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Schoolgirl Sophie's just dying to hit centre stage


High hopes: Sophie Doyle Ryder

High hopes: Sophie Doyle Ryder

Ray Keogh

High hopes: Sophie Doyle Ryder

MEET Ireland's rising star of pop - and she's a second level student studying for her Leaving Cert in 2021.

Super talented Sophie Doyle Ryder has grabbed our attention with a string of radio hits that include Mood, Enough and her current, Too Much, which has already clocked up 20,000 streams on Spotify.

Her first single, Mood, became an instant smash this time last year and recorded an astonishing 100,000 streams.

Think of top artists such as Ariana Grande or Rihanna and you've got the sound of Sophie, who comes from Dublin's Malahide. She's already a fully-fledged pop star.

With an impressive following now established, Sophie was due to headline her own show this month at the iconic Whelan's of Dublin, but it has been postponed to next March.

In an interview with Shuffle, Sophie admits she's living a teenager's dream, despite the setbacks caused by the pandemic.

"Definitely when I was a kid I used to look at celebrities and think I want to be like that," she says.

"But when I knew I wanted to do it, then it was all about the songwriting and the singing, rather than the fame aspect."

Sophie has worked with DM Unsigned in London, which offers unsigned artists high end production and development services.

"I got the opportunity to go over to London and co-write songs with other songwriters there," she reveals. "I was doing it every day, Monday to Friday from nine to five, and I remember thinking how I would love to do this every day for the rest of my life. It was so much fun.

"That's when I properly fell in love with songwriting. I was already obsessed with it, but I got a different perspective on it when I was actually doing it, writing music and bouncing off people. I worked with Darren Martin, who has written with artists I love, such as Tinie Tempah.

"I think I've really grown as a songwriter, particularly during the lockdown earlier this year. All I concentrated on then was music, so in one way I think quarantine has helped me a lot.

"I have learned my own little tricks. If I have writer's block, I kind of upset myself sometimes. I dramatise things, I write sad words down and just be like, 'what's this in my life right now?', and make myself sad for a while.

"Once I write the song, it's all out of me, so it almost makes me happier in the end. I suppose I do approach it like an actor getting into character or getting into the mood."

Sophie has been songwriting since the age of 10, and she first learned the art of creating a song by watching tutorials on YouTube. She started singing lessons at the age of 11.

"I grew up listening to music in our home as my dad, in particular, is a big music fan," she says. "He's a businessman, but he has always introduced me to his music when I was growing up. He'd play me loads of bands, like his favourite, The Cure, and tell me all about them. He's also looking out for me as regards the business side and the people I work with, and it's great to have that support."

Sophie, who has gone into her final year at Malahide Community School, is looking forward to the day when she can perform to live audiences. "I'd love to be able to get on the stage and have people listen to my songs and cry, or sing the lyrics back to me. Oh my God! I'd actually faint if I had people singing my lyrics back to me. That would just be insane. I hope that happens when I'm doing Whelan's next year."

Sophie Doyle Ryder's song, Too Much, is now available to stream.