Soko dazzles crowd with energy and emotions
ARTS & CULTURE EDITOR
There is a danger in judging with your eyes. Sporting short white-blonde hair, a cutoff jean vest and a polka dot blouse and skirt, French-born artist Soko looked to play the part of an ‘80s grunge rocker, reminiscent of Joan Jett.
However, from the moment she opened her mouth, her lyrical depth and raw emotions combined with her alternative look to create a unique blend somewhere between The Runaways persona and Lana Del Rey.
Soko likely would not agree with that comparison, though, and when asked what current artists she would compare herself to, her answer was simple.
“Uh…no one,” Soko said. “But I wouldn’t mind being Robert Smith’s legitimate daughter.”
Smith, who is the lead singer of the iconic rock band, The Cure, was famous for his dark, gloomy and somber songs that would often offer an insightful look into the mind and thoughts of the singer. That level of deep introspection and the use of songs as an outlet for dark thoughts are what Soko relies on in writing her music.
“I think I just get really sad and vulnerable, and emotional and raw and lonely and desperate and fragile,” Soko said. “And when I’m in that state, I can’t really be around anyone. All I want to do is hide away, and disappear from sight and just write… about all the weird thoughts haunting my head.”
All of those emotions were brought up onto the stage Saturday night at UC San Diego’s RIMAC arena, where people from all over San Diego were able to experience Soko, who opened for Foster the People.
Based on listening to her debut album, “I Thought I was an Alien,” one would have expected the live performance to be slower and more somber, but Soko’s high energy and vibrant attitude shined through her captivating stage presence. Bouncing between the keyboard and the guitar while remaining on the microphone allowed everyone to see the immense musical talent the 27-year-old possesses. Her energy and music couple with the lyrics to give audience members a taste of the entire emotional rainbow.
“I want [the audience] to cry so many tears of sadness and joy at the same time, that I can swim in an ocean of their tears by the end of the tour,” Soko said.
While there was no ocean of tears in the gym, there was an ocean of people dancing to the melodic dream world that Soko created there. There was even a point at which she invited people from the crowd to go on stage and dance like aliens during her song, “I thought I was an alien.” She also used it as a good time for a shameless merchandise plug.
“I have a glow in the dark alien t-shirt for sale at the merch table so if you’re ever feeling lonely you can give it a hug because, remember, I love hugs,” Soko said. “Also we give out free hugs for free money so come and get it!”
Her infectious personality and sense of humor are what make it impossible to ignore her, and her incredibly honest music is what has so many adoring her. She truly does embody every emotion and it translated into an unforgettable performance.
As she continues to grow as a musician, her focus has shifted to her second album titled, “My Dreams Dictate my Reality.” Soko promises that fans new and old will find the second album to be different from her first one.
“It’ s a lot different than ‘I thought I was an alien,’” Soko said. “It’s a lot more goth/dark/punk sounding, more upbeat and has no acoustic instruments. The lyrics are still pretty dark. It’s all about dreams and childhood and refuse to grow old and having peter pan syndrome and all that jazz.”
There is no doubt that as she continues to tour, the anticipation of the album will skyrocket and her popularity will jump through the roof. Whether she’s making the crowd laugh or dancing with the spotlight on her and her keyboard, the bottom line is: She’s a star.