Sophia James is a musician and member of the UCLA a cappella group, the ScatterTones and a recent top 10 finalist on this season of American Idol! We chatted with James about her work with the ScatterTones -including performing live at The NAMM Show- as well as what life has been like on Idol.
Q&A with Sophia James
Q: Tell us about the ScatterTones. Who have you performed alongside and opened for?
Sophia: The ScatterTones have a rich performance history. In the time the group has existed, they’ve opened for Pentatonix, sung with JoJo on ABC Family, performed for Pat Benatar, among other notable names. We also have some wildly talented alumni: Moses Sumney, India Carney, Arianna Asfar, among others.
In the time I’ve been in the group, my favorite experience has been opening for Bobby McFerrin at NAMM.
Q: Share how being in an a cappella group changed your college music experience.
Sophia: Being in an a cappella group has reminded me that music is anything but isolating.
It has reminded me that music is meant to be shared and generates a strong sense of community. It has only enriched my passion for music and provided me with a strong family unit of talented people who I love dearly.
Q: Give us an inside look into American Idol: What made you audition and how is the audition process?
Sophia: I auditioned for American Idol kind of on a whim after one of the casting producers reached out and offered me an audition. I figured I didn’t have anything to lose, so I went. Never in a million years did I think I’d end up where I am now. It’s really been more about the journey for me. The whole process of American Idol has been a beautiful learning experience and it’s brought so many wonderful new friends into my life. I’m thankful for the ride.
Q: What is your favorite performance on American Idol to date?
Sophia: My favorite Idol performance that I’ve performed would probably be from the first round of Hollywood Week where I sang “Let It Be” by the Beatles. It was a really emotional tune and it was very freeing to be able to perform my own arrangement of it.
Q: Do you recommend opportunities like American Idol for other college music students?
Sophia: YES. American Idol has been one of the best experiences of my life, and to do it during college was so special because it helped me grow and discover who I am as a musician and artist.
Be warned though - there is a difficult time management aspect when juggling Idol and college (I had to learn this the hard way).
Q: What career are you seeking in the future?
Sophia: If all my wildest dreams were to come true, in the future I would be a touring, performing, and recording artist. I wish to create for the rest of my life. I wish to inspire people with the music I make. I wish to heal, spread positive messages, and comfort with the songs that I write.
I understand, however, that the music industry is a competitive place and it can be hard to establish yourself among the sea of talent that exists there. As I am doing music in some way, shape, or form, I know I will be happy.
Q: Any advice for college music students in pursuing their dreams?
Sophia: Go for it. Cast aside the fear of judgement, it’ll only hold you back. Pursue your dreams because they just might come true. If you are passionate enough about something and you’re willing to put work into it, then absolutely go for it!
Make it happen! You won’t regret it. And I wish you the very best.