From Arrowtown streets to the big city lights, Sofia Machray has long farewelled the Whakatipu life.
But even in the wake of releasing a lead single and music video for Petals in the Rain recently, and in anticipation of her debut album coming out in July, the now-Wellingtonian is staying true to her roots.
Growing up in the village without many other musos to collaborate with and learn from, Machray quickly learned to be independent with her craft.
She drew inspiration from being in the mountains, playing music in the garden and taking walks down the Arrow River, but it was “definitely a solo venture”, she says.
Machray moved to the capital as a bright-eyed 18-year-old fresh out of high school to study commercial music at Massey University.
The move opened her eyes and plenty of doors – in 2020 she released her debut single Handstands which charted at number on on several independent radio stations, and sh also co-founded Peach Promotions the same year.
She’s since released another three singles, including Petals in the Rain, and supported popular Kiwi artists on tour including Wax Mustang, Anna Mac and Dolphin Friendly.
Machray admits she’s “torn” between the love for her hometown and her adopted home.
“When I came to the city I found it pretty overwhelming, but I also lived it so much because there was always something happening … I was able to build a little team.
“Whereas when I go back down it’s very much independent, solo, but I also feel that taught me a lot and carries through with me today.”
Recording and producing also tests her patience, she laughs – this latest release is around a year in the making.
“I actually originally wrote the song and it was completely different, it was pretty reflective of what i was going through at the time … facing a lot of challenges,” she says.
“I came back to it a few months later once I’d overcome all those things … I wanted to change it to reflect all my learnings through those moments.”
The music video, also available now, wasn’t even part of the original plan, but came about when Machray was approached by Kiwi short film director Taylor Nixon.
The pair co-directed together over a month-long shoot and the video premiered with Atwood Magazine – an international publication based out of New York, which the artist says is super-exciting and a big thing for her.
The single’s leading the charge on Machray’s six-track EP Language of Flowers, due July 21, which she says dips and dives.
“It starts off pretty mellow and more stripped back with just myself and my cellist playing, then it kind of progresses throughout.
“[It] gets a little bit more rocky, then towards the end it gets a bit cinematic … it takes you through these motions but it’s all within the indie-rock theme.”
Before her Language of Flowers era beings, Machray hints there’s another single to be expected.
She also hopes to eventually hit the summer festival scene, and though the plans for promoting the EP are super top secret, it might be worth keeping an eye out for a potential hometown trip.
‘Petals in the Rain’ is available to stream and download via preferred platforms