Sofia Ellar: An Appreciation

Spanish Made in Britain

Sofia Ellar

Sofia Lecubarri Ruigómez was born in London, United Kingdom on November 15th, 1993. She is a songwriter and singer. She sings in both, Spanish, and English.

Her family moved to Madrid around 2001 when she was eight years of age. She studied Business Administration at IE University in Madrid.

Contrary to rumors, she is not a countess, although she is a long-distance (tenth) cousin of Queen Elizabeth II of England.

Her stage name of Ellar comes from the pronunciation of the initials of her two last names, L and R (Spanish people use two last names since females never take their husband’s last name). Thus, Sofia L R becomes Ellar.

Her debut album, Seis peniques (Six Pennies), arrived in 2017. A year later, Nota en Do (Note in Do) was released. Her third studio album, Libre (Free), will be released this October.

Sofia Ellar with guitar

For me, Sofia Ellar is like Ednita Nazario, artists who are not singers but interpreters.

Why? Because when they sing, they transmit emotions, they make you feel the song. In effect, she said in an interview she wanted her fans “to dance, to feel, to think”.

She loves the beach, flowers, and adores cats, of which she has two, Eme and Merlin. Another cat, Dorian, went missing and was never found.

Moreover, Sofia Ellar used the power of social media to propel her career. Thanks to Instagram and YouTube, as well as Twitter and Spotify, she made thousands of fans who fell in love with her music.

Indeed, she is an indie musician’s success story. But success was not easy for her, and it came with a lot of hard work, sacrifice, and yes, pressure.

But before we talk about the music, let’s discuss her image and the controversies.

Mademoiselle Madame

Sofia Ellar as Mademoiselle Madame

Sofia Ellar has carefully cultivated an image of sweetness and bohemian freshness. She is the friendly girl-next-door type you want to hang out with as a friend.

Indeed, Sofia Ellar’s career itself is a lesson in branding.

The first thing you notice about Sofia Ellar is how beautiful she is. And it is a completely natural beauty, without lots of makeup and accessories. And that winning smile!

The second thing you notice is her sweet voice, so tender, her vocal tone is a melody itself.

The third thing is her look. Like Matisse, she is the anti-pop star. She does not need to get naked and show skin to be famous, only her voice and her guitar.

What do you think? Too radical of an image change?

Her brand is one of the friendly, warmhearted, free-spirited, and even counter-culture.

Therefore, when she created this character, Mademoiselle Madame, and those three songs that don’t quite fit her repertoire, most of her fans were outraged.

Sofia Ellar as a dark femme fatale or a sex symbol is not what she is about. She said she wanted to explore her dark side and she had those three songs she composed that did not match the rest of her album.

Although I can see why her fans were outraged since the change in her image and brand was too drastic (kind of Disney making porn), I do agree with her art should have no limits, and artists should be allowed to experiment.

I thought she look great as Mademoiselle Madame and the three songs were great, especially El último Johnny Bravo.

There is a lesson here. Don’t be afraid to experiment as an artist and stretch your brand but don’t stretch it so much your message gets lost.

My Top Favorite Songs from Sofia Ellar

Sofia Ellar in concert with fans

Sofia Ellar‘s songs go from intimate, low-key, guitar-only productions (particularly her first songs) to others with more instruments and arrangements. However, they all showcase her beautiful voice.

Furthermore, you can see her growth from 2016 to now. More confident, more assured, and still hers.

As a songwriter, she plays a lot with words and spelling in her lyrics to the point her songs have more than one meaning.

For example, in her single De sastre (of tailor) and the song makes references to suits and dresses and the video clip has a tailor making measurements. However, when the words are put together (desastre), it spells disaster, not from a tailor.

She has collaborated with singers like Funambulista, Dani Fernández, Alvaro Soler, Ainoa Buitrago, and Blas Cantó.

Sofia Ellar with Dani Fernández singing Rock’n’roll de chiquitos from YouTube

Here are my favorite songs from Sofia Ellar that everyone should listen to:

  1. Rock’n’roll de chiquitos (Little Kids’ Rock’n’roll) – Granted, I like it better when she sings with it Dani Fernández. Still, from the lyrics to the interpretation, this is her strongest song.
  2. Segundas partes entre suicidas (Second Parts Among Suicidals) – This is how you write a love story with flair and nuance. “How disastrous are departures…”
  3. Ahora dime (Now Tell Me) – Upbeat music and lyrics. This is a song about picking up your pieces after a bad breakup.
  4. Boulevares y deslices (Boulevards and Slippages) – I love this song about putting yourself first. “Perhaps I am the bad one, I don’t believe in love…”
  5. Canción de radio (Radio Song) – The song of the 2022 summer. “And if you see me dancing to some radio song…”
  6. Calma (Calm down) – Sofia at her pop best. “Calm down you ask my thunder…”
  7. El último Johnny Bravo (The Last Johnny Bravo) – the best of the three Mademoiselle Madame songs. “Because there are still bullets to shoot you with.”
  8. Versión de cobarde (A Coward’s Version) – The sad song dedicated to her cat Dorian. “I wish curiosity did not kill you.”
  9. Cancha y gasolina (Court and Gasoline) – Short and contagious. Give it court and gasoline, give me peace and life.
  10. Humanidad en paro (Humanity on Stoppage) – The collaboration song with World Vision on behalf of the homeless. Beautiful and poignant.

Honorable Mentions

Sofia Ellar in concert

These are the songs that did not make the top ten but deserve to be on your playlist. You will love them too.
  1. Amor the antiquario (Antiquarian’s Love) – I got a feeling this song is autobiographical. I get goosebumps when she sings about “that girl tired of offices, searching life singing a song”.
  2. Bañarnos en vaqueros (Bathing with Jeans On) – So danceable but don’t swim in jeans, please.
  3. Media tinta (Half Ink) – The ink might be “broken in two” like a heart but the song is lovely.
  4. De Sastre (Of Tailor) – Let nothing take away “the happy girl wearing dress costume”.

    Sofia Ellar

  5. Cenas que acaban en juerga (Dinners That End on a Spree) – “It is not worth sleeping when listening to this song. But it is your turn to pay the bill.”
  6. Seis peniques (Six Pennies) – The song to listen to when you are drowning in rum.
  7. Barrer a casa (Swept Home) – The song’s title is slang for looking after yourself and was released during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
  8. Mundos (Worlds) – Someone might occupy my place but the world we tried to create endures.

By the way, since she is only, twenty-eight years old, she still has many more years to grace us with more inspiring songs.

Sofia Ellar’s Greatest Lesson

Sofia Ellar

Sofia Ellar said many times (or implied) that her family did not want her to be a musician. How she was forced to get a degree in business administration by her parents before she was allowed to pursue music.

I believe her. British teenagers from a certain social class who are distant relatives of the Queen are not supposed to be giving concerts in bars. Unlike Il Volo, she did not have her family’s support.

But what she did have was three great assets, her talent, her guitar, and her business degree.

So what did she do? She made a business plan and gave a PowerPoint presentation to potential investors, with graphics and statistical projections. Then, she went to work.

Using social media to reach potential fans, she recouped their initial investment in only five months.

Sofia Ellar in concert

Everyone wants to be “indie” without realizing it is not easy and you must wear many hats. It is not just making music, it is producing, directing, making payroll, etc.

She said she felt an enormous responsibility because she was responsible for the income of people twenty and thirty years older than her who had families.

But she had a business plan and business savvy, and it paid off.

Hence, Sofia Ellar’s greatest lesson is that although art must be free and limitless, it is still a business. We must treat it as such.

And like she said in an interview, many talented people want to get into the industry but in the end, the public chooses who they like. Give them reasons to choose you.

Sometimes our families do not understand our journeys. It is okay. It is our journey. We must persevere. Success rewards the bold.

Reader, are you a fan of Sofia Ellar? What are your favorite songs from her?


No Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

March 2023