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With an impressive debut album Perfect Disaster just released and a tour about to begin (see dates below), Auckland singer-songwriter Sophie Mashlan is well out of the starting gates on a very promising career.

Her album was recorded with Ben Edwards In Lyttelton (Marlon, Aldous, Nadia, Delaney, Tami etc) and you can guess he could be very choosy.

The evidence of the album – which is a little folk-rock, a touch country-rock and sometimes big ballads or quiet acoustic folk – is that Edwards knew he had a real writing and singing talent.

Time then for Sophie Mashlan to answer a few questions . . .

The first piece of music which really affected you was . . .

‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’ by Tchaikovsky. I started ballet school when I was three and I would always go home and put on the one classical music CD my parents had. I think I thought I was a fairy or something, I felt magical every time it came on.

Your first role models in music were . . .

Until I was 8 or 9 I didn’t think people who made music were real people so I never looked up to artists, I just appreciated their music. But as a kid I loved when my dad put Eric Clapton or INXS on.

Lennon or Jagger, Ramones or Nirvana, Madonna or Gaga, Jacko or Jay-Z?

Jagger, Ramones, Gaga, Jaco (I assume you mean Jaco Pastorius?)

If music was denied you, your other career choice would be . . .

Photographer, comedian, or lawyer

The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear are . . .

‘Samson’ by Regina Spektor ‘Mariners Apartment Complex’ by Lana Del Rey, and ‘Clementine’ by Sarah Jaffe.

Any interesting, valuable or just plain strange musical memorabilia at home...

My dad collects vintage stereo equipment. He doesn’t have any musical ability or play any instruments, but he really likes listening to it, so we have some pretty cool stuff in the living room.

The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .

It’s embarrassing, but I haven’t finished any books on musicians in a really long time. I start reading them but I struggle to get invested in them. I like reading, and I read a lot, but I mainly read philosophy, business or psychology. If I want to find out about someone I’ll read some articles or get to know them through their music.

If you could get on stage with anyone it would be?

Can they be dead? I would have loved to do a set with Tom Petty.

The three films you'd insist anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .

I don’t watch many films, but I do watch a lot of comedy, so if someone wants to understand my humour I’d get them to watch stand-up shows by Iliza Shlesinger or Wyatt Cenac, or just a ton of Saturday Night Live.

The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include…).

Gregory Alan Isakov’s ‘Evening Machines’ on vinyl. I flew to Melbourne to see him play last month and it was hands down one of the best live shows I’ve been to.

One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you in that case would be . .

This is a strange question because I don’t think there’s much out there that I would actually find embarrassing. I certainly don’t find any of my own music embarrassing at all, and let’s be real, like, if I’m never having to work again it can be the song for Viagra ads, for all I care.

a400a880_bb35_45a9_b969_9daec0891bb4The poster, album cover or piece of art could you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .

I’m a big art history geek, so if I could wake up every morning next to a Botticelli or Titian, I would never leave the house.

You are allowed just one tattoo, and it is of . . .

Nothing! I don’t really think I’d suit tattoos.

David Bowie sang, “Five years, that's all we've got . . .” You would spend them where and doing what?

I would travel the world for five years, then donate all of the money from my Viagra song royalties to charity.

And finally, in the nature of press conferences in Japan, “Can you tell me please why this is your best album ever?”

Well, it’s my only album so it’s my best album of course. It’s also my worst album by that technicality. But I’m very proud of it!


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