Interview with Sophie Glesius | Revista independiente de música

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Interview with Sophie Glesius

The German-Argentinian singer and composer Sophie Glesius, who has been residing in Barcelona for various years, tells us about MS-ZLANY, her most intimate side. After a time with the band HENRIETTE, the musician now presents 'Dime,' her first individual single.

MS-ZLANY mixes melodic hip-hop with R&B and soul, and she tells us about her first steps, her musical inspiration and her plans for the future.

How did you start in the music world? What was your motivation?

I started when I was a child, in Stuttgart (Germany). I was around four years old, I lived above a music school which was also a shop and I was fascinated by keyboards. Paradoxically, the guitar is my main instrument, but that is a different story. My motivation was a mix between a natural attraction to music, listening a lot to the radio during endless car rides and pure child-like curiosity for things that emit sound.

Do you remember what was the first song you composed? What was the inspiration for it?

I do remember it; I still could not make guitar chords with a capo and it was frustrating. The inspiration came from the frustration I felt for being stuck in my bedroom doing homework and not being able to go outside to play with my pets.

Your work draws on different genres at the present time, like R&B, soul, jazz or hip-hop. What are your greatest musical influences?

My greatest influence would be Stevie Wonder, but I have also been influenced by Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hills, Mariah Carey, Musiq Soulchild, Whitney Houston, Common and Erykah Badu.

What is your opinion on the current musical scene?

I think that there is a boom taking place in musical genres at a national level; people who start with a certain style very quickly shift to another through fusion, something in which I consider Spain has always been very present through flamenco. However, I must say that it is still very difficult to stay afloat when you are an emerging musician or a small one. I do not feel like the government takes care of the cultural framework that we musicians build. At a subconscious level, we create a shot of the sociocultural scene that takes place on a particular space at a particular time, and I think that this is a way of gaining a deeper understanding of  the population's state, needs or virtues.


Speaking strictly about my thing, there is no R&B scene in Barcelona, and I could not say that I know of anything similar to that anywhere on the peninsula. There is such thing, however, to a greater or lesser extent, as a hip-hop or indie musical scene. I think that the only place where R&B currently fits is at festivals which are a compendium of urban music. Nevertheless, I must say that sometimes, given that R&B is a very melodic and harmonious genre which draws a lot on gospel, it does not completely fit into rap or hip-hop festivals when it is played on fully acoustic performances, because people expect those other rhythms.

How was the MS-ZLANY project created? Why did you choose that name?

It was born on November 2018, when the rest of the group and me decided to temporarily dissolve the band HENRIETTE (R&B fusion in English - EP: 'Help the Stranger.)

This band had already been formed as a result of my final degree project, and it was a musical, transmedia solo project. However, my colleagues and friends had worked so much for it to be possible that I thought that instead of being just "Sophie Glesius" it could be a whole band from which we could all benefit. Once we split up, I retook that initial project I had started on 2013 of building a musical solo career for myself.

MS-ZLANY fancily means "miscellany", which is the English word for the Spanish term "miscelánea." I chose that name because that is the way I feel. My nationality is German, but that does not make me feel any less Argentinian. I have also been living here for many years, and I feel like I have all that mixed inside of me. I feel both Latin and Norse, I recognize both identities in my features. This makes me a person of marked polarities, who has had to fuse them and make them coexist in order to survive and accept myself. It is the same for me with masculinity and femininity. Both are strongly present in me and they are very fluid. I do not know if I prefer the day or the night... so that is why I called myself miscellaneous.

Which track would you never stop playing, among all of those you have composed up to this moment?

For me, composing tracks is transmuting feelings, giving sound to emotions and usually, without me realising it, spilling inner truths about who I am or what I think. It has sometimes happened to me that when I write down the last chord and the last word of a song and then play it whole for the first time, a chapter closes or I get over it. The advantage is that therefore said chapter stays forever in your song collection, for you to revisit it whenever you need. That is why El niño de la hipoteca told me several years ago that sometimes you can no longer sing some of the songs you have written, because they do not mean the same anymore and they feel less honest when you play them.

However, there are various songs from my teenage years that I would not mind bringing back. They are harmless and it is always fun to remember those first tracks from the period in which you only had four or five fans.

Recommend us an artist or a band that you have listened to.

The last person who overwhelmed me with his tenderness and technique was Peter Collins. His melismas are mind-blowing; he uses many chromatic melodies and besides tapping himself on the guitar while he plays, he does so in a very clean way. It is worth watching and listening to.

What is your project for the future?

My future project is right now, actually. I think that the future is built with every step. I want to perform at important festivals someday; I dream of coming on stage at Glastonbury, but also of performing at the Primavera Sound, Cruïlla, Bilbao BBK Live... and anything they throw my way. What I desire the most in the world is being able to make a living out of my music, to be and make myself happy with it. My project for the future is to keep working every day on my music career and never surrender, although there are some very tough moments. Overcoming this phase, growing up and exploiting my full potential are my goals.