Only in her mid-20s, SOPHIE MILMAN has already seen and done more than many people twice her age. Since her self-titled debut was released in 2004, it has sold almost 100,000 copies worldwide, hit the Billboard Top 5 in Canada and the Top 15 in the United States, and topped the iTunes jazz charts in five different territories. Meanwhile, Sophie has maintained a rigorous touring schedule and continued to balance her burgeoning music career with her commerce studies at the University of Toronto. In short, it’s been a three-year whirlwind. And, with the release of her much-anticipated new album, Make Someone Happy (2007), the time finally came for Milman to reflect on it all.
Sophie’s story continues to inspire. After emigrating from Russia to Israel with her family at the tender age of seven, then moving again at 16 to seek a new life in Canada, the transition from bookish teenager to glamorous jazz ingénue was perhaps unlikely. It was the offer of a recording contract after just three or four professional singing engagements that touched off a series of events that soon found this beautiful, multilingual talent gracing the cover of Voir, Klublife, Wholenote, and The Globe and Mail.
Before long, Milman had earned a 2006 Juno Award nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album and was appearing on stage with international musical superstars like Aaron Neville and the Neville Brothers, Chick Corea, and Jesse Cook. A triumphant return home to Toronto in October 2006 yielded an acclaimed iTunes EP, Live at the Winter Garden Theatre, which debuted at No. 1 upon its release in Canada and dominated the jazz charts in several territories for weeks at a time.
Two and a half years of touring the world have deepened and strengthened the collaboration between Milman and her band, led by multi-instrumentalist, composer, and arranger Cameron Wallis, and featuring Paul Shrofel on piano, John Fraboni on drums, and newest member Kieran Overs on bass. The opportunity to build a relationship with her bandmates and collaborators – another of the many “firsts” of the past few years – provided a fertile environment for the creation of Make Someone Happy. From the development of a concept to the actual recording of the album, Milman and her band cultivated an atmosphere of comfort and creativity where she could express who and where she truly is in her career, her life, and her music.