Keeping It Upbeat with Soran Leif
Welcome to the 12th edition of the IMF Artist Profile, a series dedicated to the Indie Music Feedback community. The goal of this series is to take a look at the personal lives of some of IMF’s biggest contributors, giving you a peek into who they are as human beings. We’ll pull back the curtain as far as our guests allow and hopefully, we will all walk away with a better understanding of the music these individuals are creating as we learn more about them.
Soran Leif grew up in Los Angeles, CA, and moved to Washinton DC, where he now resides with super amazing handsome boy Bently. Here he works as a Business Account Manager for a major cellular provider while working on his MBA in Marketing. When he’s not working on his house, dealing with his day job, studying, or hanging with Bently, Soran is either producing music or working on the latest edition of Life’s Everyday Soundtrack.
Soran’s beats have always stood out to me as extremely well produced. His ability to get the mix balanced in every track is off the charts, leaving most of us scratching our heads at just how well he’s honed in on what makes a song sound good on any set of speakers. Personally, I find that Soran’s vocals are the most impressive thing about his tracks. From the lyrical prowess he exhibits in variation and style, to the incredible range of his voice. If that wasn’t enough, his ability to layer and morph his vocals into something so intangible and magical is utterly staggering. This week we are going to learn more about Soran’s writing process, his unrelenting positivity, and the astonishing Mr. Bently.
Now on to the questions:
Baaz: You’re an incredibly active member of IMF, and you have been from the start. I’d like to know more about how you ended up with this community and the road you took to get here.
Soran Leif: A long time ago, I was part of a music collective named Roots of Society. I would produce some tracks for the collab albums they would put out which started me producing for the public instead of a hobby. Over the years, most everyone stopped creating music and went on with their lives, myself included. I never stopped producing music or researching new techniques but I did not release it to the public anymore really. The past few years have been extremely hard and when I cracked my tooth last November, I broke as a person. Like the needle that breaks the camel’s back sort of thing. That’s when I looked to music again. I needed an outlet for expressing myself and music had never failed me in this regard. So I started making music in earnest again. After making a few tracks, I searched Reddit for some self-promotion and that’s when I found IMF. I wish I could say it was a love story from the start but when I put my first track “Fate’s Chosen”, I received a whopping 0 comments. Still, something about IMF interested me so a couple of weeks later I put up “Missing You” which received 4 comments which included one from Pax commenting on how she liked the vocal processing. Those 4 comments were the nicest thing anyone had said to me about my music in a very long time. That is when the love story with IMF began.
Baaz: When did Life’s Everyday Soundtrack begin? Can you tell us more about the inspiration for this amazing project and what drives you to keep doing it?
Soran Leif: Life Everyday Soundtrack started when I was listening to other artists’ tracks on IMF’s subreddit. I was just blown away by the talent and diversity of everyone’s music. So I decided to make a post on the sub to see if anyone would be interested in the project because I really wanted a way to connect artists to each other while providing a positive platform for the artist to be showcased as well. Music can be very isolating especially when you are a solo artist. I felt that creating a platform that joined fellow artists from different genres together and giving them a collective goal would help diminish that feeling while helping them feel as special as they truly are. I truly feel honored that people take time out of their week to be part of each volume and humbled by how talented every artist is. It takes a lot of work for each video but every time I watch it once it’s finished. I can’t help but have a huge smile on my face! People’s tracks are so good on every volume! It’s mind-blowing!
Baaz: In my opinion, your vocals are the highlight of every track you’ve produced. Can you tell us a little bit about how you decide that aspect of your sound? What is your writing process like?
Soran Leif: When I go about composing a song, I strive for two things. First is an emotional resonance with the listener. What feeling do I want to portray? Is the song eliciting that feeling within myself when I listen to it? Once I have established that the song’s instrumental has the right emotional tone, I start building the vocals to further bring that feeling out. This leads to my second point, which is creating a song that sounds full of life. My style is generally layers and layers of mini melodies that form together to make a collective sound that is connected through the vocals.
A great example of this is my track “Glimpses of You”. For this track, I really wanted to set the tone of a person that is searching for the love of their life with the somber instrumental of the first half and the hopeful sound of the second half. The instrumental wouldn’t sound complete without the vocals emphasizing those feelings. Bringing out the strongest vibes is what I aim for haha!
Baaz: In the past, you’ve spoken about how Bently came into your life at the exact moment you needed him. You have mentioned that he quite literally saved your life. Tell us the story of Bently and Soran as it happened, what was going on in your life when you decided to bring him in?
Soran Leif: Handsome boy Bentley is the best thing that has happened to me. When leaving CA, I had the opportunity to pick him up from a friend of a friend. I jumped at the chance because I was leaving everything I knew in search of finding out who I was as a person and a pup sounded like it would help ease the loneliness of moving to a place completely foreign to me.
Leaving everything behind has been one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life because it forced me to look inwards to see if I was truly the person I wanted to be. By getting away from my comfort zone, I had found that I had a lot of growing/healing to do as a person. That’s where Bentley comes in. When I would feel as if I would crack under the pressure of isolation or the series of unfortunate events that seem to keep happening, his loving presence would ease away the pain and unease. I feel so blessed to have such an amazing pupper to be part of my life because he has been such an uplifting, positive presence that I can never stay down with him by my side. That’s why I made Antidote 2.0! I felt this track was a great representation of how his sweetness cured my depression. As you can tell, I really love my dog haha!
Baaz: The world is in utter turmoil, the United States arguably being the most internally conflicted it has been since the Civil Rights movement began in the late 1950s. The majority of your songs have an upbeat and extremely positive vibe. Your lyrics are about hope and perseverance, often very emotionally connected and grounded. Do you find it difficult to be so positive today? How do you keep your head above the water?
Soran Leif: Over time, my mentality switched from trying not to be negative and depressed to being thankful for all the experiences because it’s said experiences that have made me who I am today. At the end of the day, I’m a firm believer that I want to live my life in a manner that 10 years from now, I can look back and say to myself, “Soran, you nailed it my guy”.
Success for me in this matter doesn’t involve money or fame but being a person that brings hope and positivity to the world. Everyone goes through rough times and you never know when your interaction with someone is that little bit of sunshine someone needs. I want my music to bring that sentiment as well. When someone listens to my music, I want them to experience something that adds something of worth to their day.