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Ireland’s answer to Rihanna

Dublin singer- songwriter Sophie Doyle Ryder told David Hennessy about being compared to Rihanna, Ariana Grande and Anne Marie, being signed to the same agency as Billie Eilish and why she thinks she could never support her.   

Rising Dublin pop star Sophie Doyle Ryder has drawn comparisons to such global stars as Rihanna, Ariana Grande and Anne Marie and just been signed to the same agency as Billie Elish.

Since she released her debut single Mood in 2019, Sophie has rapidly established herself as one of the most hotly tipped pop artists in Ireland.

The Irish Sun have described her as, ‘Ireland’s answer to Rihanna’.

The 19-year-old has just released Hunni Hunni, the first track from her debut EP, Beginner’s Luck.

Sophie told The Irish World: “I’m really, really excited. I’m doing loads of gigs as well. And I just started college too. So everything’s mad. I like to be busy though.”

Sophie, from Malahide, juggles her career with studying vocals at BIMM in Dublin.

So what has it been like to read articles comparing her to names such as Rihanna? “I get shivers. I get goosebumps.

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“I read that stuff and I’m like, ‘Hold on. Is that my picture? That’s my name. Oh my god’.

“It’s such a nice feeling.

“And it’s really nice that people are saying Rihanna because I’m obsessed with Rihanna.

“Of all people, Rihanna. Wow.

“It’s just so rewarding to get all the articles and stuff.

“I feel starstruck when I see them. I’m like, ‘What is going on?’”

Sophie has also been excited to announce she has signed with Paradigm Agency, the same outfit that looks after Billie Eilish.

Billie Eilish is known for tracks like Bad Guy and provided the theme for the latest Bond film, No Time To Die.

Billie, who is also 19, was born Billie O’Connell and has spoken of her Irish heritage.

“I remember when her first EP came out, I was obsessed with her. I loved her.

“I wanted to dress like her. I dyed my hair silver. I was in love.

“I thought she was the most talented girl- and she is. She’s incredible.

“So when I was told that, I was like, ‘No, you’re lying. Like what the hell? In what world is that possible?’

“It still makes me wonder, ‘How did I pull that off?’ It really is shocking’.

“It makes me think, ‘Could I support her?’

“I wouldn’t be able because I would probably faint.”

Sophie has been delighted to return to the stage with the recent phased reintroduction of live gigs.

On Saturday 30 October, she plays Whelan’s in Dublin.

It has been a long wait as the gig was originally set for March last year.

However, lockdown has given Sophie the time and space to work out who she is as an artist.

“It’s just been incredible to get back playing live.

“Gigging’s my favourite thing to do and it was really, really hard at the start of lockdown to get over the fact that I couldn’t gig.

“I was meant to do the Whelan’s headline gig that I’m doing on the 30 October, when I was 17. And now I’m 19.

“It’s over 18s so I remember thinking, ‘Oh my god, are they gonna realize I’m under 18? Is that going to be okay?’

“When I first got my headline gig with MCD, I was like, ‘Oh my god, that’s incredible’.

“But I am kind of happy that my first headline gig has been super delayed because I know who I am as an artist now, more than I did when I was 17.

“I’m 19 now, everything has changed so much.

“I feel I can portray it better now.

“And I’ve had so much time to think about what I want to do, what I want to sing.

“I have a whole new EP written, I wouldn’t have had enough songs to fill the set if I had done it back then.

“Now I love that I have such a solid set of music for gigs.”

And Sophie would love to make it to London for a headline show at one point.

In fact, it was in Croydon that she actually wrote her debut single Mood in 2019, and the follow-up tracks Enough and Too Much.

She also reveals she sees herself having a home here in future.

The current single Hunni Hunni, described as a party anthem, is the first taste of Sophie’s forthcoming EP.

“Hunni Hunni is inspired by my vocal coach. We were sitting in the studio writing the EP, and she was talking about how she’s getting a dog and I was like, ‘Oh my god, so cute’.

“She was showing me pictures and I was like, ‘What are you gonna name her? And she’s like, ‘Hunni’.”

Just like that, she was struck by the upbeat tune the track would take.

“I was like, ‘That’s so cute’.”

“And then we were singing, ‘Hunni, Hunni’.

“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that is gonna appeal’.

“I feel I knew when I wrote Hunni Hunni that people were going to love it because I loved it.

“So it came from a dog.”

The EP Beginner’s Luck boasts a range of songs about love both in favour and against.

Sophie describes it as like a ‘timeline’ of her summer.

“Another song is about being with someone and no matter how many fights you have, you’re still going back to them. You can’t stay away from them.

“I have one that is about being so in love with somebody that you will give them absolutely everything you have without even thinking twice.

“And then I have one that is about never wanting a boyfriend which is really funny because it’s the complete opposite to the rest of them.

“It actually kind of shows a timeline of my summer. I went from being madly in love to not wanting any boyfriend.”

Sophie has known she wanted to be a singer from a very early age.

“Well, my mum always says when I was younger I said I wanted to be a vet, but I can’t remember that.

“When we started going to Spain on holidays when I was a kid, we would go to this karaoke bar all the time, and I would say, ‘I want to stay here all night’.

“You get up onstage and you’re like, ‘Oh my god, is this actually real life? Someone pinch me’.

“I felt that even when I was eight or nine.

“I feel that was when I knew that I wanted to do it.

“Two or three years later, I started writing my own music.”

Music has been a safe place and therapy for Sophie.

“It’s always been therapeutic for me.

“My parents got divorced when I was like six.

“I wrote a song about it when I was 12.

“Obviously I didn’t realize it at the time but that was fully projecting my emotions about it onto the page.

“When I’m angry, I write.

“Or if I’m sad, I’ll just play piano and I literally would just sometimes speak over it.

“It’s not really just the singing aspect of it. It is the whole writing things down. It’s like self-therapy, I feel, because you’re not saying it to somebody.

“But you are saying it, you’re still getting it out of you.

“That’s the way I kind of view it.”

The single Hunni Hunni is out now.

The EP Beginner’s Luck is out now.

For more information, click here.

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