This is a line from our song of the week, “Glow” by singer-songwriter Sophie Beem that speaks volumes about our purpose as human beings. Depending on how one experiences life, purpose can be a struggle to find daily or a luxury for those of us who have learned early on.
Songs like "Glow" gives hope to the hopeless. Remember your favorite motivational song? From John Lennon’s “Imagine” to R. Kelly’s “I believe I Can Fly” to Eminem’s “Not Afraid,” these songs spark change – change in oneself.
Beem said she sat with that line since she was 15 years old and it took three years to work with the right team to bring it to life. Her story of success is motivation in itself. After her stint on The X Factor (US), she never gave up on her dream to become a singer. She began singing her favorite covers and performing at clubs. Soon, Beyoncé’s former general manager discovered her, and before she knew it, she was signed to Parkwood Entertainment, released her debut self-titled EP, collaborated with Fetty Wap, and toured with Charlie Puth.
In our Q&A she revealed her songwriting process for Glow, what she learned after traveling to Africa, life after X Factor, and being Beyoncé’s protégé.
Musik ID TV: Sophie, the world needs songs like "Glow!" It's such a moving track with an encouraging message that everyone needs to hear daily. Share your process of creating the single from concept to completed single.
Sophie Beem: Thank you. That means a lot. I got my inspiration from the song from a quote I saw in a movie when I was fifteen. The quote read, “You already are who you are meant to be.” When I say this quote I saw so many different meanings and it inspired me to create something around these very words.
I wrote the song in Nashville with two brilliant songwriters, Lindsey Lee and Tofer Brown. Glow was the fastest song I have ever written. We literally wrote the song in under 2 hours. Lyrics were flying out our mouths and melodies were coming so fast. You can tell when something is good - when it feels so real and easy. I actually had that song sitting with me for a good three years. I always wanted to release it but was waiting for the right time. Now that I am working with the incredible producer Red One, I asked him if he would want to reproduce it into the new sound we were going into. He said yes, and "Glow" is out NOW!
MIDTV: As a Youth Ambassador for World Vision and being dedicated to other causes, do you feel like more artists should be called to action on social and political issues going on around the world? And why?
SB: I think it is so important to give back to the world around us. I think so many artists are speaking out about the things that concern them with our world. I think it is so inspiring to be a role model for these kids. It is nice for them to see someone who is pursuing their dreams and working hard. With being a Youth Ambassador for World Vision, I got to talk to kids about education and how important it is to be educated. I also got to inspire them with my music that I write from the bottom of my heart.
MIDTV: Late last year, you got the opportunity to travel to Zambia to perform for the children of Lusaka. How was that experience for you and your music?
SB: Going to Lusaka, Zambia in Africa was such a humbling experience. In America, we take for granted the education of going to school. I was one of those kids who didn’t realize how lucky I was to be learning. Traveling to another part of the world brought me to light on the issue that education is so valuable. In Africa, they don’t get a free education. It is a lot of money to go to school and get supplies. It made me realize how important doing well in school is. I also got to see how people could be so happy with non-materialistic things. They are happy because it is a beautiful day or because they are learning. That was so inspiring. I could see that I inspired them by singing and dancing to my own music and showing them that you can follow your dreams.
MIDTV: Many of us know you from your appearance on X-Factor when you were about 13 years old. Looking back at that experience now, what would you say you have learned?
SB: Looking back at X-Factor, it was like a blimp in time. I have grown a lot since I was 13. I have learned a lot about my voice and how to use it. I have learned how to dance to my own songs. I have learned a whole foundation that you need to have to be a professional singer. I also learned that you can never stop working as hard as you can because that is what is going to lead you to success, that and great music!
MIDTV: Not only are you a singer and songwriter, but you also play guitar and the piano? Wow! How did your musical journey begin?
SB: My musical journey never really begun because ever since I was born I loved to hum a tune or sing “The Sound of Music”. I loved singing always. I remember in pre-school, the kids would get annoyed with me because I was constantly singing. I was in my own world. I didn’t even realize. It was just something I always loved to do. My mom signed me up for Season 2 of X Factor, and at thirteen I made it to 40 out of 250,000 people. It was pretty awesome. From there I started singing and writing songs in my room to guitar or piano. Then, I performed them downtown in NYC. The Bitter End is the place where Beyonce’s general manager discovered me at the time and then soon later Beyonce was developing me.
MIDTV: Do you remember the exact moment that you decided that you wanted to be a singer/songwriter? Describe that moment.
SB: I think the exact moment I decided that I really just wanted to write my own songs instead of always-singing covers was right after X Factor.
MIDTV: How you met Beyonce and got developed by her and Parkwood Entertainment sounds like a dream-come-true for any artist. How was it meeting her for the first time and being her protege?
SB: I met Beyoncé through her general manager at the time. She came to one of my shows at the Bitter End and asked me to put together a package for Beyonce with a personal letter on why I wanted to be a singer. I sent her my music, videos of my performing, and a couple photos of myself. Soon after that, I was offered a full development deal. It was incredible. Meeting Beyoncé for the first time is something I will never forget. I had just seen her perform for the first time on her On The Run Tour and I was in awe and so inspired. She invited me backstage to her dressing room to meet her and when I walked in she was so beautiful. She got up right away and gave me a hug and told me how nice it was to meet me. I told her the same and that I couldn’t wait to get started.
MIDTV: Any Queen Bey approved songwriting tips/secrets that you can share with our audience?
SB: She likes to take songs and put them together. My song City Kid and Sleepless in The City were two separate songs. She had the idea to make them into one. I also love the fact that she always is telling me to be myself.
MIDTV: You have also worked with other artists such as Fetty Wap and RedOne, what do you think makes collaborations successful?
SB: I think what makes a collaboration so successful is to really feel like that person can bring a cool twist to the song. I also think they have to have the same vision as you with where you want the song to go but also be able to tell you if they don’t like something.
MIDTV: Please share any upcoming/current projects, tours, initiatives.
SB: I am currently working on a new project with RedOne that will definitely be out this year. I haven’t released new music in what feels like forever so I am excited to get it out and then we will see what happens from there!
“Glow” was dedicated to World Vision in honor of #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving. A portion of the proceeds went towards youth education and protection.
In September 2017, singer, songwriter Sophie Beem travelled to Zambia, Africa as a World Vision Youth Ambassador. This was an independent venture with World Vision, a humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to tackle the causes of poverty and injustice in partnership with Kids Share Workshops, a curriculum to awaken the artist and author in every child resulting in a published book by the children.