If her debut album Butterfly put her on the map via a suite of classic covers reworked for a modern pop audience, Smile will probably be the song which shows what Sofia Evangelina can do when she has free rein over the songwriting. Co-written with Kimberly Taylor Smile is the perfect song with which to open the next chapter for many reasons. Firstly it showcases her vocals perfectly. The spaciousness of the composition means that her voice is on display, as it should be, and it is easy to draw a line back to artists such as Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey and even icons such as Etta James when you hear the blend of power, control and dexterity being employed here.
The song is also the perfect message, a simple reminder of the power of a smile to welcome strangers, lighten the mood or add a touch of friendliness to somebody’s day. And as someone committed to making the world a better place through her role as an Ambassador for international anti-bullying and youth empowering organisations, it is the perfect subject matter. But, for many, the real step forward will be that having established herself via the familiar material found on her debut album, for the last two years she has been proving that she is equally at home in the original arena, which after all is where you need to be to really make a name for yourself. And making a name she is.
With Roy Hamilton III in the producer’s chair, the multiplatinum sonic captain who helped steer Michael Jackson and Britney Spears’ musical ships to greatness, she is in safe hands. And like the latter artist it is the blends of pop, R&B, soul and youthful sass that will get her noticed, and for the same reasons.
Even at such a young age she displays not only a voice beyond her years but is able to bring something meaningful and heartfelt to the table. Most teens would be content with writing obvious, saccharine pop about boyfriends and bad days at school, or low key indie-folk lullabies riddled with cliches and moaning lyrical clutter. The charm here is that Sofia Evangelina is already thinking big, writing worldly and globally relevant sentiments and doing so on a canvas of deft production and writ large on wonderfully confident scales.
Teen pop doesn’t have to conform to the usual cliches and Smile is the proof of that. Each release from this rising Canadian pop star of the future has been a step up in some way and Smile certainly feels as if all the boxes have now been ticked. So where next for Sofia Evangelina? Anywhere she choses I suspect!