Sofi Paez

Costa Rica Contemporary Electronic Singer-songwriter
Costa Rica

Apart from her journey from Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose, where she grew up, to Germany’s capital, Berlin, where she now lives, the road that led SOFI PAEZ to SILENT STORIES culminates with a bewitching, enriching debut album which marks the pianist, singer and composer’s status as the first signing to award-winning composer and producer Ólafur Arnalds’ OPIA Community. It also introduces a universe both crepuscular and luminous, whether she’s pining for a lost friend on the heart-wrenching “Por qué” or childhood innocence on the tumbling “Waves”, whether finding contentment in “Amsterdam”’s yearning or comfort in the shadows of “1123”.

PAEZ’s father introduced her to music, both pop and classical. “I remember his Beethoven collection,” she says. “When he put on one of the symphonies I was completely blown away.” Encouraged further by her mother, she began piano as well as ballet lessons, then moved to the Instituto Superior de Artes to focus on the former. Before long, she was winning awards, but three days after she graduated, she announced she was quitting. She began teaching the instrument instead, as well as studying design, and for a year didn’t even touch her piano. She did, however, join renowned producer Askjell’s Discord server, and it was here she made a friend who introduced her to Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnalds and Hania Rani, provoking her to start composing.

PAEZ sent music to Askjell, and the Aurora and Sigrid producer was so impressed he invited her to join him in the studio, and having visited another online friend in Berlin on the way back from Norway she decided to relocate, moving to Germany in 2022. PAEZ had by now released a number of tracks and soon began chatting with Ólafur Arnalds on his own OPIA Discord server, but she was still shocked when she was invited to perform at OPIA Community’s intimate Berlin launch. Before she knew it, she’d entered the studio with producer Miguel Murrieta Vásquez who, alongside modern classical luminaries Ben Lukas-Boysen and Lisa Morgenstern, provided occasional instrumental assistance. “Then my grandma passed away,” she recalls. “It was fucking hard. But this grieving is an important part of the album.”

PAEZ’ character is stamped throughout her debut, illuminating compositions which simultaneously allow her to express parts of herself that otherwise she might fear sharing. What once seemed incongruous provides the very essence of what makes her and her music so special: the balancing of conflicting emotional needs and the harmony in their reconciliation. “It’s very difficult for me to open up,” PAEZ concludes. “I’m afraid of telling people too much. So these are the SILENT STORIES that I carry with me every day…”