal experiences to fuel my music and my creativity and I try to be as honest as possible when I write. I want people to able to see themselves in my songs and I believe the best way to achieve that is to be as transparent as possible. It’s not hard to be vulnerable at the moment I’m writing, the words just kind of pour out, but I do get a little nervous when certain songs are released to the world. It feels like I’m revealing my deepest, darkest secrets and that can be scary, but as soon as I receive positive feedback from fans, that fear turns into gratitude and happiness.
What is something in your life that has made you feel completely understood? Whether it be a song, a movie, a book? Anything that made you feel like life is a little bit less lonely because of this particular thing? I guess what inspired me to become a songwriter was feeling understood by the artists I listened to when I was younger. I remember once in college, I had a terrible break up and “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell said everything I was feeling at the moment.
If I had to share one of your songs with someone, a song that’s your most personal or that best describes you as a person, which one would it be? I think right now the song that describes me best is “Mi Última Canción” off my most recent album, “2:00 AM“
How does the songwriting process usually start for you? Is it a melody? A lyric? A story? Are there any songs that you regret releasing or on the other hand, are there any songs (or subjects) that you wish you had included in previous albums but you didn’t? I usually start with the message I want to convey, some lyrics or a general idea of what the song will be about. There aren’t any songs I regret releasing but I have tons of unreleased songs that I love but haven’t been able to record because of label politics lol. Someday!
In terms of your own path in music, do you think you’ll completely crossover and do a full-length album in english? If you do, do you think you’ll stick to the jazz and blues-inspired music that you’ve perfected in Spanish or will you maybe experiment with your sound a little more? I’m not opposed to doing a cross over album in the future, but I’m honestly really happy where I am creatively right now. I feel really grateful that I got to make “2:AM” because it’s the album I always dreamed of recording. I love that the producer, George Noriega, my band and my team understood my vision and were completely supportive of making music that combined my biggest influences: jazz, blues, soul and pop with lyrics in Spanish. I want to keep exploring and messing around with that before I make any changes.
What is the stage like for you? Has there ever been a show in particular, where you felt proud of yourself for overcoming? Maybe the audience wasn’t familiar with your work or you had technical difficulties that you had to push through? I feel the most comfortable when I’m on stage. It’s just really fun to play live, it feels like a reward for all the hard work. I recently did a show where I couldn’t hear anything on stage but the band and I pushed through. It was challenging, but we ended up having a blast and feeling proud that we overcame that obstacle.
How do you deal with the bad days? How do you push yourself when you get a “no”? Have you ever had days where everything feels against you? If so, how do you get past that? The music industry is harder than anyone can imagine. I’ve gotten let down and shut down so many times, I’ve developed thick skin. Honestly, it sounds cheesy, but it really is about believing in yourself, about saying “yes” when everyone around you is telling you “no”. I’ve had days when I feel like the whole world is falling apart, like I’m fighting a losing battle, but that’s part of it and when I get sweet messages from fans and see their reaction to my music, it makes it all worth while.
Who is YOUR dream collaboration?
I would love to work with Jorge Drexler or John Mayer. I’m obsessed with their music.
What’s a song that always gets you on your feet? Or a song that always brings a smile to your face and why? On the other end of that, what’s one song that always brings tears to your eyes? The Beatles always put me in a good mood and get me dancing. “Slow Dancing In A Burning Room” by John Mayer breaks my heart every time.
So what’s next for you? Another album? Maybe a tour that brings you to Los Angeles?
I just released my album “2:00 AM“, so the plan is to play shows and promote my new music. I moved to Mexico this week, so I’ll be playing here a ton, but will traveling as well. I just want to continue to share my songs with anyone that will listen. I feel really lucky to be able to do what I love.