Paradisia – Sound of Freedom | Sofar

We have partnered with Sofar Sounds in London to bring you some of the best new music, performed live in some of the most beautifully intimate settings in London. We caught up with London based trio Paradisia.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started, your music, influences and your ambition as a group.

SR – Individually we all started out very differently, When I was 18 I tried to make it as a solo artist having been inspired by singer songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Laura marling, Stevie Nicks but it was incredibly lonely, so I dipped my toes into various musical projects and then backing singing and studying music which was very short lived. About 2 years ago the girls and I decided to try it and it was instantly a much better and more positive existence.

KMB– I’ve always been musical and a performer, it’s just always been in my bones. From my parents playing music around the house from a young age and making up plays in my living room with my sister and cousins, to going to singing school, backing singing for a punk band and meeting Sophie and Anna (skipping out all the dodgy bits in between that no one really wants to hear haha) it has always been a passion of mine. When Paradisia formed the girls and I knew we had found each other for a reason. I’m excited for the future.

AP– I’ve always wanted to be a performer of some kind. I studied illustration at university but always knew I’ll end up doing something related to music. I’ve been playing harp since I was 9 years old and when I was a teenager I even had a short stint of quitting the harp and playing guitar as I wanted to be in a band so bad and thought that was the only way to get in there! Turns out the guitar never replaced the harp in my eyes and that affair was very short lived. Thankfully a couple of years ago I was lucky enough to meet Sophie and Kristy who were open minded enough to welcome a harp into their group. We are a very driven combination of people and we do everything ourselves, we’re constantly learning and adapting to the ever changing faces of the music industry and raising the bar into what we do. It’s a very fast paced environment. I’d like us to tour as far and wide as our music can possibly take us.

Your cover of ‘Dancing in the Dark’ made it into ‘The most beautiful songs in the world’ playlist on Spotify with almost 500k hits. Talk us through the moment you found out that song was one of the most beautiful in the world.

Anna– The reception of our cover of Springsteen’s anthem has been really overwhelming. There’s this magic moment that always happens live… Whenever we get to playing “Dancing In The Dark” (usually mid set) it’s a turning point to the show, it seems that everything falls into place when we play that song and from then on its smooth sailing. I always find myself thinking “ok, we’ve got this’. I love how little it’s produced and how simple the arrangement is, it’s very bare but at the same time you have the 3 key ingredients to Paradisia, the harmonies, the keys and the harp.

OK let’s talk about Omeara. An amazing venue and you headlined. Beautiful venue, ey?

SR – Omeara is perfect in every way! It’s owned by one of the Mumford’s and they really understand touring so it nails it for any performer. We were a little worried about filling it however on the night it was all alright. We played the album from start to finish, one of my favourite gigs to date for sure!

So what about all the planning that goes into a headline show, can you shed some light on what went into that night?

SR – So much! The set list was the 1st port of call and nailing that which was easy enough as we play with 3 other incredible musicians, Louise Bartle on drums, James Balmont on bass and Jonny Howe on guitar. We’ve been touring a lot so the preparation before each show is becoming more automatic, outfits get picked quicker, warm ups happen for longer…

Anna– It’s crazy to think how much time goes into rehearsing, planning and brainstorming into something that is going to last 60 minutes and then it’s gone! But then again the feeling you get up there is so strong and unique you do realise it is worth the sweat blood and tears. We’ve also just realised there’s this phenomenon that you’re so high on adrenaline after a big show you can never get drunk. It just doesn’t work.

UMA judge Charly Beedell-Tuck from the amazing Solo Agency is now your Live Agent. Weight off your shoulders, or does the hard work now just begin…

SR – She’s been with us for over a year now and we’ve been very fortunate to play some incredible venues and support slots. She understands what venues we suit and which artists we should support to then give us the opportunity to make new fans. We’re incredibly lucky to have her.

Anna– Honestly she’s one of the best things that’s happened to us, she’s one of the fiercest, hardest working people of the industry and an all round wonderful, superwoman.

You are currently unsigned and completely independent with your own record label Paradisian. Are you set now for the next few releases or are you looking for a label? Talk a little about what it means to be unsigned and undefended in 2017.

Anna – We are going to self release our next single. I must admit it was terrifying at first the thought of self releasing our album but the reality is there’s nothing quite like like the artistic freedom it has given us, it also means we’ve learnt to be on top of everything and be really aware of what we do and how we want to do it. If anything; being unsigned to me rhymes more with being defended then undefended.

SR– like Anna said artistic freedom is everything, at times I wonder would a label enable more exposure? But whatever it is that is exposed I would want to be behind the decision of that and I don’t know if that is a possibility. We have friends who are signed, they are under a lot of pressure to deliver always, we deliver without the anxiety attached. I would always recommend to remain as self sufficient as possible for as long as you possibly can and if any label is to sign you, ensure that it’s when you are sure of what and who you are as an artist.

What have been the highlights so far?

Anna– We played at Alter Oper in Frankfurt the day our album came out- it was the most beautiful venue and audience we’ve ever performed to and so far from home.

SR – I gotta say one of my favourites was the Isle of Wight festival on the Big Top Stage, there was an endless sea of people it was pretty surreal.

Kristy – We supported Michael Kiwanuka for a couple of nights a few months ago. We played the Sage in Gateshead which was just surreal for us! Could have heard a pin drop.

Can you let us into your plans for the rest of the year?

SR- We’ll be releasing our 3rd single from our album ‘Sound of Freedom’ in September, we’ve still got lots of touring. In fact I’m writing this a few hours before our show with Ryan Adams. We’re in the studio writing new songs, loving this Paradisia life that we lead.

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