Love, Yoga and Singing Lead with Songwriter Raquel Sofia
And now, a short, musical fairytale…
A guitar-wielding, jazz-obsessed Puerto Rican teenager attends an acclaimed music college in the United States, becomes a backup singer for Shakira and Juanes, then steps out of the shadows to release her own songs and debut album, gaining a small but devoted group of fans in the process. This is the story of Raquel Sofia (@raquelsofia), a Miami-based singer-songwriter with a love of music and yoga. Experience and success aside though, she is still finding the whole emerging rock star thing a bit surreal.
“I hate using the word fans because I still can’t believe it,” she says. “That’s the craziest part, when you hear people singing your songs. The other day, a producer from Mexico sent me a text: ‘I am working on this new artist’s album and I asked her what her reference album is, and she said, Raquel Sofia’s album, she’s my favorite artist.’ Like, hearing stuff like that, I can’t believe it. I just love that people are connecting.”
Finding that personal connection is imperative for a new artist, particularly when their first album deals with a topic as complicated and toxic as love — and Raquel’s record, Te Quiero los Domingos (I Love You on Sundays) explores it in spades, from the happy and cheesy puppy-dog love, to the love filled with anger and pain.
“It’s a super bipolar album,” she says. “I just think we talk about the same thing a lot, and love is so complicated with so many dimensions and so many different colors. I just want to talk about the different sides of it.”
On Te Quiero, those sides are punctuated with a mix of rock and jazz harmonies and reverbed drums. But the record’s personal nature has also inspired Raquel to spend time performing stripped down portions of tracks around town with her guitar. Laid bare, they feel even more intimate.
“I did little snippets of songs because, to me, it’s super important for people to realize I am a songwriter,” she says. “I wrote these songs, they are about my life, I can play them. They are super personal. So I wanted to do those snippets while walking on the streets.”
To build a following you have to get personal. And though Raquel has a fan base now, she knows there’s still more room to grow, more places to see and more fans to reach. But she’s ready for it. Even when she was singing backup for Shakira, she was preparing for a moment like this.
“In my head I never stopped being a frontperson,” she says. “I was still focused on writing my own songs, still writing my own music, which would eventually lead me to getting signed and opening up. I was still very much focused on my career. Those gigs [with Shakira and Juanes were] amazing gigs, and you travel and you’re with a great team, and you could easily stop to think, OK, I will stop here, this is great. But I just always knew I wanted to be songwriting and doing my own stuff.”