Sophia Massad is an alternative/indie-rock artist, reigning from Oklahoma City. Her sultry to sassy vocal tones sculpt her unique sound. With her rugged charm, exuberant sense of humor and absurd performance style, Massad pours herself into every song. Her musical style, inspired by the Alabama Shakes, Amy Winehouse and Fleetwood Mac, can be both lawless and poetically honest. Massad’s biting lyrics reveal raw and transparent frustration.
How did you get started, education, etc., and did you always want a career in the music industry?
It is hard to pinpoint the moment when I decided I wanted to do music for a living. Growing up, almost every evening my dad would sit down with his guitar and he and my mom would sing all kinds of oldies: The Beatles, The Carpenters, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Simon and Garfunkel, and much more. It wasn’t too long until my dad began to teach me how to play guitar, my sister taught me piano, and my mom taught me to sing.
Once I began performing and writing and really becoming immersed in music, I realized it was the only thing that aided my Tourette syndrome and all of its added struggles. Growing up with Tourette syndrome (TS+) alienated me and caused me to have a constant mental and physical battle with myself. When I am making music, in pretty much any way, it is almost as if my TS+ does not exist at all. It calms my nervous system enough to where I can just relax and just get lost in the music. This happens when I’m writing, practicing, producing, and especially performing on stage. Once I realized this, around age eight or nine, I knew that music was going to be my future.
Freshman year of high school, I decided I wanted to be homeschooled, in order to make more time for music, so I ended up doing online school while spending most of my time at the studio recording my first EP and working on my vocal technique. The Sophia Massad EP released in the fall of 2014 when I also began music school at the University of Oklahoma, majoring in Opera… It wasn’t long before I realized the opera program was not for me!
Finally in 2017, after spending a year in Georgia, I decided to come back to Oklahoma and attend the Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM@UCO). Now, I cannot imagine a life without my ACM family. I made so many amazing connections and learned so much about the industry and production at ACM. During my time there, I started my own vocal coaching business, OKC Vocal Studios, and began teaching private vocal lessons. Soon after I graduated, I was asked to work there as a vocal instructor.
What is your role in the music industry?
Singer, Live sound engineer, vocal coach, songwriter, producer, band manager.
Most Recent Successes / Placements / Accomplishments / Projects? Career highlight?
Being a part of Play it Loud season 5! I loved getting to work with Outsider Productions, being able to showcase my band members (Tristan Todd, Michael Fabri, and Levi Sherman) and have my students from ACM sing backup vocals with me (Sarah Smith and Brooklyn Peterson). It was a great experience to be able to talk freely in a very special kind of interview. If you haven’t watched my episode of play it loud, you can find it on watchplayitloud.com.
What is your favorite Oklahoma music venue, music store, or recording studio?
Some of my all time favorite shows we have played have been at the 51st Street Speakeasy. We love the owners there and they have curated such a great stage that offers a real concert experience for both the listener and performer.
Can you share which Oklahoma organizations have contributed to your success and are there Oklahoma organizations you would recommend others connect with?
Thankfully, there are so many different organizations and music advocates in Oklahoma that have helped me grow. The first I would recommend for anyone trying to get their start in the music industry is ACM@UCO. If it weren’t for the connections I made in my time at ACM, I wouldn’t even have a band. I think the most important part of being a successful musician is having good connections and networking constantly. ACM opens those doors and pushes their students to work with one another and connect with music professionals in the city.
I also want to mention the Arts Council Oklahoma City. They have always been a strong advocate for music, but especially during quarantine. They have given me and my band many opportunities to perform live and on live streams throughout the year. There are many wonderful people involved in the arts council and anyone wanting to get into the music industry should connect with them.
To me, the biggest thing is to just be there. Be present, show up to concerts with local bands you’ve never heard of, meet them, learn from them, work with them, or play a show with them. Do your best with every single person you meet and force yourself to go outside of your comfort zone to connect with other like-minded musicians. It’s not so much about conquering a whole group/organization, but more so about cultivating those relationships with other musicians, artists, painters, photographers, creatives, etc.
How can we follow you?
Best place to purchase and listen to your music?
We are currently working on our album, and you can support it by purchasing our merch on our website or at Dig It in the Plaza.
You can find our currently released music on iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, etc. Just search Sophia Massad.
Advice for someone interested in working in the music industry.
Be kind to everyone you meet, it’s a small industry. It takes a long time to make a name for yourself, but commitment pays off. Be confident in what you are doing and SUPPORT OTHER ARTISTS!
What are some of the benefits of having a music career in Oklahoma?
After spending a year living in Georgia, I learned so much about how amazing Oklahomans are. There is something so special about the people here; Okies love to support other Okies. We have such a large and diverse city full of kind-hearted people who, in my experience, would probably love to hear your local band’s music. The music industry here is also smaller than other cities, but it’s ever growing and evolving, and we have an opportunity right now to be a part of that growth. Overall, the best part of having a music career in Oklahoma is the people.
“One person’s annoying is another’s inspiring and heroic.” – Leslie Knope