Rising up the ranks of a closed-knit industry takes unbridled passion, a massive amount of tenacity, and a fair bit of luck. The fortunate ones ascended to a successful status in the music industry and this is the opening chapter in just such a story.
Meet Sophie Francis. A Dutch teenage girl, with half of her childhood spent living in South Africa, who happens to be the next big thing in dance music.
Being passionate about music since a very young age, Sophie Francis started playing piano and singing along to every song. Soon she became fascinated about how music could touch and influence people.
Plucked from obscurity at the tender age of 14, Sophie began charting her path from a school challenge, of all things. Asked to master a skill over nine months, Sophie decided that she’d put her musical acumen to task. She went to class to learn to DJ and, as she learned the technical side, she quickly realized there was something much more at her fingertips. She began to obsess about music and mixing, production and the art of it all. She felt the real pull of music and what it can do for people and suddenly this school project became the catalyst of a career. She booked her first residency around this time at a local bar called ‘Het Pumpke’ where she perfected her skills and, as she played for more and more people, the artist inside began to emerge. She realized that she could connect with people in a powerful way through music.
She was hooked.
The industry was also catching on that this girl was something special. Always Management signed her in 2015 and almost immediately, had her performing at weekend festivals across the globe. The first of those, BCM Mallorca, showcased Sophie on the mainstage for 2 full hours and set a crystal-clear precedent that Sophie was a star.
As 2015 came to a close, Sophie was invited to South Africa for a tour where she performed on the mainstage of The Ruins Festival in St. Francis Bay, followed by a club show at The Coco Club in Cape Town, and rounding it all off with a fantastic appearance on Expresso a national TV show with 1.5 million viewers.
Next stop, 2016 where Sophie discovered a label that was accepting new producers. She sent Freeway Recordings 3 un-mastered demos and the result was unprecedented. They wanted them all. The label worked with Sophie on co-production and turned the 3 demos into fully realized hits. The singles; ‘Drop Of A Dime’, ‘Up In This’ and ‘Bad Boy’ were released on Freeway Recordings at the beginning of 2016, and each reached Top 20 status on the Beatport Progressive-House chart. DJs supporting the records included; Tiësto, Quintino, Ummet Ozcan, Thomas Gold, Tritonal, Juicy M… and many others. The tracks were also added to rotation on NRJ and Tiësto’s Club Life worldwide radio show.
Sophie’s 4th single ‘Annihilate’ was gifted to her growing fan-base as a thank you for their overwhelming support. Fans again surprised everyone by pushing the song to a viral status by logging a mind-boggling 2 million plays on Soundcloud.
The summer of 2016 was very successful, performing mainstage for festivals of 35.000 people in Valencia, playing at top-ranked best clubs in the world by DJ Mag and gaining fan base after every single show. Watch a resume here. These season gave Sophie a special highlight when she was confirmed to play as the ‘New Discovery’ special guest which included performing at 15 shows at BCM Mallorca; the most important nights at this premium club and brought to prominence by alums such as; Steve Aoki, Oliver Heldens, and Nervo among others. Sophie was joined on stage by Martin Garrix where the pair performed an impromptu B2B set. Watch it here.
The milestones continued in 2016 when Sophie released her first vocal track ‘Walls’, on Powerhouse Music. ‘Walls’ entered the playlists of national Dutch radio stations (538, SlamFM, 3FM) and received a staggering 94% vote of ‘likes’ from listeners on 538 and broke into the Top 30 on the Dutch Airplay chart. ‘Walls’ was followed by the release of ‘Don’t Stop’, a club track on the Dirty Dutch imprint. The song entered the top15 on Beatport’s Chart, was premiered by David Guetta and supported by many international DJS.
As 2016 progressed, Sophie was feeling the pressure. She was now an in-demand artist getting offers for bookings in the UK, Belgium, France, Germany, US, India, China, Vietnam, Japan and UAE, but balancing the fact that she is still a student attending a gifted high school with very critical exams looming. Sophie is nothing if not hyper-focused on her goals and she works daily to achieve a harmony between her career and her studies. She has often said in the press that, although it’s difficult, she “loves her chaotic new life.”
With the new year of 2017 rolling in, a new label came calling and, in late January, Sophie signed a deal with Spinnin’ Records. Her first single, ‘Without You’ is set for release Feb 17 with a follow up single is slated for April. Spinnin’ has made it clear that Sophie is a priority for them and news of the signing reverberated through the industry, almost before the ink was dry.
It was around this time that Sophie was named to the prestigious “Top 25 Most Influential Artists Under 25” by Spotify NL. She’s joined by fellow artists Martin Garrix and Oliver Heldens among others. Check it here.
Having a Zen-like mastery of work and school is paying off for Sophie. She’s a bona-fide rockstar on stage making crowds of people experience a kind of musical nirvana that is epic to watch. They get her because she gets them, and that’s a gift only a real DJ can give.
Sophie Francis graduates this May and we can’t wait to see what the next chapter reveals for this amazing young star.