Under Sophiya’s Spell
Among the best voices in Korean R&B we can find a hidden gem who goes by various names. Anyone remember Pae Sujung, or Sophia Pae? Well, she goes by the mononym Sophiya now, and the past few months have led her to release some of her best work to date, while also featuring in a recent SM Station track and leaving her trace here and there in some songs’ writing credits.
Signed under Feeline Music, Sophiya has released three singles in 2017, each one of them getting more and more recognition, and recently came back with her newest single “Fyre” released on February 23. These recent releases all gravitate towards the same style, slightly reminiscent of early 2000s R&B with a certain modern touch to them. In each song, Sophiya stands out with her smooth, effortless delivery, in her honey-like voice and impressive range—not to mention the fact that she takes part in writing and composing all of her work.
Sophiya, the Artist
Though one might say three singles is not a lot, 2017 was still a good year for Sophiya: the three songs she has released are nothing short of impeccable, and each has something unique and thoroughly enjoyable to it that renders each one of them so addictive.
“Overlap,” released on May 31, 2017, is a simple but efficient track. Though the melody is nothing necessarily outstanding or especially refreshing, it remains catchy, and Sophiya’s vocals in the track definitely make up for the lack of novelty of the melody. The production is also praiseworthy, and the various samples and beats used throughout the track give it a bit more depth and makes it enjoyable.
However, “Overlap” doesn’t compare to “Therapy,” released on July 12. Keeping the instrumentals to a minimum with a quiet beat and a subdued bass, “Therapy” really lets Sophiya show off the best of her voice: high falsettos at verse, before delving into lower verses sustained by an impeccable flow, and the slow rhythm of the song lets her hold notes and demonstrate the most of her skills. The chill vibe of “Therapy” is thoroughly entrancing, and it’ll be a song you might find yourself playing on repeat.
“For The Record,” released on December 10, is another great release. Sophiya is the sole composer behind the song and wrote the entirety of the English version of the lyrics—obviously, “For the Record” seems to be a very personal track. It definitely is an emotional song, with lyrics speaking of an unforgettable ex-lover. Despite its use of complex beats, the melody stays fairly quiet, and the beat remains slow; there’s an ethereal quality to the result it creates, not unlike what “Therapy” had to offer—however, the emotional appeal of “For the Record” makes it even more touching.
Her most recent single “Fyre” stands out from the previous songs with its trap-style rhythm and more assertive vibe. It’s arguably one of her strongest releases for that reason: the confidence Sophiya exudes in the song is transparent through the lyrics and even within the music, and somehow makes it much more appealing.
Pae Sujung, Behind the Board And Beyond
As an accomplished singer-songwriter, Sophiya has also penned a handful of songs for other artists, many of which are renowned K-Pop idol groups. Appearing under her real name Pae Sujung, she notably composed the SM Station track “Cosmic” for BADA and Super Junior’s Ryeowook, SISTAR’s “Good Time,” and even took part in composing BoA’s most recent title track, “One Shot, Two Shot.”
It’s not Sophiya’s only tie with SM Entertainment: not only has she also participated in the writing and composing of songs for Girls’ Generation and Seohyun (in her first mini-album Don’t Say No), she also recently featured in the SM Station song “Notorious” by SM band TRAX and model-turned-DJ LIP2SHOT. Beyond Sophiya’s appearance, the song is definitely worth a listen: marrying EDM with TRAX’s rock sound, “Notorious” is a bold and powerful fusion track that will surprise many upon a single listen.