Sophie Morgan is a singer-songwriter from the North West of England, based in Cheshire but born in Liverpool– you can still hear a wave-like resonance in the undulations of her singing voice. Her vocals, which carry forward reflective, emotive soundscapes – are infused with stories, setting her out from other musicians and markedly distinct for her age, at only 19.
And forget guitar-dominated solo tracks, piano and strings stir the power here.
The new single ‘Quietly’, begins with birdsong and strung-out notes. Then comes the questioning – “Where did I go? Lost somewhere,” over gentle notes and keys, notes building before a cello cuts in and her voice blossoms in cadence. This is a track telling of lived experience – think a spring or summer and the possibility of love.
“Love me” is repeated as a trill, with hardly any backing, and rhymed in simple succinct power with “Very loudly” in the chorus – two phrases which are often positioned apart but have a striking similarity that Morgan has cleverly tapped into. She amplifies the intensity of love, with a song that is actually strikingly subtle.
Self-described as a ‘wonderer and wanderer’, her music has emotional intelligence which seems to focus on the course and flow of feeling – a concept a lot of contemporary music loses in an effort to be ‘catchy’. It is also often the case that much music described as ‘acoustic’ is often thrown under the umbrella of ‘easy listening’ – but in fact, Morgan’s music is intense and emotive whilst also being gentle. It makes you think – and that works in its favour.
The second verse then moves from the singular, to contemplation upon a relationship – “Where will we go?” – a transition to distance and development of the connections. The direct rhyme of ‘car’ and ‘far’ could appear overtly simplistic, like ‘magic’ and ‘tragic’ – but on the other hand, it could appear effectually used to convey emotion at its most instinctive, revealing affection stripped back to its bare bones.
The repeated chorus comes in to confirm, now with a thrill of piano keys and cello topped with a rousing drum, ending on the sombre reflection of “quietly”, the title cleverly coming late rather than dominating the track.
Well-paced and assembled, the closing extended notes allow Morgan to build imagery at the end with “And let the wind carry silver wings” – flowing almost chant-like, but certainly not overdone. It’s all wrapped together with the developed song, spiralling keys and accompanied by a chorus of voices – the ultimate emotional culmination in a richly rewarding way. The birdsong comes back to suggest the cycle of feeling is complete.
Morgan describes the track in her own words as “about those who desire to jump into something spectacular and intense without being broken by the fall. It’s about almost living in fear of your own fragility”. And here it’s skilfully done, that’s for sure.
The new single ‘Quietly’ is out now. Purchase on iTunes here.