Sophie Hintze is a professional singer/songwriter based in New York City. Sophie writes topline (melody and lyrics) for an array of genres with pop being a current main focus. Her songwriting and charismatic singing piqued the interest of BMG US in May 2014 and she was signed soon thereafter. Sophie works with accomplished artists/writers/producers in the industry throughout New York and often travels to LA and Nashville on writing trips. She has performed at New York’s Le Cirque Restaurant, the Metropolitan Room, and Somethin’ Jazz Club, to name a few. Sophie currently attends Tisch’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU.
Topic: Education, Your Music / Songwriting Career, Your Philosophy on Family, Friendship & Love!
Lead up to questions: Sophie I know that you recently signed with BMG Music and you have a very successful woman attorney on your side and looking after your back. And you are studying at Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU. Congrats on all that! Great start!
- DM – What keeps you grounded and how do you juggle school with your career and the desire to just do it!
- SH- I feel like staying grounded is based upon my mindset and outlook about myself as a songwriter in the industry. I don’t put myself on any kind of pedestal or think more of myself because of it. I don’t talk about it either unless someone asks. I look at it as my job and something I love and am very lucky to be able to do. I think it also has to do with the people I surround myself with. The friends I’ve made at NYU, and my hometown friends, are very supportive and collaborative, rather than competitive and ego-driven. Prioritizing is definitely something I had to really wrap my head around this year, especially with starting school. My workload is incredibly heavy and coupled with songwriting, my days can get insanely busy. People always take pride in their ability to multitask, but I juggle school and my career by compartmentalizing. I devote my full attention to the task at hand. When I’m doing school work, I stay focused on that. And, when I’m doing my professional work, I direct my full attention to that. I’m very disciplined in that way. To put things in perspective and clear my mind, I make sure I find time to get to the gym or go to Silver Towers to kick my soccer ball up against the side of the building a few hundred times.
- DM- You grew up with your family in Setauket, Long Island. What is it about your background that helps you to define yourself, who you are and how you will conduct yourself on any given day? And describe your parents and your siblings’ relationship before and now that you are out of the house and at University!
- SH – I grew up in a very balanced environment and my imagination was always encouraged. I dug in the dirt, played house, built forts, and made up dances to Britney Spears. My parents were always right there encouraging me. It was a pretty typical day, however, to hear my sister scream, “Mom, make her STOP singing, it’s driving me crazy!” Besides that, though, I was never taught to suppress my creativity and I think that has a lot to do with the person I am today. I’m definitely a Type A personality and an ultra perfectionist. I put a lot of pressure on myself, but work very hard to maintain a balance on a day-to-day basis. I always have a list of things I want to accomplish in the day and I don’t like to waste time. Also, I come from a household of giving back—my dad is a retired FDNY Captain and my mom manages a nonprofit historic park. Having two people like that as role models I think has contributed greatly to a mindset of helping others, too, and it balances out the other side of my brain. Even now that my sister and I are both out of the house and in college, she’s still my best friend and I’m extremely close with my parents. And my St. Bernard, Shelby.
- DM- What part of the songwriting do you do/handle and describe it? What do you look for in a collaborator?
- SH- I write topline! That means I write lyrics and melody. I love topline because it’s the part that gets stuck in your head and the part you sing in the shower. I love the challenge of picking the best words for a given time range/melody to tell the best story possible. It’s all about the vibe in the room during a co-write. I look for someone who’s super chill and easy to work with. Co-writing is such a fun process with the right people, but I also look for honesty and people who work efficiently. I’ve been really fortunate to work with incredible artists/writers/producers who strive to create great songs, rather than just good ones. It can take three hours, ten hours, days, or even months to perfect three minutes of music.
- DM- Describe a session with a new co-writer? And do you have the terms all set up once you meet up so there’s no chance to mix up what someone said or what they think they heard?
- SH – I walk into every new session with a medium coffee. That’s very important. Hahaha. If I haven’t met the writer(s) before, we usually play each other some of our music first and talk about our goals and life in general to sort of break the ice before we get started. Co-writing is a really interesting process because you have to go into a room with other people you may not even know (or like lol) and write a piece of art that can get personal. You want the environment to be as open and comfortable as possible because then the good stuff comes out. Respecting each other and leaving your ego outside the room is very important. Everyone’s input is equal. Listeners and music lovers aren’t dumb, and they can tell when something isn’t genuine. Music has to come from a place of truth. And, this is why… terms of the song percentages/agreements should never, EVER be discussed in the creative room. That would kill the vibe faster than a New York minute! All my negotiations go through my awesome attorney, Dina LaPolt—that’s all handled in her office, not in the room where the music is made.
- DM- Where do personal relationships fit into your life at this time? Both friendships and romantic? What is your experience / philosophy on both?
- SH- My friends are super important to me. Building friendships and maintaining great ones is something I consider to be one of the highest priorities in my life. I love the company of my friends and to just be able to go out and make amazing memories with them. As for romantic relationships, my philosophy is that if the right guy comes along, then YAY! But I’m not really looking for anyone because it’s hard for me to find time for myself right now, let alone for someone else! Right now I’m just chillin.
- DM- What is your favorite movie and why? And if your debut album was a movie, which movie would it be and why?
- SH- So this is a hard one for me to answer because I don’t watch a lot of movies, but I’m a HUGE Harry Potter fan. If my debut album was a movie, it would be the entire Harry Potter series in one. Hear me out. I like albums that are a full experience, like Kendrick’s To Pimp A Butterfly and Beyoncé’s Lemonade. There are so many layers to the Harry Potter series and every time you watch one of the movies, you discover something you hadn’t seen before. I would want a listener to experience that sort of intricacy with a common thread holding it all together, creating a place where people could escape to. In cheesier terms—something magical!
- DM- What made you decide to study undergrad at Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU. Why that school? and what kind of a degree and education will you have once you graduate?
- SH- I signed with BMG US while in high school and was faced with a crossroad—go to college or go to LA and jump into my career. I think that people often forget that songwriting is a business that needs to be learned. Education is very important to me and I chose NYU because of Tisch’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. I wanted to learn from top professors who work and are successful figures in the music industry. It’s really awesome when your advisor, Jim Anderson, has four Grammys on his office shelf, you’re standing next to Questlove in the elevator, and Pharrell Williams is walking the halls. NYU is the only school I applied to and I’m very proud to wear the letters. I’m also lucky that my publishing team at BMG, including Kris Muñoz, Thomas Scherer, and Marian Wolf, all encouraged and continue to support my decision to pursue college. Honestly, it was really hard in the beginning because when you go to college, you literally have to start over. I was thrown into New York City, had to make all new friends, and adjust to 18-credits while juggling my songwriting career. But, after just wrapping up freshman year, I can genuinely say that it was the hardest and most formative year of my life. I’ve learned an incredible amount about myself and music in the past nine months. College is not just about education; it’s also about the experience of making your own decisions, forming relationships with people from all over the world, and standing on your own two feet. When I graduate, I will have a BFA in Recorded Music.
To Stay Connected with Sophie: www.sophiehintze.com
Thank you Sophie Hintze!
Denise Marsa: www.keymediapublicrelations.com