Sohiala is an Afghan-African-American singer-songwriter based in Los Angeles, California. Not too long ago, she released her “Idgaf” single, a tune about letting go of doubts, fears, and following your heart.
We sat down with Sohiala and this is what she had to say:
Where are you from?
Sohiala: I’m from a small town in Southern California named Moreno Valley. Uptown Murda Val to be exact. Ha-ha. Everyone pretty much knows everyone and you’re surrounded by mountains and donkeys. It’s like a city though too, just a mini version without the big buildings if that makes sense.
When did you realize that you wanted to become a singer?
S: I’ve been singing since I was a baby. I have old home videos of me in diapers just singing all day, or singing in the church choir. It’s funny though. In elementary school, I started rapping. My teachers would put on an assembly, every year, before state testing. Just so I could rap and get kids excited to take the CAT6.
I started freestyling and fell in love with rap. But when I got into middle school, singing became my main-focus again. I started playing the guitar and took theatre classes. Even now and then, I’ll incorporate a nice rap flow in some of my songs.
How would you describe your sound?
S: I have two moods when it comes to writing. Acoustic soul and trap wave. Acoustic soul came about by me just sitting in my room with my guitar—releasing all my inner emotions and thoughts. It’s used as an escape or a way for me to know what I truly feel if I’m confused about anything. I’ll just freestyle sing with my guitar and record it in my voice memos. Then, I would listen to what I sang and find out so much information about myself I didn’t know about. It’s crazy.
Trap wave is more of a light-hearted and fun style I create when I just feel on top of the world. When I wanna let it out or just vibe and feel creative.
Tell us about “Idgaf”. What’s the storyline behind it?
S: Man, where do I begin? My soul spoke for me in that song. I’ve always been a free-spirited person. But, for a while, I felt so scared with who I could become. I would judge and compare myself so harshly and value other people’s opinions of myself more than my own.
I thought that maybe I just had to cut certain people out of my life. But even then, I started seeing the same patterns of emotions reappearing in my life. Like, why are the same types of people and feelings back in my life? It was me. I had to let go of all my doubts and fears, and just live life how I want.
So, that song is basically me saying I don’t give a f*ck about what anyone wants me to be beside myself. I remember the day I wrote it. I kept playing the same three notes on the A & E string on my guitar. And I kept thinking about the worst things. Like, my ex-boyfriend holding me back (unintentionally, I’m sure but still). Working at a job I didn’t wanna be at anymore. Not making rent. No longer knowing the person, I once called my best friend. And feeling so alone and lost, etc.
The feeling got so overwhelming. And I just started crying and repeatedly kept saying “IDGAF”. I probably said it like 200 times. Ha-ha. It just felt so good. The lyrics came to me so fast and easy. And when I listened to the voice note I took, I just started busting up ‘cause the song felt great to me. Like a real therapy session.
What’s your most memorable recording moment?
S: Ouuu. It was pretty recent actually. Like 2 months ago. I was in my room recording alone. And I kept trying to come up with lyrics to finish a song. I would record, then overthink it and re-record something else. It started getting frustrating because I couldn’t stop thinking of getting the best lyrics.
I took a breath and just completely stopped thinking about anything. Then I listened to the beat and literally put myself into that world of the song. Like I was living in that universe. The lyrics that came to me were liberating and fun. I literally felt high. It was a crazy experience.
What’s the greatest obstacle you had to overcome?
S: Just overcoming doubt and fear I guess. And knowing I was the only person that needed to help myself out. I used to think I needed so much help. A producer, a nice studio, a manager, a label, etc. But when I realized I had all the tools inside myself to get to where I needed to be, I overcame all doubts and fear I had prior. I started producing my own beats, bought my own mic and equipment (and used some of my dad’s lol), and created my own studio.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
S: “When the mind and the physical body work together, there’s absolutely nothing you can’t accomplish”. And, “The universe is on your side and wants the best for you. It wants you to succeed and will change to fit the life you want to be in.”
Tell us something about you that your world doesn’t know.
S: Well, recently I found out I’m an empath. It’s a lot to get into so you could read up on it if you’re interested. But finding that out has changed my quality of life. It made me become more aware of the emotions I allow in my life.
Years from now, when people mention your name—what will they say?
S: I’m not focused on what people will say. As long as I’m putting forth the right actions I’m called to do, people will be inspired to do what they’re called to do just as I’ve been by other leaders.