A 21-YEAR-OLD woman from Bradford has this month released her first single - and says she had lockdown to thank for it.

Sophie Russell - who performs as Cherry Seraph - produced the single ‘8am’ from her “tiny home studio” in Keighley.

She has also been proactive in women-led initiatives for greater representation within the global music industry, in which, according to a January 2020 study by the University of Southern California, only 2.6per cent of producers worldwide are female.

The former Beckfoot School pupil initially struggled to unearth her creativity in lockdown, but as time went on she found she wanted to produce something uplifting and motivating.

“I wanted to create something which was in contrast to the heavy narrative found on the news,” she said. “Like so many of us, I missed the small human interactions which we took for granted: hugging, dancing and feeling that we had a true connection to one another.

“It really has been indescribably tough for all of us. Sometimes, the sadness and isolation that I have felt during this pandemic has been immobilising. The song ‘8am’ is the total antithesis of these difficult feelings. To be able to have the ability to create music has been a blessing.”

She added: “This extraordinary journey of being carried under the weight of such abrupt societal upheaval has served as the entire inspiration.”

Sophie describes ‘8am’ as a “dreamy electropop single saturated in feelings of self-acceptance and appreciation for the love that we can both give, and receive, from those around us.”

It also acted as the catalyst to a four-track debut EP, ‘for someone, somewhere’ to be released in June. She cleverly uses synthesizers to manipulate sound. “It brings another dimension to pieces of music.”

It was during her degree in politics at the University of York that Sophie became involved in music production. She gained support from Yorkshire Sound Women Network, which inspires and enables women and girls to explore sound and music technology.

“It is amazing to have this group of women who can collaborate with each other,” she said. “Only 2.6 per cent of music producers are female, yet 40 per cent of singer-songwriters are women,” she said.

Sophie recently featured in a collaborative project called ‘Ninety’ on YouTube. This was pioneered by fellow female and non-binary producers working together via the use of sampling to create one track. The proceeds are going towards organisations which promote and educate towards more minority visibility within the audio industry.

Sophie chose the name Serpah due to its meaning - a celestial being or angel. “A lot of my music has an angelic feel, with many vocal layers. I wanted to add to it the name of something I love, and I love cherries,” she explained.

Working on the EP has helped Sophie - who helps to run a women’s mental health group in Keighley - through the past few months. “It has helped my own mental health and proved a motivator, something to hold on to. It kept my brain active. Music is known to have a positive effect on mental health.”

She is very excited about her future in music production. “I hope to be working in a studio environment soon. If I can make music that people appreciate it will make me very happy. I would love to inspire others.”

8am is available through all streaming platforms including YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music.

To see ongoing work and gig dates: @cherryseraphmusic on Instagram.