The London-based singer-songwriter is tackling all the world’s ancient evils on her latest classical effort.
Sans Soucis is the indie-darling who should be on everyone’s lips. Ever since her captivating debut with 2017’s “Every Night”, the London-based singer-songwriter has been hard at work structuring her own musical world, rich with beautiful compositions and genre-defying magic. Inspired by the likes of Joni Mitchell, Frank Ocean, Lauryn Hill, James Blake and St. Vincent, Soucis’ sound draws from a mish-mash of classic Italian-Congolese sounds, be it the more severe stylings of Fabio Concato, or the enthralling grooves of traditional rumba.
Of course, her main inspirations all being legendary songwriters is no coincidence either. Taking into account the aforementioned talents’ ability to weave such beautiful words into their music, Soucis infuses the work of those powerhouse musicians into her own melancholic ruminations on life, set over effortlessly stripped-back beats and layers of harmonious instrumentation.
Her latest single “Red Coat”, featuring the divine string arrangement of Kadhja Bennet, epitomises all of this, though maybe a little softer than previous efforts. “When I wrote this song, I wanted to create something timeless that will make you travel back to when stories were told by cantors in village squares, as well as help you visualise your present and a way forward,” explains Soucis. On the track, the multi-hyphenate talent reclaims her voice as a songwriter, spotlighting raw, ancient evils in a unique fusion of folk and jazz.
The song’s release sees the artist gearing up for a successful year ahead, in addition to a monumental forthcoming EP. Check out our interview with this star on the rise below…
Hey Sans Soucis! How’s your lockdown been? Have you picked up any unusual skills?
Heya! What an ice-breaker! I think this latest lockdown for me is all about polishing and refining some of the work I’ve started at the very beginning of the pandemic. I think I’m getting better at embracing my self-worth too, which for me is a very important skill.
Do you think it’s affected your creativity?
Lockdown has definitely affected my creativity in ways that were not entirely surprising to me. I had moments of extreme prolificness juxtaposed with moments of stillness, which are already part of my creative routine. Although, I believe lockdown has intensified these aspects of my creative practice and has naturally carved some space for greater growth, which required more research and as a direct consequence more refinement.
I spent more time cultivating some aspects of my creativity that I had left behind with time. I’m painting more, I’m reading more and I’m finally listening to music with joy and curiosity, which was something that somehow got buried by the constant pressure to create and up-skill myself. These moments are fundamental in order to understand who you are in your personal life and in your professional one. I’m really grateful for them, as they gave me the confidence to be an intricate, beautifully creative human, a singer-songwriter, producer and guitarist, in my own right.
What is your earliest memory of music?
To be utterly honest, this is what always comes to mind… My earliest memory of music is four or five-year-old me sitting on the cold living room floor of my childhood home, as I’m searching for my favourite CD in a messy wooden draw. Then finding Mina, climbing on shelves to reach out for the CD player, putting the record on and dancing to “Se Telefonando” (all this without knowing that Ennio Morricone was the soundtrack for my dream ballet choreography).
Congratulations on your new single “Red Coat” with Kadhja Bonet! How did this collaboration come about? And what was the creative process like?
Thank you very much! I’m so happy this song is finally out and even more excited about the fact I was able to work with one of my favourite artists on this planet. Honestly, when I got in touch with Kadhja to possibly work on “Red Coat”, I was hit by her enthusiasm and absolute kindness. I respect and I’m inspired by her work so much that it was a dream to get her involved on this single. After sending my demo, she sent me a bounce of the track with her string arrangement a few weeks later and that literally sounded like the universe telling me “it was always meant to sound like this”. It’s always a very spiritual and enriching experience when you connect with people through music so well and when you’re working on the same wavelength. This was definitely one of my favourite tracks to produce. There is so much meaning behind every single decision, which is the ultimate goal for me as an artist.
The song explores the underbelly of wealth, cults and culture, what made you dive into this? What was the inspiration?
I usually let my instrument inspire me and I let it draw the words out of me when I need to articulate some sort of awareness or degree of consciousness. I wrote this song in a time where I was slowly realising how trauma had leaked into every aspect of my life and had also been fuelled by a society whose pillars are built on an illusion of wealth that is in fact the result of so much trauma, experienced by our predecessors and contemporaries, on a physical and spiritual level. Trauma is part of my history and living with this awareness in a privileged side of the world makes my responsibility of deconstructing it even greater. I consider this my own therapy.
I remember the moment I realised I wanted to be a songwriter and my need to speak of my experience and of my time. “Red Coat” encapsulates this moment. It makes you question what is real in the life you’re living, what lays behind any action you take, but it also encourages you to keep researching and keep questioning, most especially when you don’t have a full understanding of the world around you. “A missing piece from the puzzle doesn’t kill the work”.
What’s it like releasing music during such a difficult time?
Releasing music right now as an independent artist is hard work. Although, it is a challenge, I decided to not face it alone. I’m really lucky to have found on my way a community of people that supports and values my work, offering any kind of resources to make things happen.
Who would you say are your biggest inspirations are?
My mum’s my biggest inspiration. She’s an extraordinary woman who taught me the importance of perseverance, faith in your abilities and ambitions, and most importantly kindness of spirit. Right after my mother, music geniuses like Quincy Jones, Joni Mitchel, Henry Mancini, Bjork, Lauryn Hill, David Bowie, Maurice Ravel and the list is honestly really long. I’m also taking inspiration from incredible genre-defying artists and bands such as Laura Mvula, Lianne La Havas, St. Vincent, James Blake, Rosalia, Radiohead…
What I try to do with my own music is to create a perfect balance between my love for classics and my Italo-Congolese heritage, which is embedded in everything I do. I always go back to my favourite Italian songwriters and their stunning sensitivity, Lucio Battisti, Fabio Concato, Rino Gaetano, but also dig into old Congolese records that were played at every family reunion, to reconnect with what seem to be my most natural ‘rhythms’ or grooves if you wish. Definitely worth mentioning Franco Luambo, Koffi Olomide and Papa Wemba.
You’re set to release an EP later this year, what can we expect?
Expect a bit more than an EP, which is a tad short of an album. It’s definitely the most ambitious project I’ve been working on so far and I’m so eager to share this slice of life with you. I’m definitely moving towards a direction that sees my identity as a focal point to then dive into what I see around me and what I’d like to say. This definitely feels like the beginning of a new exciting chapter.
What are you most excited for in 2021?
I’m most excited about the music and art I’m going to create, the people I’m going to connect with and the summer!
Watch the video for “Red Coat (feat. Kadhja Bonet)” below…