Sophie Coran – “Circles” (Live) (ft. Shelby Yamin)


Sophie Coran presents a more stripped-back version of her track “Circles,” featuring violinist and longtime collaborator Shelby Yamin. The mellow keys, strong vocals, and alluring strings of the original remain forces. Here though, the solo violin, courtesy of Shelby Yamin, adds more expansion and beauty. Coran’s captivating vocal presence accompanies the emotive, striking violin work, which breathes further life into this already-consuming gem.

Sophie says the following regarding this new version of “Circles”:

“I knew that I wanted to work on a stripped back arrangement of this song with my dear friend Shelby, especially since it originated on the piano. ‘Circles’ is a tragic love song, and having a version of it for solo violin and keys emphasizes the idea of longing, making it even more intimate. I had arranged the strings for the studio version and then Shelby developed her part for this, making it really special. We filmed the video with Will at Treacle Mine Recording in Philadelphia, where I do most of my recording and rehearsing with my band. It was really fun to have this all come together the way it did, as a glance into my life with my musical and creative collaborators.”

My previous write-up on the track is below:

Sophie Coran’s fourth single “Circles” shows the Philadelphia-based artist’s numerous strengths. Lavish string flourishes and gripping vocals captivate from the get-go, as does an immediately striking sense of tonal variation — showing cohesion in the transition from this string-laden intro to soulful key-laden entrancement. The “swimming in circles,” vocal hook features glistening piano alongside memorably emotive vocals, leading to the beautiful “trying not to drown,” vocal lead-in. A string-forward bridge shortly thereafter continues the track’s strong grip. Stellar songwriting, excellent production, and a consuming vocal performance are constants throughout “Circles,” a testament to Coran’s melodically soulful sound.

Coran says the following about “Circles”: “I love using the metaphor of water in my songs, playing on the idea of swimming in circles, trying to navigate a relationship and realizing there may be no solution. It’s somewhat of a tragic love song. We wanted to create a huge string section harking back to film scores of the 1950’s and 60’s and in keeping with the Noir & B sound, to be very cinematic and nostalgic, whilst remaining current.”

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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