The emerging young singer-songwriter Sophie Koorhan released her debut album, For A Fella, in August via the Philadelphia-based independent imprint Crossbow Studio Records. Her chameleon-like musical style incorporates jazzy, piano-led pop-rock that is highlighted by her powerful and soulful voice as she writes about love and life with a youthful exuberance that is bolstered by a wise-beyond-her-years maturity.
Sophie is currently a freshman at Belmont University in Nashville and is studying the business side of music as well as sharpening her writing and performance skills. Koorhan wrote all of the music and lyrics on the album which was produced and arranged by Joe Moser, who also contributed his expert piano and keyboard playing to the album. She was also assisted in the studio by guitarist Chris Frasco, bassist Joe Plowman and drummer Mark McGuire who helped to shape her musical vision.
[pullquote align=”normal”]For a Fella could be an instant hit if given the chance. [/pullquote]
“One Sided Love” opens the album with a tale of unrequited love set to ringing piano chords and guest Allyson Clark provides her fluttering violins that mimic the butterflies in your stomach feeling you get when confronting a crush. The song also provides the perfect introduction to Sophie’s unique voice and makes use of her catchy vocal cadence. The folk-tinged “Frayed” follows with softly swelling melodies and an indelible sing-along chorus. The radio-ready title track, “For A Fella,” could be an instant hit if given the chance. In fact, with its classic pop sound, it could easily have been a hit in any of the prior four decades.
Sophie brings out her sophisticated, jazz-leaning side on the standout track, “Butter Knife,” where the lyrics bite with a brutal honesty and she sounds smoky and confident like Adele. A video of her high school’s a cappella group performing a version of the song can be seen on her YouTube page.
On the beautiful yet bittersweet piano-led ballad, “Near Kiss,” Sophie again showcases her raw lyrical talent with passionate lines like, “And let me know if I’ll ever be/The face, behind your eyes.” Next, the bouncy folk-pop of “Perfect Pair” recalls Feist or Ingrid Michaelson and features humorous lyrics that reference Mickey Mouse, Johnny Cash and Romeo And Juliet and do so without sounding forced or cheesy. Another standout track is the sweet single “Thinking Of Another,” which is a duet with fellow singer-songwriter, Adam Dobkin, whose voice sounds like Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and complements Sophie well. An official video has been produced for the song as well.
[pullquote align=”normal”]Nashville-based singer-songwriter Sophie Koorhan has established herself as a young artist on the rise[/pullquote]
The moody yet jaunty piano riff of “Done Wrong” sets the scene for Sophie’s best Amy Winehouse impression that she delivers with a swagger all her own. “Can’t Go Through” also stands out with a rollicking piano riff and rhythm that contrasts nicely with Sophie’s gorgeous vocals that are lilting yet equally soaring. The upbeat “Girl No” features a fun, R&B-inspired chorus that is impossible not to sing along with despite disheartening lyrics that tell the tale of a dishonest friend. As a slight change of pace, “Supposed To Be” is a pretty ballad with swirling violins and a simple arrangement that really allows Sophie’s voice to take the spotlight and run with it. Closing out the twelve-song album is “Incredible” with its rumbling piano, shimmering guitars – including a melodic guitar solo – and a driving rhythm that ends the album listening experience on a high note.
With her very promising debut, For A Fella, Nashville-based singer-songwriter Sophie Koorhan has established herself as a young artist on the rise and a new voice to be reckoned with in an over-crowded music scene.
Reviewed by Justin Kreitzer
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars