Black Mirror singer Sophie Simmons says it's "fun writing about abstract ideas, dreams, and concepts" in indie pop
Sophie Simmons, daughter of Gene Simmons, in an exclusive conversation about her childhood, her work, and her inclination for indie pop
Sophie Simmons is not new to the entertainment world. Daughter of Kiss frontman Gene Simmons and actress Shannon Tweed, Sophie spent years breaking out from her notorious family and focusing on her own music career.
She debuted her single 'Black Mirror' on February 23 (it still sits at #20 on the Billboard Dance Chart), followed it up with “Burn Me Down” on April 13 and premiered her newest single 'Paper Cut' on June 22.
LA-based Sophie has made a name for herself apart from her rock and roll roots, not limiting herself to one aspect of the entertainment industry and establishing herself as an actress, model, host, musician, and activist.
Late last year, Sophie focused on releases within the dance music, pairing up with The Galaxy (Dangerous), Cesqeaux (Private Time) and Yellow Claw (Home). She currently has over 2 dozen tracks released as a co-writer or a vocalist with many dance artists in the industry.
As a body positivity activist, she has been seen re-defining beauty as the host of Refinery 29’s Body Image School digital series and as the face of Adore Me’s “all women campaign” (showing women of all sizes in lingerie).
Sophie also runs a child abuse advocacy center called Sophie’s Place in her second home: Vancouver, Canada. Sophie attended Pomona College where she was a competitive volleyball player and studied computer science.
If yuu aren't already considering yourself an underachiever, Sophie is also passionate about cooking and attended the Cordon Bleu in Paris where she studied to be a pastry chef.
In a conversation with Meaww, the multi-faceted personality spoke about growing up with celebrity parents, the significance of family in framing a person's childhood, her inclination for indie pop, and her Vancouver advocacy center where adults listen to abused children.
1. Could tell us about your journey from being a musician to a philanthropist?
I think they kind of started at the same time, it wasn't like a journey from one to the other. My family has always been very well involved in every kind of endeavors and music our whole life, so these were the two things I sincerely grew up with. Especially my mom, she got our family more globally aware and got us involved. My dad was more into music, but they kind of came together.
2. What influences your music the most?
I think my personal life because that is what I know the most. It's fun writing about abstract ideas, dreams, and concepts, and one in life becomes stronger with personal experiences. People can easily identify with the stories because it's more relatable, so I think personal life is definitely a big part of it.
3. How would you define your genre of music?
There's more like...I would describe it as indie pop. Straight pop to me is kind of like always happy and always upbeat, and the narrator of the song is always the hero of the song. Whereas indie pop can be more self-aware, and maybe have a little bit of difference in the production style, kind of pushing the boundaries. If it is pop or it is something new, that is what I like about it, that's kind of groundbreaking.
4. What challenges have you faced as an actor?
I think definitely its the journey from music because with music you are creating everything, start to finish and it's more your story, whereas acting you are trying act over the script that has already been created. And I always found it hard not to bring myself through the characters.
5. What was it like growing up as the daughter of a rockstar?
For me, it was really normal because I had nothing to compare to. My parents did everything that I assume other normal parents do. They loved me and my brother, they made sure we were educated, in the house and the welfare. We were so well loved growing up and of course, they are so proud of everything my brother and I do. And I think that's how all parents should be towards their children. It was very normal, we never did anything out of the extraordinary except when I acted in a reality show when I was a teenager. My brother and I went to public school, we hung out with kids of our age, we weren't homeschooled. Our school was the number one priority for our parents.
6. Do you think that it is difficult to make your way into the limelight without being attached with your parents' name? Does it bother you to always be recognized as the daughter of famous personalities?
Of course, but then anyone whose parents have excelled must have faced this problem. I think all it means that you should be proud of your parents and what they have accomplished. When you are still new, you get their work ethics to go after...after whatever you are passionate about. I think recognition for your own work comes in time, I don't mind waiting for that. I think it's nearly impossible and unavoidable. In my art projects, if I don't use my real name, no one will ever know. The truth is people find out about it and it's unavoidable, and I am proud to be the daughter of my parents. I think they are extraordinary not because of their careers but who they are as people. I cannot separate myself from my family, you know my name is my name. But then again, I can't make people love my song because of who my parents are.
7. What sort of obstacles did you and your family overcome while working for the reality show, 'Gene Simmons: Family Jewels'?
Especially because we were one of the first reality shows of this kind, now reality shows are more structured and ours was kind of just...well, we won't film anything until we get something. And there's obviously a bad fact. My brother and I were still young when we started filming, but my family...we were brought up to think that we were all on the same team, no matter what. Even if we were in a stressful situation or we don't like something that's going on, the family's always on one team and everybody else is on another team. It was nice getting to work with my parents while growing up. I think I avoided a lot of troubles that other kids my age have got into because we were with our parents.
Your song 'Black Mirror' is directly inspired by the dystopian TV show. Do you believe that technology is gradually endangering human beings and their privacy?
I don't know if "endangering" is the right word, I think there's a level of evolution that probably hasn't happened since we have gained access to...I mean the new technology. I think we are just tumbling along to use it because certainly, everyone has a kingdom to preach to, especially social media. I think we are not used to that as a society, so I think there is a bit of a learning curb. But I don't know if it's endangering because definitely there are ways that it can be helpful, by connecting people around the world. But at the same time, there are people who are not going to use it for the right reasons.
9. What sort of facilities do you provide to children whom you rescue at Sophie's Place?
Sophie's Place works with children who have been mentally and physically abused. I don't' know if "rescue" is the right word but we try to help. And these kids and families oftentimes come to us when they need some rescuing. We are just prepared to help with anything and everything we can, with the legal process, the councilling that's needed. It is a safe place where kids can talk about what happened to them, and where adults believe them. Which sadly, is very rare. Growing up I have always worked with children, and I think that's something I got from my mom. It started in elementary school, and it evolved in high school where I was involved with orphanages, stay and work with them.
10. What other things do you have in mind for the future?
Right now, I am definitely focused mostly on music. I am in the studio every day, writing songs for myself and other artists. I have a trip planned for the summer, I will be going to Amsterdam to work with some artists there. So, definitely just concentrate on music at the time.
Catch her song 'Black Mirror' below: