PHOTO by RICKY POWELL

If you’re tucked away at home building your quarantine playlist, take some time to check out Shoffy. He’s a talented rising artist who just released his latest album, Flash, which is packed full of incredible singles like “Tricky.” Quarantine doesn’t have to be as boring when you have good music. If you like his music, you’ll be happy to hear that he’s using his time in quarantine to work on even more. We know blaring it alone in your room isn’t as exciting as seeing Shoffy live, but you’ll get your chance when things are back to normal. In the meantime, you can this time to memorize all his lyrics and check out his frequent Instagram live check-ins. 

First off, introduce yourself and what you do!
I’m an artist. I write and produce music. It’s mostly pop stuff, but I like to mess with all sorts of genres! I just put out my third album, Flash, and there’s a bunch of collaborations on there with people like Sabrina Carpenter. A lot of the music I do myself, but I’ve been collaborating more lately with producers and writers. 

How’s your quarantine experience been going? Have you been working on music or picked up any new hobbies?
I’ve been okay! I’m used to staying hunkered down and working on things so not much has changed for me personally. It’s crazy what’s going on, and hopefully, things return back to normal sooner than later. The tour did get postponed, which is a bummer. I was looking forward to heading out. I was going to tour the US, and then I was going to head out to Europe for the first time. We had to push everything back to July and August for the moment. But things aren’t looking that great so we will see if that happens! 

Quarantine cabin fever has us all doing things we are hesitant to admit. For me, I have worn the same pajama pants a few days in a row. What’s one funny habit or impulse buy you’re maybe afraid to admit about quarantine?
It’s funny because I feel like I’ve gotten into the process of having indoor sweatpants and outdoor sweatpants. I have my fancy sweatpants. It’s been pretty casual around the house while making music on my laptop. As far as bad habits, I’ve maybe eaten more chips and ice cream than I have in the past. It’s been harder to stay active, but I’ve picked up bike riding. I’ve been riding around the neighborhood, and that’s nice to get outside. I guess I’ve been playing more video games than usual. I’ve mostly been just working on music, already hammering out the next album. 

How has it hindered your process?
It would be nice to get in for a few sessions and work with people, but that can’t really happen right now. That’s a bummer. But most of the stuff I work on by myself anyway so I’ve been able to finish songs here at home. I have been able to work remotely a bit, sending files back and forth with somebody. It’s worked for me in the past. I don’t really mind working remotely. I’ve just had to find ways to keep active and productive with everything going on. 

I saw that you’re doing Acoustic Fridays on your Instagram. Have you noticed a better connection with your fans since people have been relying more on social media through all of this?
It’s been cool because I haven’t done that stuff before. It’s been neat to see people want to learn some of my songs, and I can engage with fans that way. I did a jam session last Friday, and that was cool, connecting with people over Instagram live. I’ve definitely been doing a lot of social media initiatives I haven’t done in the past so it’s cool to see how that works and to see the people that are interested in connecting that way. Every Friday I’ve been trying to do something to connect. We are all in this together in a way. The whole world is shut down so in a way it’s like a bonding experience because we are all going through it. Social media is really allowing us to come together right now. I even did a live cooking thing and made fettuccine from scratch. 

Going back in time a bit, I read you quit your job as a financial analyst to dive full-time into music. Was it a quick decision you made one day or did you wrestle with it for a while?
The timing of it all worked out. When I was at the job, I felt like I had plateaued and wasn’t learning anything. I felt ready to make that jump and switch to something different. Obviously, I hoped it would be music. I was putting in time after work to hopefully pursue music full-time. I released “Different Skies” about a month after quitting work, and it picked up on Spotify and got playlisted a bunch. I created that song all independently so I didn’t have to split the song with anyone. I was able to start doing music full-time because of that one. The timing really worked out. Before that, I had released songs like “Takes My Body Higher,” and it had done well. There were signs that I could pivot towards music. I’ve been doing music ever since I quit, and it’s been about three or four years. I’ve been writing and producing since I was 14. I started singing when I was three or four. I’ve been doing it my whole life, but I just really started getting traction these past few years. 

Were there any parts about the old job that you liked or did you get into it because you felt like you needed a more typical white-collar job?
I always wanted music to happen, but I couldn’t eat from just doing music. I needed something to do. I felt like I could do music without studying so I studied business. I was in the private equity world. It’s really interesting because you’re learning about different businesses, and you get to meet with private management teams. All that was really interesting. There were aspects of the job that weren’t as exciting and more menial tasks, but there were also exciting aspects. I just felt like I had reached a plateau and wanted to do something different. I just decided to go all-in with music and not look back. I didn’t have a plan B. Luckily, it gained some traction. 

Did you experience any backlash from your decision? If so, how did you deal with that?
Even at the job, they would play my music. I had a concert one time at a rooftop bar, and I think a third of the audience there were people from my office. I tried not to talk too much about it, but they ended up finding out about it. Everyone was pretty supportive because they knew that was my real passion. They wanted to see it take off for me. 

From your experience, what’s some advice you have for people who have a passion but also worry about having a job to support their basic financial needs?
I think the main thing was finding a team that supported the music. Step one is obviously getting the music together, but then find a manager that really supports you and loves the music, will fight for you, and is just as excited about the music as you are. You can balance two things at once if you’re really passionate about things. I was working a full-time job while also juggling music. I used the nights and weekends to really focus on the music. Saturday and Sunday were my days for hammering out music. I found ways to keep my passion alive. Just stay persistent. You’ll hear “no” a bunch of times, but just keep at it. Find a good team to push you along. 

PHOTO by DARREN CRAIG

So, your album Flash recently dropped. How has that felt for you?
I’m excited to get it out there. The timing of it was crazy because it came out when everything started getting a lot worse with COVID-19. I had to cancel my album release party, which was a bummer, but it’s okay because people still listen to music. A lot of the songs deal with things like being home alone so it was fitting with everything going on. A lot of people have been commenting on that. It would have been nice to release it when the world wasn’t in a pandemic, but people are still listening. I’m glad it’s out there. 

Your singles “Cool Again” and “Tricky” are well-known and loved, but what’s one other song you’re especially proud of and stoked about?
The song “I Can’t Help” was a really fun one to write with Sarcastic Sounds. It’s like a re-interpretation of the Elvis song “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” We sampled a cover of the original and had to get all that stuff together. I had never done that before. I threw some new verses on it, and we made it like a lo-fi, hip-hop track. That was fun, and people seem to be into it. It was trending in India’s Top 50. I guess people in India really like it. It’s starting to pick up traction in general. We thought we could have led that one, but a lot of the focus has been on “Tricky.” It is cool to see how other songs have been getting support. There’s also “Bedhead” with Anna Clendening that was fun to do. She’s great, and I was really glad she was willing to jump into that one. That was also a fun one, and it’s starting to stream really well. We have a couple that are starting to do really well.  

Did you have a cohesive theme or mindset for the album or were the songs all separately their own ideas in a way?
I kind of worked on all the music in the last year or so. I didn’t really have a theme in mind, but it just so happened that a lot of the songs had the same themes. I think that’s due to writing them in the same period of life. There’s also maybe some darker themes but nothing too dark. There’s some social anxiety stuff, but there’s also relationship stuff, which I talk about a lot. I think sonically there’s some overlap with the lo-fi stuff and guitar stuff. At the end of “Party In My Head,” there’s a guitar blues solo I was really stoked about. It’s a guitar-heavy album with a lot of pop melodies. There’s also definitely lyrical themes as well. We also tried to keep it on the shorter side. With streaming these days it’s hard to throw huge projects out and have people digest it all. We tried to keep it relatively short. It’s a 10-song album, and I made sure I was proud of every song. 

Do you have any collaborations you want to work on when quarantine is over?
Cyn is really cool. Ryann is another one, and she actually co-wrote the “Bedhead” song. There’s obviously other dream people to work with like John Mayer, Frank Ocean, and Marina Diamandis. 

What’s one of the first things you’re going to do or places you’re going to visit when the world goes back to its normal pace?
I think Yosemite. I’ve been hearing about it being cool with all the animals coming out lately. There’s only a few staff living there right now, and they keep saying how quiet and serene it is. I was there last year, and I stayed in a cabin in Yosemite Village. I liked it because it was like camping, but you had a structured tent. There was also a pool and restaurants around the area. I want to go there for a week and be out in nature.

What’s one message you have for people right now stuck at home?
Hang in there. Stay healthy and safe. Do the social distancing, and maybe pick up a new hobby. As far as my music, hopefully, we will release new music sooner than later. I was even thinking of doing some covers and putting those out. I’ll be active on social media and may even do some contests.  

 

STORY ELIZABETH STAFFORD

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