Noir & B Artist Sophie Coran Discusses Her New Album ‘S P A C E’, Recording Process, & More

Sophie Coran, who defines her aesthetic as “Noir & B”, draws upon a spellbinding combination of sensual jazz allure and hypnotic dream-pop prestige in her latest album S P A C E, a cinematic intoxication indebted to the cosmos.

Accompanied by the brilliant musicianship of Logan Roth (keyboards), Arjun Dube (drums) and Mike Morrongiello (bass), Coran – who was responsible for every string arranged and lyric sung – blends the feeling of floating underwater with the feeling of swimming outside the earth’s atmosphere – wading in ethereal serenity. But beyond the clouds, we are met with an intricate sequence of the human experience, shrouded in the complexities of internal and external connections.

Familiar tracks – like the dreamy and mystical “Duller Star”, the wistfully mesmeric “Saltwater”, the rhythmically soulful “I Could Be Your”, and the weighted and achingly honest “Permission” – are melded with a slew of new tracks that range from smooth, evocative odes to stripped-down interludes. 

Perfect examples of this come from “Delilah’s” and “Delilah’s Interlude”, where the latter recreates the original theme in a reprise sung as if in an empty concert hall, adorned in reverb-soaked pianos and airy harmonies. The same can be heard when transitioning from “Circles” to “Circles ii”. The first is a subtly funk tune intertwined with multiple musical components and textures, where its reprise is a complete 180, as Coran’s smoky croon is paired with a muted piano, authentically raw in a way that almost feels like you’re intruding on something private and personal – an after-hours confession.

S P A C E is proficient in its compositions, featuring the swell and sweep of dark strings, shimmering chimes, groovy percussive elements, and twinkling electric piano arpeggios – all wrapped up in a slow burn of luminescence. Coran conveys just the right balance of seduction and sentimentalism, a beautiful collection effortlessly drifting between the stars.

We had the opportunity to converse with Coran about her newest record, in addition to grasping a greater insight over who she is.

I see where your style of music is described as “Noir & B.” How would you explain that and what influences are within it?

“Noir & B” is a hybrid of R&B and soul combined with string arrangements, reminiscent of classic movies from the 1950s and ‘60s. It’s a little bit of a nod to the past with a sense of nostalgia and poignancy, while also being something fresh.

What does a day in the life of Sophie Coran’s songwriting process look like?

It really varies! Some days I’ll work through an idea until I get a whole structure of a song, and other times I’ll write a song very quickly. Some days I’ll play around with one lyric or a chord progression and not get anywhere, but I’ve definitely gotten into a
flow where I know what needs to be done in my process if something isn’t working. Currently, I’m really excited about a new song I’m working on, so I’m trying to finish that one up. The best days are when I am able to finish a song relatively quickly —
those are always gifts. After I have the song, I’ll take it to my producer, Michael Cumming, where we flesh out a demo, or I’ll bring it to my band where we start to work through the full arrangement.

So I was hoping you could talk about your new album, S P A C E. What’s the
inspiration and influence behind it?

S P A C E is a journey that explores finding one’s place in the world. It’s about the relationship that we have with ourselves, while dealing with the love and loss of another person. The idea for the concept of S P A C E came from being inspired by both needing space from a person and a situation while also being aware of how vast the universe is — and somehow at the same time, feeling really connected to it that way. Sonically, so much of the album is built around live strings, and the R&B-influenced harmonies and arrangements. My bandmates really helped shape the album and are integral to the project. S P A C E turned out the way it did because of them. This album is really where I found my sound and honed it, and the next project will continue to evolve from here.

What overarching messages or feelings are you trying to display throughout it?

It is a very personal and emotional album, and I hope that comes across through the lyrics and arrangements. I am definitely exploring self-love and the discomfort that comes from searching for your place in the world. I also explore feeling aimless and
restless, anxiety, attachment, and unrequited love. I love writing about water, and outer space elements, and I explore those themes a lot throughout the album.

With a 13-track album, how much thought and time went into the order of the songs?

I love this question — quite a lot of time! My musical partner and producer, Michael, and I sat down and played around with the order throughout the months leading up to the release. There are musical interludes meant to fit in specific spots — even some of
the string arrangements have references to earlier tracks so the order is meant to show this journey. One night, Michael and I sat down at the studio with each of the tracks listed on little pieces of paper and spread them out so we could visually see what the
order would look like! It was really fun to figure it out. Ultimately, the order we chose is best meant to reflect the full story.

How did you get hooked up with ESI Records?

Connecting with Brian and Brianna of ESI Records was one of the highlights of COVID and how that shifted the timeline of the record. My manager, Maggie, is good friends with one of the founders of the label, and so that’s how we got connected. We
had a few Zoom calls and it felt like our visions were really aligned. I feel like I am in such good hands working with ESI Records because they value what an artist needs and they get excited about projects they connect with, so I’m very grateful for our
partnership.

While it may be like choosing a favorite child, which song or two were you most excited for the public to hear?

Probably “Delilah’s” — that was the last song I wrote for the record and the final song to come together, so it feels the most current. I’m really proud of the vocal harmonies that we came up with, and all the production choices we made. It still feels really
exciting to me. Another song is “Spinning Record” — once again, I am stoked about the vocal harmonies, and the electric guitar adds a whole other layer to the track (we don’t usually work with guitar so this was a treat!).

What might the rest of spring and summer look like for Sophie Coran?

I am really excited about a couple of music videos that I have coming up, so I’ll be planning the releases for those. Hopefully as shows start to come back and people feel comfortable about playing live, we’ll be performing again. I have new merch in the
works too! I am really pumped about my next project, which is mostly written — so hopefully we’ll be recording new music this summer.

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