For as long as she can remember, Mexican-born singer and songwriter Sofia Reyes has been a performer. From acting and touring, to singing her way through Mexico with her friends, Reyes’s vibrant stage presence and catchy lyrics have always been show-stoppers, but it wasn’t until her single “1,2,3” with Jason Derulo and De La Ghetto dropped that the world really got to know the multi-talented artist.
Now, 300+ million Vimeo views later, Sofia is living in LA and touring around the world, meeting fans in cities she has always loved, but never performed in, like bold and bright Bogotá, Chile. We went backstage with the Billboard NEXT UP artist before her performance at W Bogotá to talk about her history performing, her love for Johnny Depp, and the one way she keeps from getting lonely while on tour.
How has growing up in Mexico and Mexican music culture shaped you?
Sofia Reyes: I was raised in Mexico so I grew up listening to a lot of different music, like Mexican music and Latin artists, in general. That has influenced my music for sure. And culture wise, I’m from Mexico so it’s normal for me to be very familiar and close with my friends and my family. We’re a very warm culture and I’m very close to my people, like visiting my grandparents every Sunday and eating tacos and having family dinners and breakfast. I grew up listening to all kinds of music with them too.
What are some of the main influences or artists you look up to?
SR: I would say, I love Natalia Lafourcade, Juiletta Venegas, obviously Camila – the group is amazing! I’ve always been more or less Pop. Where I’m from in Monterrey, there are many amazing rock bands, mostly indie bands, and Los Claxons are one of my favorites for sure.
So how did you first get started?
SR: I started playing piano before singing when I was around 6. My grandma taught me. Then when I was around 8 or 9, I started going to singing classes because I was really passionate about everything that had to do with art. I would go to school for acting, modeling, singing, and I became comfortable with performing from a very young age. Then when I was 12, I went to a rock music school and learned to play guitar and would perform in a couple of different places, malls and stuff like that. Then I started writing songs with my dad when I was around 12 or 13. I used to sing with my best friend – we were a group and we went to castings and performed in malls. That was really great – especially working with my dad and my best friend. Finally, when I was 16, I moved to Guadalajara and I was part of this girl group for 2 years. Then I moved to LA as a solo artist. So I’ve been doing different projects since I was 9 and now I’m 23.
Your single, “1,2,3” featuring Jason Derulo and De La Ghetto has over 330 MILLION views on Youtube… what goes through your head when you think about how successful it’s been?
SR: It’s been really amazing and crazy for me. I feel like I’m not processing what’s going on, but it has been an amazing year. I have definitely never lived what I’m living – working with Jason and De La Ghetto – being part of my project. It’s been great. I have the chance to go to different countries for the first time. Realizing that “1, 2, 3” is a gold album in places where they don’t speak Spanish or English has been great. I feel really blessed that I get the opportunity to work with these two amazing artists – it is a dream.
What were you most excited about coming to Bogotá? What surprised you?
SR: I love Bogotá. I love the city. I have many friends from Bogotá. It feels a lot like Mexico City, so I feel home whenever I go. It’s really beautiful. The people are really nice. Many many of my fans are from Colombia as well.
Is this your first time performing here?
SR: Yeah, I guess it is. The place is beautiful. The venue is` really fun.
What has inspired you here?
SR: First of all the people, it feels like home. The colors, the culture, the food, the music. The whole thing is really beautiful. I could live here, in Bogotá, for sure.
What is your creative process like when making new music?
SR: Sometimes I write by myself, on the plane or in my apartment when I have extra time. But most of the time I go to the studio with a couple of friends, with a producer or a songwriter. I love working with a team, I feel like that’s really important because they come up with ideas that I would have never thought of. I don’t like coming into a room feeling like “I want to talk about this.” I like starting from scratch – make a sound, make music, whatever. If the music makes me happy, then I’ll know what I want to talk about. I feel like I need to feel the music in order to know what I want to say. My favorite part is when we have a melody and a basic structure, before putting lyrics on it.
If you could have drinks with any person, alive, dead, real or fictional – who would it be and why?
SR: I would say, Johnny Depp. He would be kind of awkward maybe, but I would be awkward, too, because I love him.
Like young Johnny Depp or…?
SR: Like, now Johnny Depp. Who else…? There are so many people I would like to meet. I don’t know why… El Papa Francisco because he would be really cute and interesting. And, I mean, I’ve met him, but I feel like he’s really funny – Ed Sheeran. Katy Perry, too, I think would be hilarious.
Talk to us about tour life – any travel hacks that keep you going when you are on the road?
SR: I’m not really a party person anymore, but I like being in my room watching Netflix or reading… I feel like having “me” time is really important. So I try to do that for sure. I always travel with my team, I feel like it’s really important to have people that you love and you have confianza with, like trust, who make you feel comfortable. I try to see my friends when I can, or they come to visit me when they can. Or my boyfriend. It’s important to be around the people you love. I feel like this is a lonely career, if you don’t take care of that you can end up being really lonely.
What’s next for you?
SR: I’m releasing a single really soon. I’m very excited about it. It’s a really empowering song and I think people are going to like it a lot – I hope. I have a couple of shows in Spain, Mexico City, and…I’m going back home to Monterrey for my birthday next week!