Suggesting some of the more off-kilter, orchestrated indie pop of projects like tUnE-yArDs and Dirty Projectors, Sophia Kennedy’s songs often exhibit a theatrical quality, seeming to bridge Tin Pan Alley, off-Broadway musical theater, and observational singing/songwriting in varied arrangements that can include orchestral instruments and electronics. She delivered her first full-length recording, Sophia Kennedy, in 2017. Kennedy contributed songwriting and vocals to DJ Koze’s 2018 release Knock Knock before returning with her second album, Monsters, in 2021.
Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Kennedy moved to Germany to study film, eventually doing what she could to find work in the performing arts, including producing for theater and film. Her first single, 2013′s “Angel Lagoon,” was recorded with composer/multi-instrumentalist Carsten Meyer (aka Erobique). Kennedy spent some of the next few years composing for theater while working on solo material and further developing her style.
In April 2017, DJ Koze’s Hamburg-based label, Pampa Records, released Kennedy’s eponymous debut album, which established not only her quirky, animated pop but a lyrical style that valued imagery, fleeting observations, and wordplay as much as introspection. The Being Special EP followed in early 2018, also on Pampa. That year, Kennedy also appeared on two tracks on DJ Koze’s album Knock Knock. Following collaborations with Stella Sommer (aka Die Heiterkeit) and Helena Raika (as duo Shari Vari) in 2019, Kennedy worked to complete her second solo album, Monsters. It arrived on City Slang in May 2021. ~ Marcy Donelson