After years of softly humming melodies under her breath and writing lyrics on scrap pieces of paper, Sophia Engkvist released her debut CD, "What if a Day," on Oct. 28.
"I feel like I've been writing the project all my life but have only been working on it for three or four years," Engkvist said. "I hope it will make people think, because I think it's beautiful music."
Her mother, Alice Engkvist, visiting from North Dakota, nods her head enthusiastically in agreement. "It is beautiful - there's no question about it."
Engkvist grew up passionate about music, her mother recalled, reminiscing on her daughter's childhood. She played the piano and flute in grade school and sang with the church choir as a young adult, all the while writing and gathering songs and wanting to produce a CD.
Describing the songs as "new age" and spiritual but not religious, Engkvist admits she couldn't have made the CD without the help of co-producer Jeremy Cays. "He not only is the engineer at his studio but is a fantastic pianist, percussionist and composer," she said. "He created most of the instrumental arrangements on the CD and has taken my raw materials, my voice and music, and turned them into a work of art."
Engkvist wrote all of the songs with exception to "What if a Day," an old English song she's been singing since the age of 14. "It has just stuck with me, the lyrics are very profound," she said. "I sang it a lot a few years back when the big tsunami hit and at that time decided it would be the title song on the CD."
Grammy winner Nancy Rumbel and percussionist Tina Reichow from Sedona, Ariz., are featured on the CD, along with peninsula musicians Craig Buhler, Marlene Moore, Jason Taylor, Larraine Larsen and David Michael.
Engkvist plays a set of quartz crystal singing bowls.
"I wanted to put together a good project, put feelers out and didn't have to look very far," Engkvist said happily.
Her favorite songs on the CD are "Let There be Peace" and "A Beautiful World" because the lyrics are "powerful and relevant to what is happening in the world right now" She wrote "A Beautiful World" the day before, the day of and the day after the U.S. went to war with Iraq. Brought to tears by the memory of those three days, she recites the lyrics:
"I breathe, I smile, I love. I am your friend if you want me, just a hand or an ear. No judgment, no past, no religion, no color and no fear. What do we have here? You and me meeting on the street in a beautiful world."
Devastated by the number of lives lost in the fight against terrorism, Engkvist voted for the first time since 1980. She encourages others to find solace in her music.
Though the CD is packaged, on store shelves and available for sale, Engkvist doesn't consider the project finished quite yet. A longtime fan of figure skating, she is trying to convince a professional skater to create a routine to her music and even attended Skate America - an international, senior-level figure skating competition held as part of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series - held in Everett Oct. 24-26 to make contacts. She handed out copies of the CD but hasn't heard back from any skaters yet.
"It lends itself to the sweeping moves," she said about her music in regard to figure skating.
The voice and music
of Sophia Engkvist
Copies of "What if a Day" are available at Java Joe's coffee house and Frick's Drug in Sequim; Budget CDs & Tapes, Strait Music and Odyssey Books in Port Angeles; and Quimper Sound in Port Townsend. For more information or to preview songs, go online to www.sophiasongfire.com.
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