I had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with British guitarist, Sophie Burrell, where we discussed what inspired her to pick up the guitar, new music and the show she’d go back in time to see.
How are you?
I’m good! How are you?
I’m good, glad your day is going well! I guess let’s jump right into the interview then
Go for it!
What inspired you to pick up guitar?
I was first inspired by School of Rock, the movie with Jack Black. I watched that when I was five and basically after that point decided that music is what I was going to do. I was a kid, but I knew early on after watching that movie that music and guitar is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Who are your main influences?
My influences have changed over the years, but of all time I would say my top influences are Slash, Mark Tremonti, Myles Kennedy, and David Gilmour. The person who really kicked it off though, was Avril Lavigne. She was my first obsession, my bedroom walls had posters of Avril everywhere.
Nice, Slash is one of my big influences as well. You started playing guitar at a rather young age, if that version of yourself could see you today, do you think she would be proud?
Aww I hope so. I think about this all the time, and I don’t really know if I even thought about the future or where I wanted to be. If I could go back in time and be like this is kind of what you’ve become when you’re 20-ish, I like to think that she would be proud.
I’m sure she would be very proud! About a month and a half ago you released your own free guitar course with Musicisum, can you tell us more about that and what was the inspiration behind it?
Musicisum is a teaching brand based in Brighton in the UK and they were looking to create this giant beginner guitar course. They were looking for a someone to teach it and had a couple recommendations and saw I had a background in teaching and of course music itself. They essentially reached out to see if I’d be interested and I leaped at the chance. It was a lot of fun, it was exhausting and took a year to pull together but I’m really proud of the product we’ve created, I think it’s so stellar. I’ve said it before that I wish I had something like this when learning guitar. There’s a lot of stuff in there that I didn’t even learn until a few years in and you can really do a lot with the information starting out.
I definitely need to check more of it out as an intermediate player myself! You released your first single Tranquility just over a year ago, what was that process like and what was the inspiration behind it?
I was in a band and then left that band in summer of 2019 and I was figuring out what I wanted to do and of course then the pandemic hit shortly after that. But before that I went to see Periphery and Plini was supporting. I was already a big Plini fan anyway, but after watching him and his set, I was like “that’s so inspiring’. I basically went home and started writing it because watching him live really inspired me. At that point I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but was just like solo guitar stuff, lets go. I was really busy throughout the pandemic, I was still teaching full time, so it took me a whole year to get it out. I’m glad I released it, it felt like an experiment to me. That’s how I see the solo guitar stuff, to help improve my playing and song writing as a guitar player.
I’m glad you released it as well! I love the melodic tones to it. From following you on Instagram and your YouTube channel, I know you’ve been working on your own band and music. Can we expect more original music from you this year?
Yes! It’s my main mission of this year, to get my band actual out. A few music videos, a couple of singles. It’s all I care about right now basically.
Great! Looking forward to that. Being a female in the music industry, have you ever dealt with sexism?
Yeah, definitely. Sometimes it’s so weird, it’ll happen, and I haven’t even realized it. I think that’s why up until this point because I’ve been experiencing it more recently, I would always say “No, not really. Everyone has been so supportive” when asked that in other interviews. From people who matter most to me, like other people in the industry, who I really admire and have an opinion that’s coming from a professional standpoint and really matter to me, no, but from the general audience, every day.
What advice would you give to others out there experiencing it?
Stay in your lane. If you want to go into being a musician or a creator, where you’re exposing yourself to a big audience, you must except that everyone isn’t going to like what you’re doing. At the end of the day, you’re doing what you’re doing and they’re not. Believe in yourself and do what makes you happy.
Now I’ve got a few fun questions to ask.
If you could only listen to three albums for the rest of your life, which albums would you pick and why?
That’s a really tough question actually. I would say when we fall asleep, where do we go by Billie Eilish. That’s an answer that most people wouldn’t be expecting but Billie Eilish is a huge inspiration to me. And on the other side of things maybe Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon, that album has shaped who am I without me even realizing it. I was raised on Pink Floyd, so I think subconsciously that’s had a big sort of contribution to who I am. And maybe Slash’s Apocalyptic Love, but that could change if you ask me tomorrow.
If you were asked to create a signature guitar, what would it look like?
That’s an easy question. My main guitar, my PRS custom 24 wood library, basically that but maybe in a different color. The spec on that guitar and how it looks and how it feels, all of that but in a different color. I’m a big fan of charcoals and purples. I think it would be a quilt top instead of the flame top and maybe instead of birds all the way up the fretboard I’d have a moon on the 12th fret as the inlay to make it a little more signature. I have several tattoos of the moon; I’m obsessed with the moon.
You’re allowed to time travel back to see one concert/festival, what year would you go back to and what show would you attend?
Nirvana’s MTV unplugged session. I would love to be an audience member at that. I love it, the whole set. We have that on vinyl. Big fan of that show they did.
That would definitely be a great show to be at! The whole MTV unplugged series is really cool. Is there anything else you would like to add before we wrap up?
Thank you for having me, it’s been a pleasure chatting with you.
It was a pleasure chatting with you as well, thank you for joining me!