Today we’re chatting with lovely chanteuse and internationally acclaimed violinist Sophie Serafino. With over 500 performances under her belt, she’s collaborated with the who’s who of the music world, including Oscar Lopez, Pavlo, Chantal Kreviazuk and Keshia Chante. Between a hectic performance schedule, Sophie has also released two brand new albums titled ‘Touch’ and ‘Temptress’.
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I am a performer; I use my violin, my voice and choreography to tell my story on stage.
What was the inspiration for this career route?
I have played the violin since the age of three and was strongly influenced by the music surrounding me growing up. My mother is a professional pianist, my uncle is a composer, my great grandfather was a professional violinist, and almost everyone in the family on both sides of my parents’ families played an instrument, whether it was their profession or not.
The direction I have taken with my music was not the expected one with my family background. I was curious and looking for something different in my teens and what I found in clubs and music venues took me in a new direction, as has my experience of every country I have been fortunate enough to visit as a part of my performing career.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
Playing the violin and collaborating with other artists is the best part! The most challenging part is working on so many facets of the business and still remaining focused on the art.
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
There have been times when I have been totally exhausted. After completing my 10th long haul from Australia to Europe in one year, in 2008, I decided I needed to look at life balance.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I hope to be happy, healthy, and enjoying life both on-stage and off-stage with my husband and hopefully children!
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Being so different to the average performer, even more so back in 2001 than now, media and many in the industry would always try to fit me into a box and tell me I couldn’t do this or that. I made mistakes trying to fit into those boxes, when at the same time I was growing a fan base and a career. It took me a while to realize that I could just be me, and that it didn’t matter if everyone liked what I did. That realization helped me to focus more, and to be clearer about what I was doing. Overcoming this stage was just a matter of becoming more confident and sure about who I am and what I have to offer.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Money can definitely make things easier, but it does not equate to happiness. There are many ways to make money, and the music industry is not the easiest way to do it. If it were that simple, I would have chosen another career. The music industry, without passion and love of music, is a challenging business to be in. Success to me is being able to follow my passion and share it with the world as a career.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Definitely my most recent two releases, Touch and Temptress. I first moved to Canada for love, and I had no expectation that I would have the opportunity to create these two albums. Meeting musicians like Dan Hill, Amy Sky, Rob Wells and Pavlo, and being able to write and work with them, was a an honourable opportunity for me. Having focused primarily on performing and not recording in the past, this is a major change for me, and I am excited about what is to come!
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Follow your heart. If you don’t, you cannot reach your full potential of what you have to give, what you were meant to give. If you love what you do, and you can be exceptional, then do it. Everyone has his or her own gift to give the world. If you have truth, love and integrity, and you work hard, everything will come.
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
I absolutely love Una Pizza. There are so many great spots in the city, but I have to admit Una is the one I pop into most frequently.
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
With my husband and our dog outdoors, doing yoga, and at dance class. I love painting, arranging flowers, or sometimes just watching movies and letting my brain go into a ‘nothing box’.
Where is your favourite place to travel? And why?
Australia. It’s where I grew up and a trip there means visiting family.
If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
“God Is Able,” Hillsong Church.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
If I weren’t a performer, I would do social work or something creative, like marketing.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I support Ovarian Cancer Canada, and have been an Ambassador for the organization for two years, from 2012- 2014. Supporting Ovarian Cancer research is so important to me as I watched a friend who was too young die from the disease. It is the most deadly women’s cancer and there is no reliable early detection test yet. Women need to be informed of the facts – the signs and symptoms – so awareness is key.
Secondly, I am the President of The Every Woman Foundation, which works to bring people together to celebrate women in their communities in the face of oppressive social differences (such as age, race, religious background, sexual orientation, appearance, preferences) to empower and educate. The Foundation holds educational events and programs and hosts annual celebrations for International Women’s Day. It is a cause very close to my heart, as we can see every day what exclusivity and lack of acceptance and love does in our world. We need to change that. We can only do that by humanizing that which is different, learning about each other, and accepting and respecting our differences. There is an empowerment and self-validation that occurs through self-expression, conversation, respect and acceptance. That is what we are working to provide.
What to you is notable?
Truth, love, integrity.
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