Sophie Hutchings On Locating Calm In A Maddening World
It's the first rays of light as the sun peaks through. Aside from the southerly breeze whispering through the trees, the rumbling waves and birds occasionally flying overhead, there’s a permeating silence and the silence is the music. Gazing at the horizon one sees an eternity and there's a comfort in its endlessness.
I spent a lot of my childhood outdoors by the ocean. My father would take me surfing before or after school and the ocean naturally became my lifeblood. There's something about the salt water that acts as a kind of tonic, offering a sense of freedom.
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The opening two tracks on ‘Scattered On The Wind’ lay a symbolic foundation to the overall theme throughout the album. It tells an otherworldly like tale of a character who has this insight into the natural elements. It’s her domain where she’s content spending her time alone feeling very much at one with all of that. Whether it be diving into the very deepest depths of the ocean, or being in the middle of a vast wilderness amidst a colossal thunder storm or roaming the woods in the darkness of night. Perhaps an environment where one might feel a little unsettled, she feels at ease, without any form of vulnerability.
I’d been ruminating over the title of the album quite a while before writing it. I think the title stemmed from spending a lot of time out in natural open spaces. I’d also expended a great deal of my childhood obsessing over Alice in Wonderland. As much as it was a figment of the imagination, there was depth and meaning behind it representing our curious human nature.
Yearning to discover, yet at times approaching crossroads and coming to a standstill in life. I remembered re-reading a line from Lewis Carrol whilst writing the album - ‘if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there’. It made me think about our human sense of vulnerability and that throwing caution to the wind and being comfortable to head down an unfamiliar path can be liberating.
By surrendering to the unknown you’re not giving in, your diving in and trusting in that unknown path gives you a sense of contentment and ease. The ocean represents a lot of that to me because it’s so unpredictable. It can be both restless and wild, calm and peaceful. The fictitious character in Scattered on the Wind is also a sort of a symbolism of all that that I felt I related to. I’ve always been relatively fearless when it comes to adventuring outdoors, feeling a sense of oneness and ease yet from a young age I was always timid and shy about sharing my music.
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I pour so much emotional energy into my pieces that I felt like it was a little like surrendering to the unknown to be able to unlock that timidness by sharing it with the world. This album in some ways is an acknowledgment to myself for having trusted in my musical expedition and where I’d come from. Over the years I’ve learnt that by interacting and reaching out to my audience and in turn them reaching out to me it became this shared experience. The music becomes this gateway or unspoken journey to another place for both the listener and myself and that can be a pretty powerful experience. What people have written to me about their own personal experience through my music has been incredibly touching.
In times like these I think music is a necessity. You hear so many times about how a certain album or piece of music has been an anchor to someone in getting them through an emotional hardship or just offering a sense of hope or comfort and this is something each and everyone of us faces in the current situation we find ourselves in.
With so much uncertainty and anxiety in the air we all need that anchor to keep us grounded. Music has the ability to powerfully shift our state of mind without us even realising, and I guess with this post classical genre, there’s a timbral quality to it, the tone, the space and tension between that creates a unique ambiance or atmosphere. It climbs and swells in dynamics and then will very often come down again which has this certain ability to seduce and capture the human emotion. It’s like the music has a language of its own that channels a pensive reflection that enables one to sit within oneself. Like the ocean, music is like gazing at the horizon. One sees an eternity and there's a comfort in its endlessness.
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'Scattered On The Wind' is out now.
Photo Credit: Luke Dubbelde
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