At first glance or listen, you might think you’ve been transported back in time. The setting is intimate, the songstress appearing alone on stage, her guitar in hand. It’s exactly the look and feel that Sofia Talvik has been offering American audiences since she began her nationwide “Driving and Dreaming” tour nine months ago.
Already a rising star in her native Sweden, Sofia combines beautiful ‘60s folk music with the gentle singing of a ‘70s songstress. And she does it, by design, in small venues where she chats freely with the audience between numbers. As she states on her website, “No town is too small as long as there’s people there who want to hear my music.”
Sofia and her musical collaborator and partner Jonas Westin had that vision in mind when they arrived in Florida last winter to start their two year across-the-country tour.
“The first thing we did was to buy a 1994 RV,” she says with a smile in her voice. “We didn’t know much about an RV or what to do with it, and we’ve been working on it as we go—repairing water leaks, ripping out the old fixtures and replacing them. It looks like crap on the outside, but it’s nicer inside—at least now it is!”
They began touring through the southern states during the winter months, eventually winding their way up the east coast, then working their way west, the direction they’ll stay on through this coming November. I caught up with her in Colorado, where she was filming a music video at the amazing Garden of the Gods as they headed towards Utah. Over the next few weeks, she’ll be performing in Idaho, Oregon and Washington as summer draws to a close. This winter, they’ll traverse the Sun Belt states again. They book gigs about two to three months in advance, and Sofia is hopeful that many of the cities and towns she’s performed at this year will be on her itinerary again next year.
Sofia has released five albums, including this year’s “The Owls Are Not What They Seem.” She has toured in the U.S. before, but not like this.
“It’s just me and the guitar on stage,” she says. “Jonas helps with live harmonies, but there are no pre-recordings or loops. When you come to bigger cities, so much is going on and it’s harder to get people’s attention when you’re someone that they’ve never heard of before. It’s easier to reach out when you play in smaller venues—people tend to be more open and friendly. I think that’s the big bonus of touring in a sort of grass roots tour like this—getting to meet so many people.”
Her tour has been highly successful, garnering great reviews from markets across the country and introducing her songs to new audiences. She calls her music “contemporary folk, although one writer called it ‘neo folk,’ which is a pretty good term,” she says. “Vocals and guitar are always the center of my music. I really want to have that organic, live feel and sound to it.”
Though she might still be a bit of a secret to many, her music has already been featured on both “The Secret Lives of Teenagers” and “Children’s Hospital” on TV, and in the film “The Other Side of the Tracks.” She’s also performed three times at the famous SxSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, as well as the International Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis, Tennessee.
Those living here in Utah have two chances to see Sofia perform—on Sept. 4 at Piper Down in Salt Lake City (1492 So. State St.) or in Logan on Sept. 7, at Why Sound (30 Federal Ave.). Check out her website for tour information, music downloads and a lot more at www.sofiatalvik.com. She’s also on Facebook.
“I’d never been to the Midwest before, and this is my first visit into the Mountain states,” Sofia says. “This country is truly beautiful. Almost every town I come to is a new adventure. I love connecting with my audiences.”