"Sophia has a unique and infectious style, bringing a sweet balance of humour and depth to her workshops. Her warm and playful nature creates a sense of ease and unity, enabling everyone to drop into a space that is both held and free. Her own dance and movement practices naturally inform her leadership style, helping to bring the voice back into the body where it belongs. She collects and teaches songs from different cultures and traditions from around the world, leading harmony singing workshops with people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to bring out the natural voice and reinforce our innate human ability to make music. Her workshops are soul inspiring, heart warming and empowering, creating a sense of euphoria and connection for everyone involved".
Biog (life story!)
I've been singing since I can remember, and I am so grateful to my parents for that. (Singing is everyone’s nature but relies on nurture to develop - if you didn't grow up being encouraged to sing, that particular muscle didn't get a chance to develop, but it's not too late! Anyway, back to me!)
My earliest memories of singing were on long car journeys with my family listening to a super eclectic range of music, from Cat Stevens to Johnny Cash, Traditional Greek Music to Enya! I also grew up attending a lively Baptist church in West London where I remember experiencing a profound connection to God through singing. (Although my outlook now encompasses a wider, Earth-based, spirituality, I will always have a deep connection with, and gratitude for, Gospel music).
Living in North London and attending a predominantly black church gifted me a rich and diverse experience growing up. I was massively influenced by Black music and culture (my first tape I bought from HMV aged 9 was Chaka Demus & Plyers!) and to this day my life includes and honours many songs, rhythms, dances and spiritual traditions originating in Africa.
I have vivid memories of singing Joni Mitchel with Ms Duffy at Brecknock primary school and I'll never forget my music teacher John Catlow at Camden School for Girls. The way he taught me harmony, his passion for music and encouragement of my creativity was huge for me.
Aged 15 I attended my first Dance Camp on a field in North Norfolk. This was a real fork in the road moment. This was the beginning of my love for nature, camping, fireside living and community. There was no turning back. I continued to attend camps on this field well into my late twenties, I met my first love there and had too many meaningful experiences to mention. It was at this camp that I had my first spiritual experience of song outside of church. I remember being in a marquee, singing a simple but beautiful 3-part harmony song with 200 people, tears rolling down my cheeks. I didn’t know it at the time, but a seed was planted…
Camps and festivals became a part of my life every summer. I longed to get back to the fire, back to the earth, to community. In 2006 (aged 22) I came across a workshop at Sunrise Festival with Chandra Mather - a singing facilitator and member of the Natural Voice Network. This was the workshop that inspired the start of my journey as a singing facilitator. I led my first workshop at Dance Camp East the following summer.
A chance encounter with one of my school music teachers, Catherine De Sybel, at my first ‘proper’ job as a teaching assistant in 2009, led me to spend a year as a Music Animateur apprentice with Spitalfields Music where I was mentored by the formidable choir leader Laka D.
In 2010 I joined the Natural Voice Network, founded by the incredible Frankie Armstrong. It was there, and at Unicorn Voice Camp, that I met so many of my inspirations and singing family that are still my tribe to this day. I set up my first choir - Hackney Harmony - in 2010, and went on to guest lead for a number of other London choirs including SOAS World Music Choir. I was also invited to improvise music, alongside Cosmo Sheldrake, for an inspiring film - wetheuncivilised.
From 2010-2012 I studied at Goldsmiths for my certificate in Music Workshop skills, which inspired and prepared me for teaching primary music and also leading workshops with a range of different groups including special behavioural and educational needs, refugees and asylum seekers. I taught music in a number of primary schools around East London until the love of my life inspired my break away from London and I moved to Lewes in 2014. This was the birth of Zu Choir.
In 2015 I was invited to speak at a women’s TEDx event in East London. It was for this that I wrote the song This is Home and ‘Singing Ourselves Home’ was born. (That same year I co-founded Harmony Live with Dominic Stichbury, Janna Goodwille and Michael Carlyon – a massed singing workshop with 4 leaders.
Also that year, at Buddhafield festival I met Denise Rowe - a game changing moment. Denise’s work in African dance and spirituality, embodied movement, nature connection and ritual/ceremony spoke directly to so many of my passions and callings. Within a year I had done her 9 month training, spent 3 weeks with her in a village in Zimbabwe, began to learn mbira, and supported her with voice and mbira at the very same workshop I met her at, just one year before. She continues to be a profound inspiration for me, both personally and professionally. She has opened doors to my inner landscape and inspired a deeply healing relationship with the earth and spirit. I am endlessly grateful to this incredible being, and so happy to be able to call her friend, as well and teacher and mentor.
In 2018 I met the inspirational Briony Greenhill which led to a year of study in Vocal Improvisation. I also studied with Guillermo Rozenthuler - another master of CVI (collaborative vocal improvisation). I led my first Singing Holiday in Turkey and taught at Unicorn Voice camp in Germany.
In March 2020 I dusted off my loop pedal and began to offer workshops online.
In 2021 I began my diploma in Holistic Voice Therapy, inspired by the incredible Nessi Gomes, who I now have the honour of working alongside on her Vocal Odyssey Retreats. Later that year I combined my experience, training and passion of healing voice work, embodiment, nature connection and, of course, singing and curated my first Embodied Song Retreat.
In the Spring of 2023 I did a tour of workshops along the US west coast ending in Vancouver Island, BC, where I was hosted by the founder of the Ubuntu Choirs Network. It was an honour to travel offering songs and meet such incredible, heart and soul-full people along the way.
Training and experience
2004-6 | HND Complementary Healthcare, University of Brighton
2008-9 | Music Animateur Apprenticeship, Spitalfields Music
2010-11 | Certificate in Music Workshop Skills, Goldsmiths University
2010 (ongoing) | Joined the Natural Voice Network
2010 (ongoing) | Hackney Harmony Community Choir, London
2010-15 | Music teacher and Choir leader in Primary Education
2014 (ongoing) | Zu Choir Community Choir, Lewes
2015 | Vocal Process "Inside the Singing Voice" training
2015 - 2020 | Co-founder of London Harmony Live
2015 (ongoing) | Earth Dances Training with Denise Rowe
2016 (ongoing) | Music and vocal accompaniment for Earth Dances
2017 | Thai Yoga Fusion Massage qualification
2019 | Vocal improvisation year long training with Briony Greenhill
2021-22 | Diploma in Holistic Voice Therapy with the British Academy of Sound Therapy
2022 | Advanced Circlesinging and CVI training for Vocal Leaders with Guillermo Rozenthuler
2022-23 | Co-facilitaor on Vocal Odyssey Reteats in Greece with Nessi Gomes and Lino Hermesh