Soulful Swedish songbird Sofia Landgren talks her love of music, passion for travel and surfing with whales
Words by Sophie Everard
Music is so incredibly important in my life. It makes you happy, sad, touched, and angry. Performing live is what I love most. You share moments in the present, with kids, oldies, all ages, from all over the world.
In that very moment when a song is performed everyone is united as an audience.
Getting to know people that do not think the same way is so interesting, and I use this opportunity to tell them my ideas. Thanks to the fact that they enjoy the music, they actually respect our opinions and might want to make a difference, especially when it comes to the environment. Last winter in a fancy hotel I was in a stressful dilemma, it was “earth hour" and I really didn’t want to sing in the microphone and have lights on me that night. After I talked to the director of the hotel she didn’t see a problem with us playing for a while completely without electricity. So we did! I walked around the clients and sang for them. We explained the reason and they were really positive. I got so touched by the reactions that I had to dry some tears after the first song.
To accompany my voice I play the piano, guitar or ukulele. I really recommend the ukulele since it is a great little instrument to travel with. The sound of it is so joyful and you can’t really play a sad song with it. It is very easy to learn a few chords since there are only 4 strings and a small neck perfect for girls to play on! I mostly write songs that I am proud of when I am under pressure, like a song I wrote for my cousin when she got married, I wrote it the night before!
This summer I have concerts booked in Sweden and England, and hopefully a few night club gigs with my friend DJ Joakim Alfvegren in Sweden. We go bananas and sometimes we get so carried away I get on his shoulders and play! I love see people getting carried away by dance music and shaking their asses off!
The house I grew up on is literally on the beach with an amazing sea view and sunsets. I am the youngest child out of 5. We all love skiing & snowboarding so we went to the Swiss Alps several times a year. When we weren’t in Switzerland we went by boat to a little island that is a nature reserve, my grandmother rented a cottage there for 40 years. It was amazing. Horses, cattle and sheep were grazing everywhere. We had to get water in buckets, no electricity, no TV, a miniradio, sometimes storms forced us to stay longer than planned, and we needed to collect food from nature and invent lots of things! A little like survivor!
Skateboarding was very important for me during high school. I was so scared of it but so hooked. Though I barely managed to ollie or pop-shuvit I loved the feeling dropping ramps... But once that was done I did nothing more. Maybe a turn, max! I finally learned “rock n roll to fakie" on small miniramps, but was so fricking scared that I of course fell and hurt myself. I think most “action sports" accidents happen due to fear and hesitating.
I love trying to find bed & breakfast accommodation when you travel since you often get to stay in a local’s home and get to know the culture much easier than if you’re in a hotel. I signed up for couch surfing, but haven’t gotten by to try it yet! That is such a cool idea. Another thing I love about travelling is that you realize how lucky you are that you have food, a roof, and you really appreciate the little things. You also realize that “little is enough", I mean that you have so much stuff, but that you actually could fit all necessary things in just one little back pack.
I think that is really important, that you do whatever makes you happy and try to live for the moment, how cliché it ever might seem. I earn much less but the quality of life is so beautiful. Being able to surf waves, ride mountains, and sing for all kinds of people. Some of my most awesome and magic of travel memories include arriving in Hawaii, Oahu, with tears in my eyes, finally getting to the place I’ve dreamed of so much; a crazy party night in Tokyo with loud karaoke finishing at 3am in a fancy sushi place with business women and men in suits. Losing and forgetting passports, tickets, wallets, flight attendant uniforms and often finding them again thanks to honest people! I believe if you do the same (handing in a lost wallet-you’ll get your one back one day!)Surfing an amazing spot with my girlfriend Marie in California and we saw dolphins jumping, pelicans, seals and if that wasn’t enough there came a “California grey whale" less than 50m from us.
Do what you love! If you don’t have any passion yet, try surfing! I’m sure you’ll get hooked! It’s such a great sport in all ways- for your health, physique, a beautiful tan, abs and guns. In the water you’ll meet all sorts of people with different stories, jobs, nationalities, rich, poor - don’t be shy, be polite and respectful to each other and let everyone have a go on the waves and you’ll get many friends.
If I catch one or two smaller waves I’m happy for a week. I love bringing my mask that I keep around my neck when duck diving, to check out the world bellow, all the colorful fishes and crystal clear water. The power of the ocean and nature makes a lot of people who are not so environmentally friendly realize how amazing nature is and how important it is that we all do our best to save it.You need so little, a board and a bikini, if it’s chilly a wet suit! That’s it!
The power of the ocean and nature makes a lot of people who are not so environmentally friendly realize how amazing nature is and how important it is that we all do our best to save it.
Try to what you can save our planet. Small things like recycling, trying to buy organic products, turning lights off, buy second hand gear and clothes, don’t throw away things, donate to charity.
I’ve got a little saying that I got from a fortune cookie in an Asian restaurant in Ocean Beach (California) saying: “Your talents will be recognized and suitably rewarded". I keep it in my wallet at all times. I love that saying, and I really believe it is true; you will be able to do what you love and live off it one day. Maybe you won’t be as wealthy as if you followed the path that school want to take you, but you’ll be true to yourself and do things you like and you’ll get good at it.