Expressing herself: Arrowtown singer-songwriter Sofia Machray


An up-and-coming indie-pop muso from Arrowtown drops another single tomorrow.

Sofia Machray, 21, a former Wakatipu High student who’s now based in Wellington, is releasing Milky Ways on streaming platforms including Spotify and YouTube.

A video follows a few days later.

Machray, who topped alternative charts last year with her debut single, Handstands, wrote the single a few years ago, soon after moving to Wellington to do a Bachelor of Commercial Music through Massey University, which she’s now completed.

She admits it was inspired by being ‘‘a bit pissed off’’ with certain people.

‘‘It was just kind of a byproduct of being around people that were annoying me.

‘‘I just kind of dealt with that by writing about it, and it’s the first time I’ve been a bit blatantly honest in a song, but people like it.’’

The name Milky Ways refers to lyrics in the song about ‘‘feeling like you’re stuck in a big space’’, Machray says.

A release states: ‘‘The song toys [with] the idea of toxicity within society and people.
‘‘ … Milky Ways reminds us to embrace our inner feelings and not to be afraid to express them.’’

It also calls it ‘‘a dreamy track’’ that ‘‘crescendos into a powerful tornado of a song serving up bittersweet feelings on a plate with a hint of indie-pop’’.

Machray recorded the song with her support band, guitarist Robbie Pattinson, who’s also her producer, bass guitarist Alfie Parvin, who’s from Queenstown, and drummer Anna Wild, from Rotorua.

She also plays guitar herself.

The video, she explains, cuts back and forth between shots of the band performing and a girl surfing.

Another local, Winston Brinsley, helped with the filming.

Machray fits her music around two jobs — booking shows for her promotions company, Peach Promotions, and organising events for a conference centre.

Over the past summer holidays she worked for Queenstown’s The World Bar and Yonder, helping with events.

Machray — who’s hoping to release an EP early next year — says she heads home to Arrowtown ‘‘quite a bit to reset and be in the mountains ‘cos it’s kind of different from the city’’.

She credits Wakatipu High for influencing her musical career — through the school she entered Smokefreerockquest competitions, taking out three different awards over three years.

However, she says she was the only muso from her year group to kick on.

‘‘It was often just me and my guitar playing at Winter Festival and busking in the streets of Arrowtown.

‘‘There was never really anyone to bounce ideas back and forth with, whereas [in Wellington] it’s just been a completely different experience.’’

This winter she’ll be collaborating with a Wellington band, Doons, on a national tour, which will include a Queenstown gig in either late July or early August.