Sophie Villy
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Sophie Villy

Tbilisi, T'bilisi, Georgia | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Tbilisi, T'bilisi, Georgia | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Alternative Trip-hop




"How one artist in Ukraine is bringing her music to the world"

Singer/songwriter Sophie Villy fled her home in Georgia (the country, not the state in the southern USA) when war broke out in 2008.

She made a new home for herself in Ukraine and established an independent music career that has taken her from Kiev to Budapest to London to NYC to LA and back again. Sadly now, “Russian tanks are haunting” her again.

With an album release scheduled smack dab in the middle of the recent turmoil in Ukraine, Sophie has had to alter her strategy for promoting her new music.

I interviewed Sophie recently and asked her about the music scene in Ukraine, how things have changed over the past six months, and what her Plan B is in terms of performing in Eastern Europe. - Chris Robley

"Six must-listen new tracks from around the world"

The singer-songwriter Sophie Villy is blessed with manifest expertise in a range of languages - English, Russian, Ukrainian, and Georgian. Not long ago, she returned to Kiev following a number of concerts in the US. Several of those events overlapped with the damage done by Hurricane Sandy. The first order of business since her homecoming has been the publication of this debut video, shot in Tbilisi.” David MacFadyen - Ryotaro Aoki

"Album Review – Dress"

Veredict: 10/10

I first learned about Sophie Villy following an article from Guardian Music called “Six must-listen new tracks from around the world” where her song ‘Connected’ (reviewed below) was chosen as one of the six songs. This led to an unexpected but very pleasant opportunity to welcome Sophie to our studios for a live session during her maiden visit to London back in February of this year.

Born in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia in the far eastern end of Europe, Sophie has been singing since she was three. Her music is “inspired” by her designer mother, Mila, and influenced by her musician father, David, who used to gather an intimate circle of friends for regular sessions in his “Music Lair” – a room smelling of “autumn, wine and cigars” – at their home.

She started writing songs at the age of 14 and at 16, while studying tourism at high school, Sophie began performing in local clubs with her good friend and talented guitarist Irakli Metreveli, doing covers and original work.

Her second album, ‘Dress,’ is an eclectic collection of twelve lyrical tales taken from real life experiences which consider and reflect a modern reality. Sophie sings about things that really matter to her, not just love, the weather and flowers, but real life topics which affect us all in a deep and very meaningful way. Her voice is pure, sincere and husky.

Recorded in an old Georgian film studio – and with vintage analogue equipment – ‘Dress’ has all the hallmarks of becoming an iconic album and it is certainly worthy of occupying a place in all music connoisseurs album collections.

I have picked four tracks which caught my ears, but in fairness, I have to say each and every track has its own charm, its own magnetism, and its own charisma.

ConnectedSophie Villy Connected

The opening track, starts with interesting, almost tribal percussion, which is soon joined by a very soulful piano and a mellow cello. Just as your ears start to embrace this cacophony of sound, Sophie’s sultry and husky vocals join in and add an element of uplifting melancholy. Her tone is gentle, melodic and she sings with an indescribably delicious accent which has strong Mediterranean, Arabic and Georgian tones. This already very likeable song is further lifted to new levels by the addition of a distant, solemn and rather magnificent trumpet. No wonder this song has received much global attention.

Drift Around

Sophie at the Bedford Photo by Lena Lesnikova.
Photo by Lena Lesnikova. The Bedford London
Greets you with a mellow jazz piano introduction. Sophie’s voice is gentle and almost spoken, although she is singing the slightest of melodies. The song is magnificently produced with rich bass, and blends from mellow jazz to very contemporary prog rock which is marked by the distinctive sound of drums and piano, characteristic from this genre.

Sophie Villy Studio snapshotMan in the Mist

Opens with a gentle but suspense-driven string arrangement. Sophie’s voice delicate and husky as always is accompanied by more strings, adorned with her signature vintage guitar and marked by a pulsating funky bass. Towards the end of the song the tempo slows right down and the bass becomes less funky and more soulful. This is a classy composition expertly produced to a very high standard.


This is a very iconic track, driven by Sophie’s deliciously retro vintage guitar which cries 100% blues and easily transports you to a set from a Tarrantino movie. Her voice is fresh, always delicate and husky, yet it could easily be Jagger’s or Dinah Washington’s. This is another classy tune expertly composed, and delivered in a totally original, engaging and unforgettable way.

Here is Sophie performing ‘Who’ at the Under The Radar Live Sessions studio in February this year - David Durant

"Liberty and Family: Sophie Villy, Siba.Pro, and Mew19"

The singer-songwriter Sophie Villy has proven herself to be one of FFM's artists most likely to operate internationally. Blessed with manifest expertise in a range of languages - English, Russian, Ukrainian, Georgian - she has just returned to Kiev following a number of concerts in the US. Several of those events overlapped with the damage done by Hurricane Sandy. The first order of business since her homecoming has been the publication of a single, "Position." Despite her recent travels, it refers not to her geographic location, but to a moral, even political stance.
In the name of clarity, Sophie sent us a note (in Russian). "I wrote this track a couple of years ago - while I was watching [political and military] events unfold in my native Georgia. There comes a moment in everybody's life when they feel a real need to establish a[n ethical] position vis a vis the surrounding world. This song is dedicated to all people seeking freedom and independence."
Written as events unfolded in Georgia...
"In writing this track I discovered it's possible to express forms of protest peacefully - without any aggression. The main thing is to let your audience know what concerns you. These realizations also led me towards a new [more dramatic] tone in my performance."
Given that these romantically civic notions are designed to operate across national borders, it's understandable that Sophie would look for a kindred spirit in another, distant tradition of songwriting. She finds that second, sympathetic voice in the words of John Lennon. "I think if you get down to basics, whatever the problem is [in world affairs], it's usually to do with love... [We should, however, remember that love] is not just something you stick on posters or stick on the back of your car, or on the back of your jacket or on a badge… Love is appreciation of other people and allowing them to be. Love is allowing somebody to be themselves and that's what we do need."

Sophie Villy: "Position" (2012)
It's telling to take that extremely optimistic, sweeping view of lyrical relevance and apply it to a few other releases this week from Russian performers. It's hard to imagine a more positive, purposeful voice than Villy's on this occasion: a direct line is drawn between self-expression and social resonance. She dedicates a private song to individuals in search of liberty, no matter their location. Does that same hope transfer to some northern neighbors? - David MacFadyen


Mother Fish (LP) - 2012
Dress (LP) - 2014

Position - 2012
Connected - 2013
Reveal - 2015



Sophie Villy is an internationally recognized singer-songwriter, known for a unique sound that draws upon elements of both Georgian and Ukrainian culture. Her burgeoning catalog is noted for its minimalist arrangements, often framed by resonant, vintage guitars. Older still are the echoes of twelfth-century poet Shota Rustaveli –a reminder of the artists and poets who visited Sophie’s home during childhood. That initial peace and comfort would, however, change radically…

Sophie’s adult lifeline stands in stark contrast to her understated aesthetic. In 2008 she was in hiding from military conflict across her homeland and was forced to leave Tbilisi. An immediate evacuation took her to Kiev. Here, combining Ukrainian, Georgian, and Anglo-American traditions, she released a debut album entitled “Mother Fish.” Lyrical narratives were offered to a wider public. Her second LP –“Dress” (2014) – took a very different tack. A greater sense of independence found expression in a safer city: “Dressed in myself I walk, I walk, I walk…”

Sophie has composed soundtracks for feature films from her homeland, America, and France –one of which was selected for the Cannes Festival Short Film Palme d’Or competition in 2015, and won “Best Original Music” at Euro Film Festival (Spain). She has been reported by KCRW in Los Angeles, BBC Radio 2, and London’s The Guardian newspaper as a primary representative of  new wave in music from around the world. In 2015 Villy presented her side-project “Philosophie” in Europe and the United States, while opening for Mercury Prize and Brit Awards nominee Anna Calvi in Budapest. Also in 2015, she played at the SXSW festival in Texas––as the only representative from either Ukraine or Georgia. She has toured America on three occasions, including a show at New York’s Brooklyn Bowl and with onstage support from Tom Waits’ guitarist Omar Torrez.

A third album from Sophie Villy was recently presaged by the song “Reveal” – just before New Year’s Day, 2016. As with interviews in the Ukrainian press, so the song struck a repeatedly political note. It was “dedicated to all the heroes – who have shown a genuine love for their country.” Since sociopolitical tensions have worsened of late, Villy’s catalog is increasingly seen in terms of a mediating role, between languages and conflicted cultures.

Band Members