With the ‘Blur’ star’s freshly released Matthew James Hemmer-collaboration out now for streaming as she enjoys her summertime in a humid Accra, we found the perfect opportunity to get the singer and her talented collaborator to commit to an interview, all under one editorial piece – talk about killing two birds with one stone. How cool is that?
‘Distance’ is the new collaboration, registering as Sofie and Matthew’s first commercial song together. Dubbed an Alternative R&B song, ‘Distance’ is powered by a performance meant to mirror what a catch-up session between two ex-lovers reconnecting post breakup would sound like – aside lots of elegant wording of course and has the two Berklee College of Music alumni display their best in a bid to further expand their horizons.
But before diving into our time with the two on ‘Distance’, their careers, music and more, how about a little introduction?
Well, Sofie is no newcomer to Ghanaian audiences. Her musical ascent began years prior, reinforced by the very affable ‘Blur’ little over two months ago. That said, her American and German ancestry never kept her away from her roots, culminating in a series of performances at the Chalewote Festival and African Diaspora Homecoming Conference Gala Night.
Then there’s Matthew James Hemmer, a singer, songwriter and producer raised in Bethesda, Maryland. He may be unpopular among most of our readers, but his fluidity with genres has seen him create songs that are effortless in appeal – one our readers might have a hard time ignoring. Matthew, as such, captures his unique perspective on life through these varied rhythms, officially marking his debut with ‘Bad Habits’. His 5-track EP, ‘’Exotic’’ would follow next, featuring the likes of Cccorazon, Killacamm and Delilah Brao.
Stream ‘Distance’ right after enjoying our 3-way conversation.
Q: Hello Sofie, Matthew. How is the summer going?
Sofie: My Summer is going pretty well thus far. It is my favourite time of the year. I have left the States and I am very happy to be in Accra in tropical weather again and to be surrounded by my family and friends.Things are also going well with the music too. I am excited to continue sharing what I’ve been working on for the past couple years and I am very excited for ‘Distance’ to drop.
Matthew: Going well, thank you!! The first half of the year was quite busy and stressful with some personal matters, but since May everything has calmed down a lot. I’ve had more time to focus on music and collaborations like this one and I’m really enjoying the Summer so far. It’s my second Summer in New York.
Q: ‘Distance’ is now official. What inspired it and who took the first steps to make it possible?
Sofie: ‘Distance’ came about in a session that Matthew and I had in New York. We had previously talked about linking up and doing something together so when we got the chance, we took it and started cooking up. As we started writing, we started producing the beat. We both shared how we had been feeling in our last relationships and could relate to each other. The song is about wanting to be closer to your significant other and to experience that reciprocity that comes with a healthy relationship. We had a bunch of mix sessions together in NYC as well to get the best sound possible. We hope you all love it!
Matthew: I was really excited when Sofie reached out about being in the New York area. I had always thought her work sounded dope – and having the chance to hang out and create together has led to a valuable friendship :). We talked about what had been going on in our lives and whipped up the song concept and all in all just had a great time!
Q: Matthew, how did it feel producing and working with Sofie on your first collaboration together?
Matthew: It was awesome! Sofie and I already knew each other from several different songwriting classes, but we had never linked up to actually put something official together. She’s great at freestyling melodies and bouncing ideas back and forth, and I think we had a really good studio energy going. ‘Distance’ was so fun to produce and I look forward to another one sometime in the future.
Q: What does music mean to you two having studied in one of its prestigious institutions?
Sofie: Music has always been one of my favourite things in the world and I’ve always gravitated towards it since I was a child. I have an immense amount of gratitude for having been able to experience Berklee pre pandemic, luckily, I only had 1 year ish online and to have made friends for life. Music will always be everything to me. Being surrounded by so many talented musicians who also had a lot of drive was such an incredible and beautiful thing and I learned a lot from my peers and professors of course. Going to that college definitely made me a better musician and also person; it also taught me that the growing and learning never stops. Berklee was just the first step to a really long career, God willing.
Matthew: Music started for me as a creative outlet and fun pastime, but by high school it had grown into an important part of my life and was also a really powerful therapeutic influence. Berklee was amazing since I was able to meet so many talented peers and friends, as well as flushing out the music theory and songwriting craft knowledge. However, even as I work to make music my career, I feel like it’s vital to remember that at its core, musical enjoyment and fulfillment for me is less about the theory and more about the therapy. I’m grateful to have deepened my understanding of music during college and to have music as an ever-present force in my day to day.
Q: Now to you Sofie. How is your time in Ghana going? Any surprises up your sleeve yet?
Sofie: Being back home in Ghana has been very rewarding so far. I needed to come back. I’ve been planning a bunch of things music wise so I definitely have things up my sleeve. I’ve had a couple sessions with producers and I look forward to more of that and collaborating with some artists here. I have been on my grind. I can’t wait to perform in Accra again.
Q: Before you two go, mind sharing what lies ahead for you two career-wise?
Sofie: More and more and more music. More performances and stepping out of my comfort zone. I also plan on moving to California in the fall.. I’m really looking forward to that and I can’t wait to see where that takes me creatively. I would love to open on tour for an artist I love. Let the good times roll.
Matthew: I’ll be based out of New York for the next couple of years at least, with my girlfriend and our three cats. After she finishes graduate school we’ll see, but I have a lot of different collaborations in the works right now and hope to put together another album or EP during the next two years! I’m also looking into opportunities for more live events and potential touring. Thanks so much for talking with us today!