Blackpool singer Sophie Aspin returns with new single filmed at Lytham Hall and with an empowering message about social media

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Since starring in her first TV documentary at 14, Sophie Aspin has been victim to online trolls, but six years later the Blackpool rapper is back with a new single which has an empowering message for girls on social media.

Sophie, now 20, helped to put Blackpool on the urban music map when she appeared in a series of shows about the underground grime scene. Her foul-mouthed ‘sends’ were controversial, but after a two year break she’s back with a softer image and mature approach to her music.

Originally from Manchester, Sophie starred in ‘The controversial rise of Blackpool Grime” on Noisey – a YouTube music channel owned by VICE, focused on showcasing underground sounds, and investigating the movements, scenes, and stories that drive culture.

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‘I look back at myself and I see a child’

Sophie Aspin in her video for Don't Take It Serious, filmed at Lytham HallSophie Aspin in her video for Don't Take It Serious, filmed at Lytham Hall
Sophie Aspin in her video for Don't Take It Serious, filmed at Lytham Hall

The documentary has over 7.9m views – making it the 21st most watched video on the channel. But Sophie has grown a lot since it was filmed.

Sophie said: “I look back at myself and I see a child. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing with the documentaries, but I don’t regret any of it because it's got me here.”

Having come of age surrounded by cameras and social media, Sophie went through some hard times dealing with online trolls, and self-esteem battles as she looked at pictures of seemingly flawless Instagram influencers living their best lives.

But after a lot of self-reflection the seaside grime queen has a positive message on her new single ‘Don’t Take It Serious’.The track is Sophie’s personal take on social media, notoriety and expectations from the public on what it is she should be, or what it means to be Sophie.

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Sophie AspinSophie Aspin
Sophie Aspin
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Social media message

The song focuses on the ideals that are expected from a young female on social media, such as looks, beauty standards, success, image and sexualised objectifying - and the black and white fact she is not playing by those rules, and instead chooses to not take any of it seriously whatsoever, and neither should you.

“They like me cause they know I’m fresh/ Well dressed, don’t care if I’ve got no chest/ Hate on me but you know I still flex,” Sophie declares in her northern drill-rap lyrical style, on a slick track laid down by Grammy-winning production trio Oct8ves (Nat Powers, J Mills & Kevin Gani).

And to hammer home the message that the image of success and luxury shouldn’t be taken seriously, she filmed her video within the spectacular Lytham Hall and the World War II hanger at Blackpool Airport – flaunting the trappings of wealth while delivering tight lyrical rhymes that show how she’s been working hard out of limelight: “In silence I’ve been a grafter/ Been making all of that bag/ Saving all of that cash/ Load it straight to my bank.”

‘I’m in this huge manor house...then I went home and got into my pyjamas’

But as she lives it up in Lytham Hall luxury she stresses that her outfits are a far stretch from what she wears at home.

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She added: “For three minutes you see me in this huge manor house living this lavish lifestyle, but then I went home and got into my pyjamas.”

Aside from making music, Sophie makes a living as an influencer and her TikTok channel has over 1.6 million subscribers.

But she wants her followers to know that the posts are just an illusion, and don’t represent reality.

“I’ve been there, looking at images that show this lavish lifestyle, and it can make you feel really bad about your own life. The message of this video is don't believe everything you see on social media. Yeah you see someone wearing nice outfits and being glammed up but that's probably not what they’re going home to.”

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On filming in Lytham Hall

And it’s a far cry from the grimy back streets she once used as a filming location.

“When I looked at the place, it was huge and when I saw how everything was laid out and organised…Years ago we’d just find a nice spot in Blackpool and film, but to be in a huge manor house with a big team around me, and proper lighting. I was in awe of what was going on.”

She’s built up a ‘numbness’ to the haters, but it wasn’t always the case for the former hairdresser, who used to struggle seeing hurtful comments about her appearance.

And she’s just had her first child, a girl called Ophelia Rose, which has made her more intent on being a positive role model for young girls growing up around the pressures of social media.

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She added: “If you get bullied in school you come home at night and you don't have to worry that much because you’re in a safe space. When you go online and you see these comments everywhere there’s no escape from it. Over time i learnt to just keep going until those comments started to change, and they started to see that actually I’m not horrendous at this.”

The Noisey documentaries

The first Noisey documentary showed Soph battling with fellow Fylde rapper - the then-12-year-old Little T, and Afghan Dan.

Later ones showed other female artists, Courtney Jade and Millie B, but the grime genre - which emerged in London in the early 2000’s is overwhelmingly male.

Marked by percussive beats and British-accented rhymes, it was popularised by artists like Skepta, Dizzee Rascal, and Stormzy – who once personally endorsed Sophie’s music.

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But in a male-dominated space, female artists are often subject to casual misogyny, and double standards – as Sophie hints at in her rhymes.

“There are things that men can easily get away with saying, but if a girl says the same it’s seen as disgusting. At the very top, artists like Lizzo can get away with it but they’re so big, but females always have to try that bit harder than the men, we have a point to prove.”

Soph’s personal struggles led her to distance herself from music, and especially the grime scene - and settle into a ‘normal life’.

Away from the limelight

But things started to look up when she met Sam and Aish - who run a Blackpool performing arts charity called Skool Of Street.

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They offer dance classes and performing opportunities for disadvantaged youngsters - but they also have contacts and links within the music industry.

And while Sophie was in a difficult place, they saw her potential.

“They believed in me when no one else did. I was a teenage girl letting loose and to say i put them through hell was an understatement. I had lost all self belief, and everything I wrote, I hated it. They kept saying just believe in yourself, and they didn't give up on me.”

During a five year period the Bell-Docherty’s have nurtured Soph’s raw talent, helping her to mould herself into marketable artist with a fresh new image and sound.

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And although there is still a grime scene in Blackpool, Sophie is now more focussed on developing her own unique sound and breaking down barriers between different genres, including exploring house music.

She adds: “I consider myself part of Blackpool’s music movement, just not necessarily grime. It just reminds me of years ago and makes me cringe. Its rapping but its very different. I’m not going to stick to one genre, because that boring.”