Gene Simmons’ daughter gets real about about growing up in a famous family, & why her new Christmas song is a departure from the jovial classics you’re used to hearing!
“I don’t think I’ll ever really understand,” says Sophie Simmons, 26, when asked about the concept of fame. Its always been a life filled with music and red carpets for the star, whose dad is none other than rock music superstar Gene Simmons! Now a recording artist herself, Sophie has released her first ever holiday song, but it’s not what you might expect. We talked to the singer about why she chose to shake things up this season, and how she deals with the pressures of the spotlight. Catch the full EXCLUSIVE interview below!
Can you star by telling me about your earliest memories of music?
My parents made me and my brother start learning piano when we were about four. So, I was four and my brother was, he must have been seven. But – they were adamant about us learning some sort of musical theory, some sort of musical knowledge, that we just have that skill. And then, if we wanted to quit when we were older we could quit, but they were just very adamant that we learn some sort of instrument.
So did you want to quit? Were you like, ‘Oh, they’re making me do this’?
Oh, I hated it the whole time. I wanted to go play sports and be outside. My brother is more of a writer and a visual artist so he wanted to just draw. I think only because our parents made us do it did we not want to do it, because I’m so thankful that I have that skill now and whenever I would write songs by myself when I was younger in my room, I was glad I knew how to play piano, but I just hated being in the lesson, and forced to sit there for an hour.
When were you like ‘wait, I actually really enjoy this, and I want to do this.’ When did you know you wanted to make music yourself?
I think I knew that pretty early on, but I avoided it because I didn’t want to do what my parents did. A lot of kids feel that way though. They don’t want to go into what their parents do. They want to try to be something different. I definitely tried to do something different, but I was always writing songs in the background. When I would get home I would always open my notebook, and start scribbling down lyrics. At a certain point it’s unavoidable, and it’s all I wanted to do.
Do you want to tell me about the holiday single, “Courage For Christmas?” What made you want to do a Christmas song to begin with?
I didn’t want to do a Christmas song. It was not on purpose. My management contacted me in July, asking if I would take a stab at writing a Christmas song. I was like, ‘I don’t know.’ Most Christmas songs area pretty cheery and really upbeat and there’s lots of sleigh bells in it. I was like, ‘I don’t know, I don’t want to do that. It’s not really my style.’ They were like, ‘Write about whatever you feel during the holidays.’ All right. I was like, “Okay.” It ended up being “Courage for Christmas,” and kind of a play on when people ask you what you wish for Christmas. I always wished I had the courage to tell someone I love that I love them. I was like, ‘I’ll write about that.’ Not everything around the holidays is ultra cheery. Sometimes, the holidays is a time to reflect and maybe start new.
For sure, absolutely. What are your holiday plans this year? Do you have big traditions?
We don’t have traditions just because my family’s always traveling and in different places. We’re always just trying to get us all together I guess is the tradition, that we’re all together always. I think this year we’re going to go to Canada. My mom’s Canadian, and my brother and I are I guess Canadian by default as well. We’ll be with our Canadian family for Christmas. Then for New Years, probably back in New York, because it’s New York.
Do you have musical artist that are inspiring you right now? Who’s on your playlist?
I’m always listening to my faves, like Adele. I listen to Aretha Franklin, especially after her passing. I’ve been listening to a ton. Just like big, strong female pop voices. I kind of have a long line in my playlist.
“If I could” is really, really pretty too. Is there an inspiration or story behind the framing of that one?
Yeah, I was driving back from Coachella last year, and I had started this song and it’s kind of about that moment when you’re in a fight, and you’re like, man, I wish I could go back to the beginning of this fight and not have it, not say that one thing. You know what I mean? I was just driving back from Coachella, I was like mid-fight with someone and I was like ‘I’m gonna finish that song.’ ‘That’s an important song.’ Yeah, I gotta get it done. It’s just about that moment when you’re like, I wish I could go back and take back the thing I said but I didn’t mean.
I definitely feel that from the song. I feel like the end of any music festival is also a little nostalgic sometimes.
Absolutely, yeah, a little reflective moment on the drive home.
Do you have anyone that you would love to work with at some point? A dream collab?
Yeah, but less so artists … Of course there’s two sides to any artist and music. It’s like the artist side of you and the songwriter side of you. The songwriter side of me would love to write for the strong women in pop right now. Like Dua Lipa, or a Halsey, or any of those women who are making a mark. I would love to write for them. Then, as an artist, I wanna collaborate with the other amazing songwriters. Like the Sasha Sloans and the Julia Michaels, the girls that really have something to say.
When did you first grasp the concept of fame and realize you came from a really famous musical family? Was that a weird thing for you?
I don’t think I’ll ever really understand because it’s my family, it’s so normal for us. The way we live our lives, and going to concerts is normal, going to red carpets is normal, and I don’t have anything to compare it to. So it’s hard for me to take a step back and say, ‘Oh, this is strange that we do this,’ because for me, we’ve always done this, this is what we do.
It’s your life.
Yeah, it’s my life, so it’s hard to get that perspective, and I try to understand it from the outside perspective just, so I know how it affects people that I bring into my life. Like anyone that I’m dating is gonna be highly affected by all of it, and I forget that sometimes. Then I’ll be like, ‘Why are you being such a baby about walking the red carpet?’ Then I’ll be like, maybe they don’t want their face plastered everywhere, you know what I mean?
What’s next for Sophie Simmons?
Definitely more new music is near, probably around the end of January!