She was raised in Wichita, Kansas, went to high school in Boulder, Colorado, and is now based right here in Los Angeles having attended USC. It’s been a long journey for the woman born Anna Marie Scholfield, though she’s settled here now and is releasing her debut EP Polished in September after years of preparation.
“I got really involved in theater at school, doing musicals,” Skofee says. “I think when I realized I could write my own songs, and write songs that fit the quality of my voice a little bit better than the musical theater songs I was singing, then I was sold on that. I did a songwriting competition in Boulder, and I won. That was the first moment I realized that being a songwriter was even an option.”
The Boulder area is interesting. It’s a college town, and of course Colorado was one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana. It’s also not particularly diverse, and feels very sanitized. Jam band-hippie, but intensely clean. Still, Skofee loved it there.
“I honestly feel like I had a great high school experience, which I feel is a really hard time, and that’s completely because of the music stuff I was involved in and amazing teachers that I had,” she says. “My parents still live there.”
Prior to that, growing up in Wichita directly led to a love of bluegrass music that persists to this day.
“Growing up, we’d go to the Winfield Bluegrass Festival in Wichita, and that kind of music was in my house a lot,” she says. “My mom plays piano, and my dad plays guitar and mandolin.”
It shows. Skofee’s sound is super-contemporary, combining indie and pop to create a gorgeous, lush and emotional alt-pop vibe that certainly recalls Alison Krauss as well as the likes of Lorde.
“It’s weirdly hard to describe your own sound, especially as genres are blending more and more,” she says. “I would say indie pop, probably. Alt-pop. That’s changing all the time. I love layered harmonies. I feel like all of my music has just stacks of harmonies. That’s one of my favorite parts of the songwriting process, just finding those harmonies. I think a lot of that comes from listening to bluegrass growing up. But definitely more pop leaning now.”
Skofee’s debut EP, Polished, drops on September 18, and she’s preceded that with the “Fantomlimb” single. She says that she’s extremely happy with the way that the five song EP has turned out.
“It’s been a long time in the making,” she says. “I’m happy with the collection now — I feel like I was really focussed on writing individual songs that I could really stand behind. As soon as my favorites of those rose to the top, I feel like they started making sense as a collection as well, which is exciting to me.”
Via her undeniable gift for penning introspective, honest and raw lyrics, Skofee has crafted a record that explores themes of making peace with oneself in the most difficult of circumstances.
“I think the thesis, if I had to say, of the EP is, it’s called the Polished EP and it’s literally a collection of five songs all of which are about situations with no resolve,” she says. “The lyrics display a lot of dysfunction and uncomfortable growth. The irony is that it is a polished EP, it’s a produced, finished collection of songs. But the messages in all the songs are the opposite of that.”
“I didn’t mean it when I said I couldn’t see you again — I always leave the door open,” she sings in “Fantomlimb,” pointing towards a messy, unresolved end of a relationship.
“I think each song is definitely distinct, but I would say if there was a song that summed up the whole sound, it’d probably be ‘Fantomlimb’,” Skofee says.
Talking of messy and uncomfortable, this whole rollout is of course happening during the pandemic.
“It’s weird because there’s so much more time to be songwriting,” Skofee says. “I think it’s gone in waves for me. I do have a studio set up on my front porch, so I’ve been songwriting there. That’s been nice. I’m really focussed on the rollout of this music right now, so I have been trying to stay creative. But quarantine has been putting my finishing touches on the Polished EP.”
It was also while in lockdown and finishing up her EP that Skofee was alerted to the Black Lives Matter cause, prompting her to throw her weight behind the Black Trans Travel Fund.
“I’m basically trying to do anything that I can on a small lavel to take action, and that’s just something that I thought would be an actionable thing that I could do,”she says. “Hold myself accountable in this movement. I heard about it, and it really resonated with me. I thought we need to be protecting all black lives. It just struck a chord with me, it’s a great organization.”
With the single out and the EP on the way, Skofee is looking to jump back in the studio and release more new music as the year enters the fall and winter months. Continue her songwriting journey and keep busy. We had to ask though — where does that name come from?
“The name Skofee is a play on my last name,” she says. “My mom actually came up with it. Scholfield is hard to pronounce and I wanted a one-word name. I thought it was punchy and I was happy to decide on one. It’s weirdly hard to come up with an artist name.”