Sophie Simmons has a familiar face. And last name. Does it ring a bell? Daughter of Kiss guitarist Gene Simmons, Sophie was launched into the public eye at just 11 years old with her family reality show on A&E, “Gene Simmons Family Jewels.” Now 26, Simmons has several singles out—including “Courage for Christmas,” a holiday carol that is everything but Christmas cliché. With a (very) illustrious and notorious family, Simmons had a hang-up; discouraged by the inevitable future comparisons, she strayed far away from music. You know the saying, what’s meant to be will always find its way. Now that’s cliché. In a good way.
The Untitled Magazine caught up with Sophie for a photoshoot and exclusive interview where she explains her musical aspirations, her advocacy work for body positivity, and her female heroes.
What inspired your first foray into music?
I didn’t really ‘foray’. I’ve always been writing songs and singing. It just wasn’t known because I had lived in quite the shadow, but I think that’s changing now that people see how different my music is.
You have previously stated you didn’t want to get into music because of the comparisons with your parents. What made you change your mind and pursue it?
I just couldn’t avoid it anymore. It’s like trying to stay away from the love of your life – eventually you are drawn together. I didn’t want the comparisons but they come anyway so what’s the point in not doing what I love doing?
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Etta James, Adele, Lorde, Justin Trantor.
How would you describe your sound in three words?
Heartstrings playing melancholically.
How was the process of writing and producing the Christmas song “Courage for X-mas” without all the cliches of holiday music?
I guess I just tried to write how I felt over the holidays as opposed to the greeting card version of the holidays. This time of year makes me want to say ‘i love you’ when I’ve been holding it back, or ‘i’m sorry’ when I couldn’t say it before.
You mentioned previously your single “Black Mirror” is based on the famous Netflix show. What was it about the show that inspired you?
The show has a strong theme of technology affecting humans. I took that and ran with the thought of having a relationship with your phone instead of another human. I think it’s so true that sometimes we feed off the validation of the notification more than the love of another person.
You have several singles out – are you planning an album release soon?
Probably beginning of 2019. I have so many songs we are just timing out so they can each, hopefully, shine. And I hope you like them.
Your reality show lasted seven seasons—how was the experience of having your everyday routine filmed for an audience?
I know people ask this question because they have to and they feel that the show or my family are the only interesting thing about me. And I hope they take that click bait, hear my songs and become fans. So I’m thankful for the experience of the show because it gave me the opportunity to make music that will possibly be heard. That’s all I can ask for as a new, indie artist.
Aside from your TV show, you have some movies under your belt. Are you planning on continuing to act, or will you focus more on music now?
Definitely focusing on music. It’s what I love. I did a lot of things to please what people thought I should do when I was younger. I’m focusing on my passions now.
You’re known for body-positivity. What led you to pursue advocacy for body positivity?
I think just being a woman in entertainment gives you a crash course on the expectations of beauty put on females everywhere. It’s unrealistic. I wish more people stressed to me how unrealistic it all is when I was growing up. Because of this, I try to make it known when I can that what the media shows, for the most part, is not the only kind of beautiful.
Who are your favorite female politicians?
I’ve always admired Hillary Clinton, Ruth BG, and Michelle Obama. I realize Michelle hasn’t held an office but I believe she would do an amazing job and I hope she considers running (although I know that’s a long shot).
Do you have any New Year’s resolutions or new plans for 2019 that you can share?
Just to continue persevering and releasing music until it falls into the right hands (or ears).
Interview by The Untitled Magazine
Photography and Makeup: Tina Turnbow
Hair: Marc Mena
Styling: Stephanie Tricola @honeyartists
Assistant Stylist: Natasha Bock
Production: Liz Vap at FeralCat Production
Shot at The Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel