Rancho Santa Fe singer Sophia Alone creates debut album, ‘Heart and a Half’
Sophia Bouhaddou grew up in an atypical household in Utah.
Bouhaddou, who goes by her stage name Sophia Alone, said that with a French mother and a Moroccan father, she felt a lot like America was outside the walls of her house.
“I always remember wanting my mom to pack my lunch in a brown paper bag with some inspiring message written on it, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich like the other kids,” Alone said. “But instead we would get a plastic bag with dates, and a butter and honey tartine — different, but delicious.”
Alone grew up in Utah before moving to San Diego as a teenager. She spent time living in Los Angeles, but now the singer lives in Rancho Santa Fe.
Alone’s debut album, “Heart and a Half,” combines all her history and blends it with her relationships and passions.
But as a child, Alone did not know she wanted to sing and write music when she got older. Though her family was not musically inclined, she was first introduced to music at age 6 with the piano. From there, she touched on just about every instrument available to her, including the flute and cello.
That was before she finally told herself she wanted to sing.
“I’ve always known I wanted to sing,” Alone said. “When I was younger, I planned to act and then segued into music, much like Hilary Duff. But the more I studied, the more music took over, and it’s become all I can do; there is nothing else for me.”
Alone did not have a specific “light bulb” moment as to when she realized she wanted to start singing, she said. The process was gradual.
“I remember watching Christina Aguilera sing on TV and thinking, with tears in my eyes, ‘I want to do that,’” Alone said. “Then I would go into my room and dance around, singing and flipping my hair pretending I was performing for thousands.”
Now, she writes and records her own music: a soul-R&B blend of music and lyrics.
Alone remembered the first time she realized she wanted to write music instead of just sing it back in 2007.
“I was doing a lot of competitions and finally decided to try out for ‘American Idol,’” Alone said. “I only made it through a couple of rounds and finally grew tired of trying to be what they wanted me to be in order to win. As I walked out after being cut, I said, ‘It’s time to start writing my own music. I want to create my own sound.’ I wrote my first song that year and have continued writing since then.”
Love continues to be a prevailing topic in her music, though she said she also touches on friendships and social issues, and has even written a song about a teddy bear in her room.
Her debut album took those topics and brought them into a lyrical order that correlates to events in her own life, specifically her last relationship. She wrote the last song for her album two days before she was due in the studio. When she rearranged those songs, she “realized it was a perfect, step-by-step story of my relationship from the happy beginnings, into the breakup and back out again, birthing my album ‘Heart and a Half.’”
The album took a year to make after raising money for six months and creating the album in six months.
For Alone, the musical journey was as important as the destination.
“The biggest reason I went into the music is that I wanted to inspire people,” she said. “I want to be the one to help you laugh, help you cry, dance, fall in love, and most importantly follow your dreams. I want people to know that you can follow your dreams no matter how much the world tells you, you can’t.”
Alone’s debut album, “Heart and a Half,” is available on iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby. Her next show is Jan. 12 at Le Papagayo in Encinitas. You can find out more about her, including the latest concert dates, by visiting www.sophiaalone.com.
Get the RSF Review weekly in your inbox
Latest news from Rancho Santa Fe every Thursday for free
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Rancho Santa Fe Review.