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S0F Makes Her Move

By Gary Wien

originally published: 07/24/2018

S0F Makes Her Move

This is an exciting time for Sofia Khorosh, a singer-songwriter who performs under the stage name S0F. She recently graduated from Rowan University and on July 10th announced her next big move - one that immediately caught our eye.

She announced on social media that she would no longer book any more cover gigs and was going to focus exclusively on her original music.  As someone who had been doing a mix of cover and original shows since she was 15, this is a huge step.  During the last 8 years, she booked every cover gig she could find - restaurants, bars, wineries, weddings, private parties - she did it all.  The money was nice, but her schedule was booked with shows that didn’t let her be the artist she wants to be.

“Above all else, I was just tired of being background music,” said SOF. “I’ve been writing my own music for as long as I’ve been singing, and even longer than I’ve been performing live professionally. I want to be an artist first and foremost, and I believe that starts with strictly performing my own songs from now on. I paid my dues and got a lot of experience out of cover gigs, but it’s time for me to move on and grow.”

In March 2017, S0F was one of 27 songwriters to be invited to Judy Stakee’s Songwriting Retreat in California. Stakee has over 30 years of experience as an executive in the music industry, including 20 years as Vice President of Creative at Warner. She was responsible for developing and signing artists like Sheryl Crow, Katy Perry, Gavin DeGraw, and Joy Williams.

While at the Retreat, S0F participated in cowriting sessions, networking, and gaining insight from Judy Stakee herself.  This fueled her passion for writing.



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“Judy’s retreat opened my eyes to so many new ways of writing and I found inspiration in a lot of new places,” explained S0F. “While I was there I met with other songwriters who were only interested in writing for other people and that’s where I differ— writing is my bread and butter, but so is performing.”

Unfortunately, original artists have far less places to play and earn far less than artists who perform covers. Some people think it’s a New Jersey thing, but it’s basically the same wherever you go.  Venues believe people want to hear music they already know more than hear something new.

On her social media post, she spoke about the cover gigs. “At first, I loved it. Being able to put a smile on people’s faces when they heard me cover their favorite songs was so rewarding. I got to meet so many cool people, pay my bills, and do my favorite activity of all time— sing!”

“But it was also hard work— sometimes I’d be performing for up to 4 hours in not the most ideal conditions (90 degree days on the Jersey Shore boardwalk, yikes!) Other times it was just hard for me to accept that I was essentially background music. The audience wasn’t there to hear S0F  (except for my parents)— they were simply there to eat dinner or have drinks with some ambiance. Despite all of that though, playing these cover shows helped me to feel comfortable and confident onstage and I’m so grateful for that constant practice.”

She admits that these gigs sometimes felt like a factory job - somewhere between running through the motions and feeling like an artist.  

“That isn’t to say I didn’t ever enjoy it,” she explained. “I’ve had so many great audiences over the years, and it’s definitely fun covering a song I really enjoy and getting good feedback. Sometimes I’d sneak in an original or two and someone in the audience would dig it— that made it all worth it.”

Now that she’s graduated college, she intends to spend more time writing. Not having cover shows will allow her even more time to write, but leave her with less income.  She has moved back home to East Brunswick to save money and plans on looking for a job within the next few months, but after spending her entire life up until now in school, she isn’t in a rush to start working. Plus she still has shows booked until the end of the year to provide an income.

“When I was mulling over the decision to quit cover gigs, the issue of money was obviously something that came up, but ultimately it’s about my happiness and what will benefit me in the long run,” said S0F. “Short term, cover shows will make me more money but I’ll continue plateauing as an artist. I’d rather evolve and have less money than the latter.”

Her musical journey has led her to opening spots for artists like Chris Barron (Spin Doctors), Walking Dead star Emily Kinney, Collective Soul’s Ed Roland, and country star Eric Paslay.  She’s also been part of several Glen Burtnik shows (Summer of Love and British Invasion) and has made fans from her support of charities. She’s performed benefits for wounded veterans at Lyons Veterans Hospital, Light of Day shows (for Parkinson’s Disease research), and the Candlelight Epilepsy Awareness concert series.

S0F plans to move out of New Jersey sometime - possibly even before the end of 2018.  She doesn’t know where she wants to go yet, but she knows what type of artist she’d like to be.  When asked if there is an artist she’d like to model her career after, she immediately says Lorde.

“I think she’s a genius, and I deeply admire her authenticity,” said S0F. “She’s so unique and unapologetic. That’s what I aspire to be.” 

To get there, she knows the music has to come first. In the past, she has tried doing everything at once - branding, performing, writing, and recording (even while attending college).  She even put out a new single each month for six months one year, but now recognizes that quality is better than quantity.  And quality will come one step at a time.

“A big problem I’ve had throughout the entirety of my career is feeling like I’m in a rush or running out of time,” she adds. “I’m not sure why— it’s probably some form of anxiety, but I’m not sure. I’ve released music in the past that I wasn’t fully in love with because I felt like I just needed to have something out. I’m realizing now that if I don’t love it, I can’t expect other people to. I know I’ll feel more fulfilled releasing music when I’m proud of it and I feel ready to, so I don’t have any planned release timeline at this moment. All I can say is I want what I release next to be unlike anything I’ve done before, and I know fans will understand my meticulousness.”







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Victor Wainwright & The Train To Perform At Lizzie Rose Music Room
(TUCKERTON, NJ) -- The Lizzie Rose Music Room presents Victor Wainwright and the Train on Wednesday, August 22 at 7:30pm. A 3 time BMA Piano Award winner,  BB KING Entertainer of the Year Award Winner, and Band of the Year Award winner, Victor Wainwright is at the top of his game right now.  The band is touring in support of their latest record, The Train, on Ruf Records. Tickets are 30 in advance and $35 at the door.
State Theatre presents Lost 80's Live
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Lost 80’s Live on Saturday, September 20, 2018 at 8:00pm. The Lost 80’s line-up features some of the most iconic bands from the 1980s including A Flock of Seagulls; Wang Chung; Bow Wow Wow; Farrington and Mann, Original Vocalists of When in Rome UK; Naked Eyes; and Animotion. Tickets range from $48-$98.
White Eagle Hall Presents Sloan
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- White Eagle Hall presents Sloan, one of Canada's best power-pop bands, on Friday, September 7 at 8:00pm. The band recently released their first album in four years, 12, which has become their highest-charting album in their long career.  Tickets are $25.
Vanessa Williams To Open MPAC's 24th Season
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- Vanessa Williams, one of the most respected and multi-faceted performers in entertainment today, performs at Mayo Performing Arts Center on Friday, September 14 at 8:00pm.  Tickets for MPAC's Opening Night celebration are $49-$99. 
NJSO presents 2018 Opening Night Celebration: Ode to Joy
(NEWARK, NJ) -- The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra celebrates the joys of giving, diversity and the state’s remarkable communities at its Opening Night Celebration on October 5 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. The gala, which kicks off Music Director Xian Zhang’s third season at the helm of the NJSO, honors two outstanding community members—Stevens Institute of Technology President Nariman Farvardin and NJSO Community Relations Liaison Florence Johnson. The NJSO repeats the concert performance on October 6 at 8:00pm at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick and October 7 at 3:00 pm at NJPAC. Concert tickets start at $20.


Let’s Hang On’s Tribute to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons LIVE! at The Strand
Q: So what do four guys from Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, and Massachusetts — and all currently based out of Florida — have in common with four guys from “Joisey” this summery August 3, 2018 evening at the Strand Theater in Lakewood, NJ?
80's Tribute Band Almost Journey Rocks iPlay America
I never in a million years would have thought about iPlay America in Freehold as being an event venue. To me, it's a place to ride bumper cars, have kids' birthday parties and play video games. Never been there.
The Great Rock N Roll Time Machine LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
As we make our way inside the Grunin Center of the Arts located on the campus of Ocean County College in Toms River, NJ, this Saturday, July 28, 2018, we see music lovers of all ages. Some of them are wearing street clothes but some are decked out in outfits from the 1970s and ’80s for tonight’s concert by the ’70s and ’80s tribute band, The Great Rock N Roll Time Machine.
Classical Guitarists Alex and Wesley Park LIVE! at The Great Auditorium
The bucolic seashore town of Ocean Grove, NJ is a place designed for quiet reflection and spiritual renewal. An artist sketches in the lush green park off Pilgrim Pathway. Still others read or meditate in the heart of this picturesque village which features gingerbread houses and colorful gardens, all just steps away from the fresh salt air wafting off the blue Atlantic Ocean.
“Rock and Roll Icons!” Hippiefest LIVE! at BergenPAC
A light summer rain is falling outside Englewood, NJ’s BergenPAC this Wednesday July 25, 2018, as music lovers decked out in peace signs, tie-dyed shirts, and bell-bottomed jeans arrive for tonight’s Hippiefest concert event starring Vanilla Fudge, Rick Derringer, Mitch Ryder, and Badfingers’ Joey Molland.










Event calendar
Saturday, Aug 18, 2018


MUSIC

90s By Nature Dance Party @ House of Independents, Asbury Park - 10:00pm

BALLYHOO! @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists @ Asbury Lanes, Asbury Park - 9:00pm

THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 5:00pm

ZEBRA @ The Wonder Bar, Asbury Park - 9:00pm

Blake Shelton @ Hard Rock Live Etess Arena at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 8:00pm

Legendary Beatles Recording Engineer Geoff Emerick @ The Vault at Victor Records , Berlin - 8:00pm


HAIR in Concert @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 10:00pm

AMERICAN IDOL: LIVE! 2018 @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:30pm

Billy Walton Band with Joe D'Angelo @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 8:00pm

REMEMBERING THE KING @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 7:00pm

Funky Feat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 8:00pm

Fuel (20th Anniversary Tour) w/ Ropetree, New Theory @ Starland Ballroom, Sayreville - 6:00pm

Ronnie Penque’s Panama Dead @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm







THEATRE

Saturday Night Fever @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 8:00pm

The Lion In Winter @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 8:00pm

Fern Hill @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 3:00pm and 8:00pm

Bob Goss and his Silver Sizzles @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 8:00pm

Shakespeare in the Park' Twelfth Night & Macbeth @ Various Bergen County Parks, Teaneck - 7:00pm



COMEDY

HASAN MINHAJ: BEFORE THE STORM @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 7:00pm and 9:30pm

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