The Cultural Connection Between Music and Shoes

The Cultural Connection Between Music and Shoes

Hey friends and super fans, just some late evening thoughts here on shoes. Yes… You know I love my shoes! Well.. except when they get in my way on stage!

Some of you know I kick off my fabulous shoes on stage in order to be more free to dance and move off and on the stage and among you! It’s amazing how much people mention this to me, and the connection between what I do with my footwear and my music. I was once described as the “barefoot passionate redhead” on stage. Barefoot signifies so much to people…. from freedom, to poverty, to a sexy don’t care attitude… and it’s been included in my show description! As I prepare to start hitting stages again this April, I started thinking about the connection between culture and shoes, and how much more they are than a functional item we put on our feet, even beyond fashion.

Rolling Stone recently published its list of the top 25 most stylish musicians and in the article, the publication emphasized how the “look” of the music is as important as the sound. To entertain an audience, you need to look the part. This may be why the most famous musicians often set fashion trends and create viral moments that reshape our sartorial choices. Fashion in music tells us what’s culturally important, and sets the standard for everyone else. Most importantly, this long-standing connection transcends countries, age groups, and even decades. Gone is the idea that someone’s music, someone’s work, someone’s politics speak for themselves. Today, every choice we make indicates dictates much about people’s impression of us before we even play a note of music, or speak or whatever the case may be. Do we need to consciously move away from this? Can we? Those of you who know me well, know that I LOVE a beautiful pair of pumps, but I also love my music and my pumps should never dictate whether or not my music is deemed to be liked or not! Seems silly but we all do it!

Shoes signify identity and research tells us that owning certain shoes and brands allow people to cement their social identity and connect to larger cultural trends. I remember years ago, one of my favourite Australian actresses once did an interview where she took a stance on environmental issues as she was in a mining town… and then promptly ridiculed on the national news for wearing shoes which required materials that were mined!

Heading back to musical realms, during my degree at Sydney University, shoes and one’s fashion often indicated what instrument you studied. I hate to generalize, and yet I can! Opera singers were often dressed colourfully and stylishly while the string department often wore dark and boring colours, and never dared to stand our in fear of being ridiculed at Friday morning concert practice. Classical music lovers slip into more formal attire and dressy shoes as a sign of honouring tradition and status, much of the time unless you’re Nigel Kennedy and you can almost tell if someone listens to R’n’B or alternative rock from the type of sneakers they wear.

These days, shoes themselves now have passionate fan communities…. this blew me away- one of the most prominent online sneaker platforms I discovered is SoleSavy. As a mom, I wear sneakers a LOT… but I might not join a fan club for them! But this apparently happens! So they promote their sneaker community as fun, safe, and inclusive. Members can discuss their kicks, attend special events, and even help each other build their shoe collection. Sneaker communities can even help you figure out which sneakers your favourite musicians and celebrities are wearing. I wonder if there’s an online community for violinists that love Christian Louboutin? Or opera singers who love red lipstick! Any of you out there? This could be a new thing! Especially if restrictions don’t end soon, yikes! I’d much rather be drinking a lovely red wine and discussing it in person but perhaps this is a good alternative? I miss events like “Wine Women and Shoes”. Perhaps Sole Savy can come up with something like that.

Prince had a signature look on stage, and even his own line of shoes. I had no idea! This is pretty amazing, and these shoes are not to be missed…. check them out! His collection has an other-worldly feel, rich in colours, materials, and details created in collaboration with designers like Donatella Versace. Aside from showing how Prince challenged the status quo of fashion, the exhibit also extends the discussion on how people are naturally drawn to effusive expressions of beauty. And with all that’s going on in the world today, we should seize small doses of happiness wherever we can.

I must go off now and consider what shoes I might next wear on stage! Hoping to draw you all in with my music into effusive expressions of fabulous music!

See you out there…. Sophie XO

Making Music & Travelling with Kids!

Making Music & Travelling with Kids!

Hey friends!

So, I get a lot of comments about traveling with the kids and how hard it must be, and I have to say honestly, my heart hurts when I’m not with them! So why not? If you have the right gear, it can be easy. Having an easy to use travel crib can make all the difference, or in this case, a great portable high chair! It all helps. When you home school and have some flexibility within your daily routine, it can be done!

We have discovered this gem of a high chair- The Stokke Clikk high chair – which is not only a great for at home, but it travels really easily which is great for us- especially travelling so much for performances (hopefully again soon!) We couldn’t be more pleased with this product- easy to assemble, disassemble, easy to clean, high quality, strong, sturdy and safe and watch to the end to see how easy it is to pack it all up and get rocking! I rarely leave the kids at home unless it’s an overnight thing only, so I like to be ready for travel. Check out our video on this awesome high chair:

Other great items for travel that we take:

Portable potty
iPads with educational software for kids for long flights
Travel table for airplane seats or car rides
Travel crib
Carrier for tired toddlers

Any tips? We always love to hear them! There’s ALWAYS room for improvement!

Sophie XO

 

Hello 2022!

Hello 2022!

Well hello 2022.

It’s been a wild ride! What will you bring?

The last year has been filled with many ups and downs, and unexpected turns, from more restrictions, more postponed/cancelled shows to home schooling our children, working on new projects and enjoying our new home of Kelowna in British Columbia. Not what we expected, but God always has a plan!

Many of you don’t know that I was in a major car accident last September, but I’m working hard on recovering as quickly as possible, and I’m excited to see you guys out there on stage with Pavlo and the Calgary Civic Symphony on April 17! I hope you can join us, and if not then, on another stage, on another beautiful day.

Wishing you all a great year ahead, with love,

Sophie XO

 

 

BL3ND-  a new Piano Trio

BL3ND- a new Piano Trio

Dear friends & fans! I am so excited to share this very first post- we are a new piano trio that formed during the pandemic- working across Canada through the pandemic, we have been arranging, writing, and preparing to launch, and we cannot wait to share more soon. We’re excited to introduce to you: BL3ND – Cellist Jeff Faragher, Pianist Jessica La & Violinist Sophie Armstrong, COMING SOON! @The.BL3ND

 

#ComingSoon #2022BrandNew #pianotrio #CanadianMusic #CanadianGroup #BL3NDtrio

The Art of Self Care- WIN a Weekend Away at Sparkling Hill!

The Art of Self Care- WIN a Weekend Away at Sparkling Hill!

Happy Monday everyone!

You guys- WOW. I had the most wonderful two days away last weekend at Sparkling Hill Resort I’m so grateful that I had the chance to sneak in a break. Self care is so important, especially for busy moms trying to do it all! Burning the candles at both ends is easy to do… I saw a hilarious meme about how impossible it is to be present for the kids, your partner, do a great job at your career, entertain, keep up with all your friends… and yet, as much as I laughed, that is what I expect from myself. Crazy right? I might need a daily reminder.

So where is this place? What is this place? Sparkling Hill is one of the most amazing spas I have ever been to, and I’ve been to many around the globe! From the stunning premises created by the Swarovski family, they offer a range of wellness oasis amenities and services unprecedented in North America. Beautiful surroundings, farm to table dining philosophy and holistic spa treatments, Sparkling Hill also offers wellness programs on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and personal wellness.

As an often tired Mom, my goal for my own weekend away was to SLEEP for a full night, and not have to a million things in the morning, and just to catch up on a little rest- and wow, I got that and so much more! I was so inspired to make more time for self care in my daily routine and to take regular breaks which I tend to forget when I’m so darn busy- I usually wait until I crash, which, is NOT a good habit.

So my fellow Mamas, especially the ones writing asking how I get the energy to do it all, (and I don’t always!) here’s YOUR change to win your own weekend away! I am partnering with Sparkling Hill to give you guys the chance to win a 2 night introductory wellness package at this fabulous resort in beautiful British Columbia Canada, which includes the following:

Package Inclusions:

* 2 nights’ accommodation
* Daily 3 course dinner per guest in Peak Fine Restaurant
* One wellness activity class per guest
* 20% off spa treatments at KurSpa*

Resort Inclusions:

* Daily complimentary à la carte breakfast
* Complimentary high speed Telus Wi-Fi
* Valet parking – one vehicle per room

KurSpa Inclusions:

* Heated outdoor infinity pool
* Indoor serenity pool and hot pool
* Kneipp Hydrotherapy
* Keiser equipped fitness studio
* Tea and serenity relaxation room

How to win? Head over to my Instagram Page to find out how!

SophieXO