Of all of the popular, mainstream genres of music, jazz has always been the most elusive, with none in between. You either love it or hate it. Well, rather than just accepting this general sentiment, Sophianne Girard has higher-level goals for her music. She recently released her new album, For Some Reason, a breezy combo of contemporary and modern jazz with a bit of a Latin flavour. With her own personal approach to jazz, Girard aims to affect listeners differently than many of her cohorts, past and present. She tries to make her music relatable and accessible, which will catch the interest of a person who doesn’t typically like jazz. It’s a tall task, but one she is up to, and that ambition is evident throughout the easy listening experience that is For Some Reason.

The Montreal-based Girard may be young, but she’s wise beyond her ears from a musical point of view. She graduated from McGill University in 2021, and after finishing, she switched her focus to completing the arrangements and production on For Some Reason, along with the assistance of pianist Yannick Anctil and musician Elisabeth Lajoie. At this point, she’s preparing to release Live at Opus Studios on January 20th, which will include different vocal, piano, and guitar arrangements to some of her previously released songs.

Today, we chat with the charming and highly skilled Girard about her creative process, the artists she’d like to work with, the joys of playing music, and her view on the music industry.

How would you describe your own music?

Sophianne Girard: “Each song represents a point in time (a part of my personality, a thought, or an event). I would describe my music as sensible and soft, but also festive and fresh. I hope it is as alive for you than it is for me.”

How would you describe your creative process?

“I like to try different methods and see where it leads me. Sometimes, I start with a chord progression, with a line or a melody, with lyrics or with a colour (e.g. minor, major, Ionian, Phrygian, etc.) I explore different avenues. I often get ideas while walking or doing something that doesn’t have any connection with music. So, I record them on my phone or write them down. I leave them there, and when I’m ready, I go back to them to see if something can be done with these.”

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

“I would love to collaborate with Snazzback, Thandi Ntuli, or Olivia Dean! They are different from one another, for sure, but what incredible musicians they are! They have that little something that gets me excited when I hear music. I definitely would like to work with a lot of artists from Canada and the U.S. too. There is good music everywhere!”

Artwork for the album ‘For Some Reason’ by Sophianne Girard

What’s the best criticism you’ve ever received about your music or performance?

“I’ve been compared to Maria Schneider two or three times, and this is a huge honour. She is such a great composer and arranger. I think I get compared to her because of the aerial Ionian sound of my music mostly (and maybe the smooth transitions?). Also, some people told me my voice reminded them of Nora Jones, who is a musician I respect a lot.”

If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?

“I always try to be surrounded by people who are doing music for music, for the beauty of it. I like it when we help and support each other. Art should be a unifier. Art should be done without ego. As artists, we need to work on ourselves and our music to be the best version of ourselves, not of someone’s idea of talent. I’m not perfect, and nobody is, so I’ll attempt to share my vulnerability through my music again and again. Hopefully, the love will be transported through sound.”

What do you like most about playing music?

“I think when we feel free to play whatever we want, and we really speak to each other through music, something really comforting and liberating, at the same time, happens. It’s the zone. It’s a shot of pure pleasure. I think this is why we keep on making music, keep on trying to leave a trace in this fast-paced world. An example of this is the sax improvisation at the beginning of ‘Inutile Digression.’ I really tried to capture these emotions, this vibe of being rocked by music. I think it is also noticeable in the rest of the tune.”

Which do you enjoy the most: writing, recording, practicing, or playing live?

“What I like the most is composing and writing texts. It is so fun and creative. It really helps me process different emotions or events I experienced or am experiencing. It guides me and helps me grow.”

Your new album, For Some Reason, was recently released. Now that it is complete, how do you feel about it, and what has been the response so far?

“My album For Some Reason received good critiques. I didn’t know what the outcome for it would be, but I’m happy with how things are going and what I’ve accomplished so far with my music.”

Is there anywhere you would like to go that you have not been to?

“I would love to travel the world with my music. The most accessible place is Canada (obviously), but I’d like to tour in the U.S. and in Europe too!”

Artwork for the album ‘Bright & Cold’ by Sophianne Girard

Do you receive a lot of support from your local scene and fans in general?

“For now, I receive(d) good support from the Quebec scene. I feel like my music is appreciated, and it is worth continuing composing and playing. I would have anyway, but it’s nice to know some people are interested in my creations. Also, I’m starting to get support from the other side of Canada (British Columbia and Alberta). It is exciting.”

Politics and Music. Yay, Nay or What the Hay?

“Yayyyy. ‘Graceful Earth’ and ‘Stigma’ are two songs politically engaged. One is about climate change, and the other is about closing our eyes on society’s problems. I didn’t mean for them to be politically engaged; it just happened. Still, I’m happy to share my point of view on some societal problems with my audience.”

What are your touring plans for the near future?

“On January 20th, I’m releasing a live EP called Live at Opus Studios. The video that goes with it will be released on January 31st (on my 25th birthday!) Otherwise, this summer, I’ll be touring for a week or two in Quebec (follow me for more information); I have a show, in octet format, coming up on March 18th at La Cale – Pub zero déchet (in Montreal) and, if you want to hear my music, it is available on every streaming platform. I have physical copies of the album, and it’s possible to buy it on Bandcamp!”

Author

Born in 2003, V13 was a socio-political website that, in 2005, morphed into PureGrainAudio and spent 15 years developing into one of Canada's (and the world’s) leading music sites. On the eve of the site’s 15th anniversary, a full re-launch and rebrand takes us back to our roots and opens the door to a full suite of Music, Film, TV, and Cultural content.