One-third of the indie band Wild Array (formerly Hoo:Lumes) and founder of the feminine vocal ensemble Moon Choir, Asheville-based artist Sophia Darby is now poised to step out as a solo artist. As Sophia Corinne, she pays homage to her great-grandmother’s first name, which just so happens to be Darby’s middle name as well.
Darby wrote “Canadian Goose,” the first single off her forthcoming EP, The Rim, in fall 2019. She was preparing to leave Asheville the following summer and sought to capture the bittersweetness and nostalgia she felt about moving. But with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, her path changed.
“In a way, the plans I had for the future belong to an imagined version of myself — a character with a story that could have been mine if things had not changed course the way that they did,” Darby says. “At the time I was writing the song, I was just following the words and images that best expressed what I thought might happen in the future, before I even really knew that my whole life plan was about to change.”
The imagery-rich lyrics are conveyed through Darby’s pleasantly soulful, folk-friendly vocals over finger-picked acoustic guitar — plenty of ingredients for a memorable tune. Its video companion is similarly sparse yet impactful, thanks to direction by the up-and-coming local team of Sunroom Media’s Max Raines and Craig Tracy, who see the singer-songwriter’s vision through.
In the video, Darby sits on the edge of a bed and performs the song while Tara del Prete — who closely resembles Darby and mirrors her wardrobe, possibly in an unconscious reflection of the chorus’ phrase “seeing double” — dances from her knees back by the pillows.
“I wanted to find someone who could express the emotional landscape of the music through movement, in a way that felt organic and genuine,” Darby says. “I felt that the dancer needed to be a visual manifestation of the emotions of the singer, and so finding someone who could carry all of that felt important. A few months ago, I saw Tara dancing and it just clicked that she needed to be the one.”
Darby will announce The Rim’s release date on her social media platforms next week, and is also opening for fellow local singer-songwriter Christopher Paul Stelling at The Grey Eagle on Saturday, Sept. 25.
“I’m really looking forward to the show. It will be my first gig since COVID and really marks the beginning of a new chapter for me in terms of my creative work,” she says. “As far as more shows in the future, if this song has taught me anything it’s that plans almost always change. For now, I will say I’m tentatively planning to tour sometime next year. We shall see.”