Nashville singer-songwriter Sophie Sanders has unveiled “California,” an undeniably catchy pop country track that leaves us dreaming of the west coast, where the sun shines a little brighter and heartbreak might sting a little less. The track is available today on Spotify and Apple Music.
“California” is Sanders’ third single this spring, following “Dad Bod,” an ode to less-toned men, and “All My Friends Are Married,” the wryly funny, woe is me bridesmaid’s anthem. Sanders shows her versatility with “California,” giving us a heartbreak song that somehow feels upbeat and fun.
“You coulda broke my heart in California,” she sings, saying she’d be just as sad, but at least she’d be tanning and watching the sun-kissed guys walk past. She downplays the significance of her ex. Instead of I need you, I miss you, take me back, it’s a refreshing hey, you could’ve done this to me in a prettier place.
Sanders, a Nashville native, is no stranger to breakups, or to that Nashville late winter gray. “I had been dumped and devastated a few months before writing California. We were in the midst of one of those two weeks without sunshine in Nashville, and I just couldn’t take it anymore,” she says of the morning she sat down to write the track alone. “I kept thinking, if I could only be somewhere sunny sitting on a beach this would all feel better.”
She says that there are so many country songs about California already, but her spin on the state felt like one she hadn’t heard yet. And Paul Sikes, the producer, knew just where to guide the mix for a fun, sunny feeling. Ironically enough, Sophie’s father, Mark D. Sanders, gave country music “Heads Carolina, Tails California,” one of the biggest California hits of all time. As a little girl listening to the song, she says, she never would have dreamed that, 25 years later, she’d be sitting with her own guitar trying to match its ultra catchy, sing along nature with just a few words shaved off the title.
Sophie came to songwriting after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2011 with degrees in Psychology and Anthropology and zero experience making music. But with “California” she shows us that maybe some of her greatest education was listening to the songs that filled her home as a child. Surely they were sinking in.