'Zoom opened up a new world of opportunities': Marie Naffah and Sofia Lafuente speak ahead of King's Cross gig
- Credit: Parri Thomas
Marie Naffah and Sofia Lafuente had not met even virtually before our Zoom call but had already been exchanging creative ideas ahead of their London performances.
It is the latest pandemic-related quirk in the careers of the pair who are part of a lost and found generation of musicians who saw their young careers hit by Covid.
With a single apiece out this week, the pair are philosophical rather than bitter about the impact of lockdown. But both are eager to play to crowds - with a date at St Pancras Church this Friday high on their agendas.
North London-based Marie, whose next single Angie is released tomorrow (April 20), has had an especially eventful few years. Having been named MTV’s Unsigned Artist of the Year before even releasing her first song, she has gone on to play sold out shows around London.
In years gone by, carving out a successful career as a singer was built upon gigging, interviewing, promoting and repeating. A worldwide lockdown would surely have been curtains for a singer in the 1990s but Marie and Sofia are part of a new resourceful cohort who were able to turn the crisis into an opportunity.
“I think I had a delayed response to my music during the pandemic,” says Marie. “I was lucky on a personal level that I didn’t know anyone who was seriously ill but I was also able to release music digitally and I found a lot of comfort in being able to connect with people online and on social media.”
Marie describes how technology allowed her to play shows to fans Mexico and Brazil - which might never have happened if not for Covid.
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Having listened to a lot of The Beatles, Lou Reed, Aaron Neville, The Kinks, and Procol Harum, Marie brought inspiration from classic songwriters to Angie and the blues-pop leaning single Run Away With Me.
“We have mutual people who recommended each others’ music,” Marie says on being on the bill with Sofia. “So in looking at artists I discovered Sofia and her great music videos where she really tells the story around the song she is making… And I thought we should do something together.”
American/Spanish singer Sofia, who is supporting Marie on Friday, gives the interview from LA where she based herself to work on new single Religion, which is released on Thursday (April 21).
“I’m working with people I never would have met had Covid never happened,” she says. “People started becoming more open to collaborations on Zoom and it was really something not done before. I’d never have expected to have worked with someone for a period of time purely because they’d seen me on an Instagram show!”
Singing in both Spanish and English, Sofia has also built a strong following online - with latest alt-pop offering Are You Listening already amassing more than 20,000 views on YouTube.
The world wide web has been an asset for the pair, but nothing compares to playing a gig with a live audience in front of you.
“I am an artist who cares deeply for playing live, it is the reason I am an artist,” Marie says, “And that lack of connection is something I have missed.”
“It’s been awesome,” she added on being back. “I love the realness of it.
“Last year I got so desperate I played 50 gigs in 50 days all over the UK, some of them were just in peoples’ houses. That feeling of shared connection is something you can’t replace online.”
Sofia adds, “I’ve been to a lot of shows at St Pancras. There is something really special about playing in churches - the acoustics are always amazing and you really do notice the sound. I’ll be playing acoustic and I love how the sound travels in a way you don’t get at other venues.”
Marie Naffah will perform at St Pancras Old Church on April 22 with support from Sofia Lafuente.
Tickets are on sale now. Click here, or visit: https://www.seetickets.com/event/marie-naffah/st-pancras-old-church/2302983