Remember when you were a child, and you’d mix a load of sticks, dirt, leaves and water along with a combination of whatever you could find then place it inside a pot and call it “potion”? Those children grew up to be frequent zodiac sign readers and just the type of people to listen to a Sônge record, the name itself translates to ‘daydreaming’ as well as a reference to the mythical world of legends and fantasy. Inspired by post-Impressionism, folklore and her own personal condition of synaesthesia- her concepts and visuals are otherworldly “I lived in an equestrian centre so I had a very nature-based childhood. I was always hanging around horses (we had about forty at home) and at times up to fifteen cats. I also was passionate about witchcraft, I had grimoires and wrote magic formulas!” Growing up in Brittany, a land known for its cultural aspects within northwest France; Sônge was greatly fascinated by mythology “I like stories, extraordinary trajectories, magic. All that tickles my imagination in fact I like to see beyond the real, I like the sensational!”
Transfiguring French R&B one step at a time, Sônge began her journey through joining an African percussion choir whilst in school, which then led to her attending festivals with a friend once they reached a certain age “Every Saturday I would go with a friend to class and studied rhythms from West Africa – a warm memory. We took our djembes and started jamming in parking lots and in campsites. We made friends with loads of strangers thanks to the music. A bit strange as we were two very young girls who played the djembe, it was intriguing!” Building from this, Sônge made her way to attend the Conservatoire de Paris; a prestigious drama, dance and music school situated in the avenue Jean Jaurès within the 19th arrondissement. Despite growing up listening to a range of reggae and psychedelic folk that inspires her music to this day “The conservatory had been a plus, but it was not my base. I learned a lot about harmony, that’s what fascinated me. I use a lot of jazz harmony in my productions. I also loved learning more about romantic composers, it was in the Romantic class that I discovered Wagner who inspired me the piece Crépuscules des Dieux (Twilight of the Idols). My inspiration was not musical, but it was inspired by the synopsis of Wagner’s greatest opera: The Ring of Nibelung. I also liked the courses on Impressionism because I discovered Debussy. I think that these references have been lodged in my head and that sometimes when I compose it re-emerges”.
Now, the stellar synesthete has released her debut album titled Flavourite CÂLÂ. TheLP shows an original yet refreshing way of presenting herself, while holding onto that exploration and ingenuity of subjects that matter to her “The album is as eclectic as me, it will take you to valleys and mountains then add some water, cosmos, mythology, magic, with some Caraïbes, and a sprinkle of Brittany!” A particular standout track is the statement track Magic Hairdo, an New Wave ode to Afro femininity expressed through eerie vocals with a looped field recording that repeats throughout the track. As more women of colour such as Princess Nokia and Solange alike are embracing their hair and celebrating their natural “African hair is a big subject. It can be very political. To keep natural hair, to straight hair, it can mean différent things for people. However, for me my hair is not political. It is more magical. It is something intimate, close to your soul. I wanted to do a parallel between the mystery of afro hair and the mystery of the universe”.
So far, Sônge’s career has been slow burning while leaving a mark everywhere she goes. With a loyal fanbase, consistent statements pieces and undeniable dedication- she will soon be standing alongside the greats. Her piece of advice for getting there? “ If you hesitate, do it!”
Words: Ashley Morris