Angela Soffe of ‘Bloom’: “Trust your intuition more than rules and advice”

There’s a lot of noise in our overly-informed online world. If you’re creative, you’re the target of marketing tools and hacks that will seem like the magic secret to “getting ahead.” I’ve learned after years of trial and error that my own compass knows what steps to take next. There is no need to rush, […]

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There’s a lot of noise in our overly-informed online world. If you’re creative, you’re the target of marketing tools and hacks that will seem like the magic secret to “getting ahead.” I’ve learned after years of trial and error that my own compass knows what steps to take next. There is no need to rush, climb, or bump your way to some imaginary finish line. There is room for every creative effort (yours included) and you have an inner knowing that is wise beyond what you can imagine. Be educated and then trust yourself, and lean on your intuition.

As a part of our series about music stars who are making an important social impact, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Angela Soffe.

Angelic Americana songstress Angela Soffe turns her beautiful ballad “Bloom” into an equally moving music video full of real-life love. Award-winning artist raised in Asia and now based in Washington state, Angela Soffe is best known for her piercing lyrics and anthemic, yet intimate songwriting. Her songs are morsels of real-life wrapped in honest Americana. Describing her sound as “timeless Americana pop,” she won the nomination for “Americana Album of the Year” by the Independent Music Awards 2019. Her song, Rocks also won the Great American Songwriting Contest in 2019. Her work and story have been featured on independent films, commercials, and podcasts worldwide.

The premiere of Bloom can be viewed below:


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series Angela! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit of the ‘backstory’ of how you grew up?

Absolutely! I grew up the middle child of a large Mormon family in the Philippines. My parents are Argentine-American and we lived in Manila because of my dad’s job developing businesses in Asia. My family was into sailing, so we spent the majority of our family time on a 56-ft sailboat, sailing around the South China Sea. We went to an International school with kids from all over the world and learned to eat, speak, and think like third culture kids. It was a really unique childhood, but I didn’t know it until I moved to the USA and met other young Americans that spoke and acted differently than I did. It was when I moved to the US for college that I first heard American folk music.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

Yes! It’s a funny one actually. I grew up as a trained classical pianist and in college, I was studying piano pedagogy. But one day I was leaving an audition for an opera when I passed a group of students playing folk music in a room with glass windows. My older brother was there and wanted me to get the phone number of one of the girls playing the fiddle. (He thought she was cute). So I talked to her about what music she was playing since I’d never heard it before. I got her number for my brother, and also an audition to be in the band. Miraculously, I made it to the band, began touring and performing, fell in love with Americana music. That was the early beginnings of my music career.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career? What was the lesson or take away that you took out of that story?

Years ago, I was performing a gig with my bandmates at a bar. The pay wasn’t great, but we considered it a chance to play music and try out some of our new songs. Halfway through the show, someone announced that a couple was getting married at the bar and asked if we’d sing the wedding music. We thought they were kidding, but it was a legit wedding! (Officiated by the bartender I suppose? We never found out) But we ended up playing music for several more hours and being the cheapest wedding band they never hired. The takeaway for us was that in the end, music is about giving and serving other people. Rather than demanding pay, we were happy to share it with a rowdy bunch of people for a night.

What would you advise a young person who wants to emulate your success?

#1 Believe in your own success. If you don’t, change your belief systems to match what you want to experience. You must believe you are destined to succeed before you ever experience any wins.

#2 Seek to give more than you get. Everything comes down to relationships. Build lasting, real relationships with people, be kind, be grateful, be generous. Especially when you’re starting out, you want to be humble, teachable, and offer to help in any way you can. You’ll learn as you grow and if you have a good attitude, those ahead of you will want to help you too.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you explain how that was relevant in your life?

“Everything that happens to you, happens for you.” I think Oprah said this, and it’s stuck with me. I’ve been through my fair share of troubles and low moments when it seemed like life was throwing me under the bus. It’s so easy to feel like the victim over and over again. A simple perspective shift changes everything. When I remember that everything I experience is for my benefit, I suddenly see options where I only saw dead ends. Every trial feels like a gift now — an opportunity to learn something new and level up. I ask myself questions like, “what am I supposed to learn from this?” or “how can I change this?” and suddenly solutions start showing up.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Yes! I stand on the shoulders of so many people who’ve helped me get to where I am. Other musicians, producers, songwriters, label execs, my husband, fans, have all leveraged me to this place. Two come to mind immediately. One is Mark Geslison — my college folk music instructor who introduced me to folk music in the first place. He took a chance on my pithy guitar skills (I was so terrible) and mentored me into songwriting and production. I owe so much confidence and opportunity to him.

The other is my most recent producer in Nashville, Gena Johnson. From the moment we started working on this record, she has pushed me to be a better, more polished version of myself in every facet of my music-making. I’m grateful for her grit, love, and perspective to get me out of my comfort zone and into a genius zone. She’s also just an incredibly talented and beautiful soul.

Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview, how are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting social impact causes you are working on right now?

I’ve always been a sensitive person, I think we all are when we’re young. It’s like I have a sadness radar — I notice the people who feel insecure or seem like they could use a friend. I know what that feels like and my heart just wants to rush over and help. My songwriting used to be a place for me to vent about my own issues and problems. But lately, I’ve felt really pulled to write music that helps other people feel less alone. This new record covers a variety of themes, but the main takeaway I hope to bring to my listeners is that whatever they’re feeling, we’ve all felt it too. Heartbreak, loss, connection, love, nostalgia, irritation…you’re not alone in your searching for meaning. It’s with this goal to empower and lift, that I founded HEROICA. Heroica is a lifestyle brand and education platform for women to remember their own greatness, who they really are, and have the courage to follow their creative dreams. So many women doubt themselves in massive, paralyzing ways. My aim is to create breathing space for them to become the best version of themselves without fear or stress.

Can you tell us the backstory about what originally inspired you to feel passionate about this cause and to do something about it?

My passion for this cause to uplift women really stems from my own experiences. In 2014 I chose to leave Mormonism for doctrinal reasons, and this really impacted my life in a profound way. I found that I suddenly had blinders taken off, and I saw everything in a new way. I was feeling so much frustration toward patriarchy and the programming that told me how to live and plan my life for 30 years. Now after much healing, I see other women feeling disempowered like I was. Some are resentful and stuck, others are wishing they could achieve their goals but don’t believe they can. I want to reach back and help anyone who needs to clear the debris and feel alive again, aware of their full potential.

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and take action for this cause? What was that final trigger?

Absolutely! Like I mentioned in the previous question, my disentanglement with Mormonism really caused me to wake up. Sometimes it’s pain that causes us to take the first steps of awareness toward what we want. When I became aware of how much I was limiting myself by following the live program that was planned for me, I suddenly felt SO free. I no longer had chains around my ankles, and I could pursue a life that I designed for myself. I let go of previous beliefs that held me back and decided to be 100% honest with myself and others rather than pretending. I felt like a weight was lifted and songs, poems, and ideas came flooding in. I decided to let myself be a kid again and explore all the aspects of myself I had been suppressing. Taking action felt more like exploring than work, and I’ve so enjoyed the process of learning to believe in myself again.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

In 2018, I was invited to speak on a podcast with a live audience and talk about my journey and the music that came out of my experience. Following the podcast interview (which now lives on YouTube) I heard from a woman who told me one of my songs stopped her from taking her own life. She was desperate and ready to give up on life when she heard my song “Freedom” and felt some hope. That was the first time I heard from someone who was so deeply impacted by my music. It really made me realize that what I do is bigger than me, it comes from an infinite place that’s for all of us. Goodness and enlightenment is for everyone, not just the lucky few. By lifting ourselves, we lift others and all rise together.

Are there three things that individuals, society or the government can do to support you in this effort?

Yes, I’d love the support! With my music, individuals can follow my socials @angelasoffemusic and join my mailing list on my website. Buy, stream, and share my music like crazy, and book a show with me at your house (I do house concerts!) For HEROICA, people can also follow online and join the waiting list to be in one of my courses, or people can work with me one-on-one. Eventually, we’ll have live events and concerts which will be such an amazing way to gather when we’re ready.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or an example for each.

1. 99% of your work will not be sexy.

I think there’s a misconception that performers and entertainers live a glam life of champagne and stilettos. It’s just not that way at all. Most of what I do is not sparkly or even exciting to observe. I do love it, of course. But it’s a lot of boring practicing, admin work, contracts, listening, rewriting, and promotion (which is my least favorite).

2. Trust your intuition more than rules and advice.

There’s a lot of noise in our overly-informed online world. If you’re creative, you’re the target of marketing tools and hacks that will seem like the magic secret to “getting ahead.” I’ve learned after years of trial and error that my own compass knows what steps to take next. There is no need to rush, climb, or bump your way to some imaginary finish line. There is room for every creative effort (yours included) and you have an inner knowing that is wise beyond what you can imagine. Be educated and then trust yourself, and lean on your intuition.

3. You are enough.

One of the most common reasons we don’t achieve is because we don’t believe we’re “good enough.” It stems from the idea that there is only so much room at the table and you just don’t make the cut. This is social programming handed down to us from generations past, and it’s absolutely false. If you have a dream or a goal, it’s there for a reason, and you are qualified to have it. You may need training, you may need to grow in some way, but you are not intrinsically flawed. You are good enough for your dreams right now.

4. Your work is a flavor: some will like, love, or hate it.

I’m a recovering people-pleaser. I used to want to make everyone love me, say nice things, and be THE favorite flavor. When I was just starting out, I played at a wedding once where the father of the groom said he didn’t like my music. Haha! It’s funny to think about now actually. But I was crushed. Not everyone liked it! But here’s the thing, you might be the best mint chocolate fudge ice cream (that’s definitely what I am) but some people like strawberry. Share your art/music/writing whatever it is…with people who like that flavor. There are billions of people on this planet — your people are out there. Don’t take it personally, you just need to find them.

5. Dedication trumps talent.

In 2018 I was driving to Seattle on my way to make my 2nd record. I accidentally listened to an interview with Angela Duckworth about “Grit.” She talked about how gritty people have the determination and ethic to stay with something, even when it’s uncomfortable. Gritty people end up with the highest rewards at the end because they don’t give up so soon. You might feel like the least talented person in the room, but your determination is worth 10X more than talent in gold. Stay in it. Your dreams deserve your attention, and there is no competition when you set yourself free.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Thank you! Ultimately what people are searching for is abundant life. We all want meaning, fulfillment, and fewer struggles. If I could start any movement, it would be one that helps people become conscious and aware that changing their beliefs about themselves will change everything. I hope HEROICA will be this for the right people! There’s an enormous amount of mental suffering going on right now. People living out their lives like robots, unhappy but not sure why, unfulfilled but numbing their pain with something external. I’d love to help people create abundant lives. Because fulfilled people help lift others and we can slowly begin to heal our world from the inside out.

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Politics, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I’ve always admired people who do things their own way, in their own style. People who break the mold and defy the odds. I’d love to have a loooong lunch with one of my mentors-I’ve-never-actually-met, Marie Forleo. She’s inspired me to not only be a smart businesswoman but to care for my fans and customers in the most genuine, loving way. 😉

Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was so inspiring, and we wish you continued success!


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