Part-mermaid, part-composer, Australia’s Sophie Hutchings is an integral part of the newly-blossoming neoclassical music scene Down Under. She’s recently released her sixth album, Scattered On The Wind, on Mercury KX, a label she shares with luminaries such as Ólafur Arnalds and Lambert. A typically extroverted Aussie in social situations, but an introvert in her world of indie-classical piano compositions, we spoke to her in the wake of her quarantined-album release.
Mentioning that Europe seems to have the strongest appetite for the music of Hutchings’ peers such as Nils Frahm, Dustin O’Halloran et al, she agrees by conceding, “it’s probably why I have to travel so far to perform! It’s still a young genre here in Australia. I do seem to have a stronger following over there. But it is growing here — we definitely have an alternative-leaning music taste here, so it would make sense that alternative classical would do well here. Ólafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm both sell-out Sydney Opera House. But touring here is tough because we don’t have as many suitable venues for this music as you would have in Europe.
“Last year we had a festival put on by Universal Records called Zone Out in Sydney at one of the largest multi-arts centres in the country. Lambert came out for that, and me and my buddy Luke Howard both performed. That was the first of its kind, but it was pretty timely because this is taking off.”
I mention that Scattered On The Wind is Hutchings’ sixth album, meaning she’s already carved a decent career out for herself, with this being the first to be released with the Mercury KX subsidiary label of Decca and Universal.
“I think so, I’d have to count,” she says with a laugh. “It’s always a blank canvas for me when I’m writing — I kind of disengage and don’t quite know what I’m doing. But then over time, I develop a relationship with the new music that’s coming out. This album has been about surrendering to the unknown while trusting that things will align.”
Hutchings describes herself as a “curly-haired blonde who will talk to anything that moves.”
I remark that her social confidence is interesting within a genre of music that is so introverted in nature. Unsurprisingly, the mentioned artists such as Ólafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm don’t have mismatching EDM DJ type loud and extroverted personalities. And composing itself tends to be such a solitary activity.