ALBANY — Meet Sofia Corts, Bethlehem’s rising star.
Corts, 17, a self-taught musician, actress and visual artist, is determined to bring joy into the wider sphere through her many gifts, but most specifically, music.
“I don’t have a purpose if I’m not an artist in some sort of way because of how I am,” Corts said. “I’ve always been hardwired with the arts, and that’s what makes sense to me.”
This year, Corts performed as Rosie in “Mamma Mia: The Musical” at Bethlehem Central High School, and currently, she is co-producing two new music singles alongside Josh “Mirk” Mirsky at Foster House Studios in Albany.
Corts also made her first radio appearance and performed an acoustic set of her three singles “Temporarily,” “Spring Cleaning” and “Crazy Too” during a segment with radio personality Chris Wienk of WEXT at WMHT Studios, Friday, May 19.
Her performance, according to Wienk, will be played on WEXT 97.7 FM and 106.1 FM Thursday, June 8, at 7 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. Videos to her singles will be posted online June 7 and June 8.
Wienk first heard Corts’ single “Temporarily” from co-worker and radio personality Andy Gregory. Gregory received a note from Corts’ father, Michael, about the single.
Gregory and Wienk played “Temporarily” on rotation, and they liked it. Wienk said the song possessed a good vibe and had nice phrasing in it.
Wienk was impressed with Corts and the overall poise she expressed in her songs and interview session.
“I was most struck by her performance poise. Sofia was confident, prepared, and was great fun to talk with,” Wienk said. “She has a very good story to tell for such a young artist.”
Special bond between Corts and Mirsky
Corts and Mirsky share a special bond that extends far beyond music. Mirsky has seen Corts grow up as a young child, watching her perform in theater performances at school and in a local theater group, and Mirsky helped Corts co-write songs at just 13 years old. Mirsky and Michael are also childhood friends.
Corts reflected on the influence Mirsky had on her in her early years.
Inside Foster House Studios during a recent rehearsal, she played two YouTube videos on her phone. One was of her singing to “Grenade” (Bruno Mars). The other one featured her and brother, Joey, listening to Mirsky’s band perform the song, “Shady,” on the studio couch.
“Those (songs) are nostalgic for me because that’s what I grew up listening to,” Corts said. “When I got older, I re-listened to these songs and I really appreciated the genius in (them). … This is cool because I’m working with Mirk rather than just listening to him.”
Mirsky, who has produced music for Alica Keys and Jay-Z, remains in awe of Corts’ talent and is overwhelmed by the influence he had on her career.
“This is cool for me to understand the influence that I have on her and for her to be as good as she is, and I am still overwhelmed by that.” Mirsky said. “It’s validation on a different level that you don’t often come across. …These are the moments in life that I have to take all the way in and remember them.”
Mirsky said he loves the creative journey that he is on with Corts and to be involved in the early stages of success for Corts is exciting.
“I’m going to be able to say, ‘Hey I was there in the beginning.’ I’ve been there since day one and it’s great,” Mirsky said. “We’re making some beautiful stuff, and when I’ve shared it with people, nobody can believe it’s coming from this young girl who is so well-developed at creating, writing, and bringing me these ideas to the table that are already well-developed.”
Corts’ songs were shared with Troy native and lifelong musician, Peter Iselin. Iselin, who has been in the music industry for over 30 years, 13 of which were in Los Angeles,CA, was put onto her music through his business partner.
“When my business partner and I heard ‘Spring Cleaning’ a couple of years ago, it was clear to us that Sofia was an exceptional singer and songwriter — and then to discover that she was only 15 at the time! We were excited to manage what we were sure would be a stellar career, and we signed her in February 2022,” Iselin said.
Iselin has been working with Corts on getting her music placed in various TV series, and expects something to happen in that space soon.
Corts and Mirsky are co-producing two additional singles, “Thought These Things Through” and “The Cards,” both currently in the works. Eventually, an album will be released.
Corts’ singing has been compared to Alicia Keys and Lauren Hill, and her musical inspiration derives from ’90s groups such as Destiny’s Child and TLC. Along with ’90s pop influences, Corts makes it her mission to bring meaningful songs to airwaves and stages.
“Music these days is just … there’s no meaning to it. It’s all just to make a song, make a hit.” Corts said. “Songs back then, music spoke to people more. These artists in the ’90s devoted their lives to music and I just want to bring that back.”
Corts also wants to introduce potential fans and peers to new musical genres and doesn’t want to keep her music, or songs she likes, for herself. Most importantly, she is looking forward to the future.
Corts hopes to perform more, come out with more songs, and do bigger things, she said.
“As I move forward further, I’ll look back and be like, that’s crazy. I recorded my first song when I was 14 – that’s just so weird, but it’s also normal.” Corts said. “It’s just how life is now.”
As for advice to young aspiring talents dreaming to make it big one day, Corts sums it up this way.
“When inspiration comes, you just have to take it and do it and always document everything. If you’re a writer and if you think of something, write it down. If you’re a musician and if you hear something, record it. Because then you always forget. You think you remember and you don’t. That’s the thing and then you lose this really awesome thing that could have been. You just missed out on your own opportunity. You just made it your own fault.