Getting through corona: Sofia Portanet

Corona restrictions have hit Berlin's performing artists hard. In our new series, we ask them how they're coping. Today: singer Sofia Portanet.

Sofia Portanet
Sofia Portanet

Berlin-Over the last few years Sofia Portanet has been heralded as a rising star of German indie pop. Her sound feels heavily influenced by Neue Deutsche Welle. 

How are you coping with not being able to perform?

To release a debut album (Freier Geist, Duchess Box Records, July 2020) without being allowed to play is of course a bitter thing. After all the hard work you wish you could finally "go out" and share the music directly with people live. I love being on stage with my band and performing. It's a special experience that connects me directly with the audience. The fact that we have had a state ban on working since March is not only a difficult situation, it is also a financial problem for many artists which the state ignored for a long time. People are now using the time differently and this too can lead to beautiful new paths, but there is no denying that the situation demands a lot of patience and confidence.

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Photo: Christoph Voy
Sofia Portanet grew up in Paris, where she sung in the children's choir of the National Opera. In 2010, she moved to Berlin to work on her own music. She's released a number of singles - in German, English or sometimes both - and performed at festivals like Reeperbahn and SXSW. She was dubbed "Germany’s next international popstar" by BBC 6 Music. Her album Freier Geist was released on Duchess Box Records in July 2020.

What do you miss during the corona pandemic?

I miss the everyday coincidences, a certain magic in everyday life, the chance meeting of people, spontaneity, beautiful evenings with friends outside the house, concerts, exhibitions, not having to think about distances, hugs and hugs without ulterior motives....

What have you been working on creatively during lockdown?

I was partly still busy with the album release. I also shot a new music video, which will be released later in November ( For "I Trust", the English version of my song "Menschen und Mächte"). Apart from that I'm writing new songs, reading a lot and preparing for some collaborations with other artists. I think it's a great time to exchange ideas with other artists and be creative. Of course I am already thinking about the second album.

Any recommendations on what do in Berlin during lockdown to fight boredom and stay sane?

Walking with a friend in the park or making a real phone call (instead of just chatting or texting), getting in touch with old friends you haven't talked to in a long time because there was always too little time. Watching movies! I always choose a director and try to watch all his films! Online gym sessions with friends on YouTube. There are great channels that are really effective, haha! Writing a diary, dealing with your own past, memories... trying out new recipes! 

What are you looking forward to most when the pandemic is over?

I'm looking forward to standing up on stage in front of a full audience and playing together with my band or standing in front of a stage in the middle of a crowd and enjoying a great concert without worries. I'm sure I'll shed a tear of joy! But before it comes to that, a lot of time will have to pass....