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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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Riverside Rhythm and Rhyme Presents Patrick Fitzsimmons On December 16
(SUCCASUNNA, NJ) -- Riverside Rhythm and Rhyme (RR&R) presents Patrick Fitzsimmons on Sunday, December 16 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm at the Investors Bank Theatre in Succasunna. Tickets are $20 for general admission; $15 for RAA/SSG/JAM members; and free for those under 18.
Outpost in the Burbs Presents Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams
(MONTCLAIR, NJ) -- Outpost in the Burbs presents Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams on Saturday, December 8th at 8:00pm at the First Congregational Church, 40 South Fullerton Avenue.  Opening the show will be New York City-based singer-songwriter Leslie Mendelson. Outpost volunteers will be accepting donations of new, unwrapped toys for the holiday season for Toys for Tots at the show.
Jann Klose and The Voice's Josett Diaz To Perform At Ethical Brew To Benefit A Cause Close To Home
(TEANECK, NJ) -- On Saturday, December 8th, singer-songwriter and recording artist, Jann Klose will perform at Ethical Brew on behalf of Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center, a community arts and cultural center for children and teens located in Bronx, New York.  Doors open at 7:30, show begins at 8:00pm.
Kenny Chesney To Perform At Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
(ATLANTIC CITY, NJ) -- Focusing on smaller venues and markets not directly impacted by his massive stadium tours, Kenny Chesney sought to make his Songs for the Saints 2019 Tour mirror the intimacy of its namesake album. Inspired by the resilience of the people around him, Chesney doubles down on the human connection for his 2019 tour by seeking those members of No Shoes Nation who have spent the past decade and a half making the trip to stadium markets for what is now a summer tradition. On Saturday, May 11, 2019 he brings the tour to Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena in Atlantic City, NJ.
State Theatre New Jersey presents Cirque Dreams Holidaze
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Cirque Dreams Holidaze on Friday, December 7 at 8:00pm, Saturday, December 8 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm, and Sunday, December 9 at 2:00pm. Cirque Dreams Holidaze, a division of Cirque du Soleil, has become a critically acclaimed, state-of-the-art Broadway musical, and a fun-filled, holiday family show. Tickets range from $35-$98.


"Great Music!" Tavares and Harold Melvin's Blue Notes LIVE! at the Strand Theater
The music of the 1970s is alive and well this Saturday, November 3, 2018 at Lakewood, NJ’s Strand Theater with a concert by the ’70’s R&B and soul groups Tavares and Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes!
"An Amazing Musical Genius!" Brian Wilson LIVE! at the State Theatre
In the music room in the back of our house, there’s an electric bass and amp, two acoustic guitars, a microphone and PA speakers, several pieces of music recording equipment, and a bookcase filled with books on music, not to mention a slew of assorted music memorabilia. But, perhaps, one of the most highly prized items in the room is hanging directly above the piano next to the college music diplomas.
Jazz Saxophonist Don Braden LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s a breezy day for a new installment of the Jazz On a Sunday Afternoon concert series at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center of the Arts this Sunday Oct. 27, 2018 afternoon. Today’s special 3pm performance is entitled Earth, Wind and Wonder and is presented by jazz saxophonist Don Braden.
Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge LIVE! at The Strand, Lakewood
The stars are out this Saturday Oct. 26, 2018 evening in Lakewood, NJ for a “Golden Oldies” concert featuring Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge!
PODCAST: Grammy Winner Terri Lyne Carrington At TD James Moody Jazz Festival
Drummer, leader, and composer Terri Lyne Carrington made history as the first woman to win a Grammy for Best Instrumental Jazz for her album “Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue.” Now, she brings her interpretation of Duke Ellington’s “Money Jungle” to the TD James Moody Jazz Festival at NJPAC on November 11, 2018, as part of a program called “Jazz Vinyl Revisited.” Producer Susan Wallner talks to Carrington about her connections to the jazz greats Clark Terry and Max Roach; her newest project, the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice; and why she thinks drummers make natural leaders.






Event calendar
Tuesday, Nov 20, 2018


THEATRE
The Madness of George III @ Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, Morristown - 2:00pm and 7:00pm


MISC

Warren Miller’s Face of Winter @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 7:30pm

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