A local student has brought her lifelong musical passion to the stage, as she racks up views online and books gigs around Newport Beach and beyond.
Sophia Rabin, 14, a freshman at Corona del Mar High School, has been making appearances singing her original songs recently, and even released an album, “Second Chances,” last year.
For Rabin, music has always been a big part of her life.
Her dad was in a band when he was in college and played guitar when she was young. She also has perfect pitch. Creating her own music was a natural step.
“My brain was already wired toward music and my dad was playing music,” so it was a big part of her life early on, Rabin said.
In Kindergarten, she joined her first band with four of her friends. The Galvantics played at the House of Blues, Corona del Mar Christmas Walk, at their school, Harbor View Elementary, and various other gigs.
“We went strong for five years,” Rabin said. “It was so fun.”
As the girls grew up and took on other hobbies, the band broke up. Rabin is the only former Galvantic who is still pursuing music.
“I knew I wanted to do music,” she said.
Rabin still plays the first guitar she got when she was 5 years old.
“I picked it up surprisingly fast,” she recalled.
She also played bass (it was bigger than her at the time), piano, and a little bit of drums.
Now, she writes, plays, records and releases her own songs.
“What I’m doing right now is what I’ve been dreaming about since I was 5,” Rabin said. “I don’t care how big I get…I just want to do that the rest of my life.”
Although her songwriting didn’t take off until about a year ago. Since then, she has grown and her skills have dramatically improved.
The best songwriters are authentic, she commented.
“Songwriting is something you can’t teach because it comes from within you,” Rabin said. “Everything I write comes from real, raw emotions that I’ve felt.”
Her songs are chapters from her life, with lyrics that helped her through various struggles growing up, she said. Something she hopes others can relate to.
She admires a number of artists, but for songwriting her top three are: Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, and Taylor Swift.
“I’m constantly inspired,” she said.
She considers herself a pop singer-songwriter, or Ed Sheeran circa 2014.
Whenever an idea or lyric or tune strikes her, she jots it down in a notebook or makes an audio note. The young singer has numerous random recordings of herself humming or singing a few words, which she makes anywhere and everywhere — except, of course, during class.
Although a lot of those “little scraps” are thrown away, she added.
It takes time and persistence, Rabin added. She started writing several years ago, but didn’t “come up with anything good” until last year. Paraphrasing another artist she admires, Dean Lewis, there will be 50 bad ideas before she gets one good song.
“You’ve got to keep writing,” she said.
Now, her budding career is starting to take off. She’s played several local gigs, including during the most recent CdM Christmas Walk last month.
She won the Corona del Mar High School Reflections contest in the category of Music Composition. Her original song “Solider” which she wrote & recorded was chosen by professionals in the industry as the recipient of the Award of Excellence. Her entry is now being judged at the state level and if she moves on she will be entered into the national contest.
Once she released “Ashes,” she became “grade famous” at Corona del Mar. It spread like wildfire on campus. If it’s relatable, people will talk about it, she noted.
“I’m not the most popular of children at my school,” she joked, “when I released ‘Ashes’ my world exploded in my face.”
Older students even recognize her as “that girl that wrote that song,” she said. When the YouTube view count hit 1,000, she went “bonkers.”
As the views on YouTube and Spotify increased, she became more confident in her skills and encouraged her to book some live shows.
“My mind was completely blown,” Rabin said.
On YouTube, Sophia Rabin Music now has more than a combined 7,300 views. On Apple Music and Spotify, her songs have more than 4,000 plays.
Tracking the views and plays, people spanning the country, from Seattle to Boston to Miami, have heard her music. Her songs have even been downloaded and played in Mexico, Canada, Italy, and Ireland.
She has big dreams, but she’ll take anything as long as she works in the industry. It’s her passion.
“I don’t need to be massive, but I’ll take a little bit,” she said. “I just want to share my music with the world.”
Rabin stays busy outside of music as well. She also participates with CdM Associated Student Body, sits on student committees, takes honors classes, and plays basketball.
Rabin is currently working on a “bigger scale” second album, hopefully released by her senior year.
Rabin will be performing tonight (Jan. 17) from 7:30–9:30 p.m. at Alta Coffee.
For more information, follow her at instagram.com/sophiarabinmusic or search Sophia Rabin on YouTube, Spotify or Apple Music.