While discussing women in the music industry, Margaret Cho told us which artists she was loving in 2020: “I’m always really inspired by the all of the newer, young female musicians that I see. People like Phoebe Bridgers and Clairo and Billie Eilish and Soccer Mommy. She’s like, so incredible. So, there’s so many wonderful, incredible female performers that are emerging. And they’re almost like the granddaughters of my generation, finally, like sort of coming and finding their own voice in rock and roll, which is really exciting.”
The women Cho spoke of have become some of the top artists in 2021, and Soccer Mommy has proven she belongs. Her nationwide tour began September 15th in Atlanta, and nearly every single show is sold out.
Soccer Mommy (aka Sophia Allison) resides in Music City (aka Nashville) and has been playing guitar since she was in elementary school. She began posting her music on Bandcamp in 2015, but decided to move to New York for college. While studying for a degree in the music business, she nabbed a record deal of her own, which prompted her to return to Nashville and make her career happen.
Allison gained national attention with her 2018 studio album, “Clean.” The singer-songwriter gave us the lyrics “I don’t wanna be your fucking dog / That you drag around / A collar on my neck tied to a pole / Leave me in the freezing cold” (“Your Dog”), and “She won’t ever love no boy / She’ll treat you like a fucking toy / She’ll break your heart and steal your joy, like a criminal” (“Cool”). You might expect those lyrics to be screamed by a growly-voice, but it is Allison’s lilting voice that gives them life in a way that contrasts the harshness of the words.
The album landed her on critic’s “best of” lists and placed her on tours with Kacey Musgraves, Phoebe Bridgers, Liz Phair, Paramore, Foster the People, and Vampire Weekend. Allison even performed at rallies for then-Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
Allison had told her parents – at the age of five! – that she wanted to be a rock star, and her 2020 follow up, “Color Theory,” is solidifying that dream. When the album was released, she told the New York Times: “On the last record, I didn’t have any experience in a studio, so I didn’t know how to bring in any ideas.” For “Color Theory,” Allison said, “This time, I had basically learned how it works. I had so many thoughts on how to make my vision of the song itself match the recording.”
“Color Theory” was released just before the pandemic, but even without the typical touring schedule to promote it, it landed on the charts with singles “Circle the Drain,” “Bloodstream,” and “Yellow is the Color of Her Eyes.”
With a distinct ‘90s vibe that sounds cheerful, Allison went deeply personal by covering depression, illness, death, sadness, and trauma. The vulnerability may lead you to believe Allison intentionally writes about the difficult topics, but she told NPR it just flows from her: “I didn’t ever decide ‘I want to talk about this.’ I think when I write, I get these guitar chords and then I start kind of singing random things that come to my head and start building beyond that, and end up finding myself having written about something that I didn’t even know I wanted to write about.”
The cohesiveness of “Color Theory” is tied together with colors marking the various emotions and moods. Blue for depression and self-harm; yellow for illnesses, including her mother’s years of battling cancer; and grey for loss. The honesty and openness of Allison’s lyrics continue to connect with her fans – whether new, or Bandcamp-day devotees.
This summer, Soccer Mommy released the upbeat single “rom com 2004,” and the video shows off her love of video games (also shown on her website).
Soccer Mommy will tour across the US and OC Music News will be at her hometown show in Nashville on October 1st to get a full report. The bulk of her shows are sold out, but try to snag some tickets to her SoCal shows: Fonda Theater on October 28th and Music Box in San Diego on October 27th. You can also watch the sold-out New York show on September 21st when it is livestreamed for free.