Sophie Rae livens up Friday night at Nambah Coffee

Singer Sophie Rae performs with her band Feb. 17 at Nambah Coffee in downtown La Verne. Her set included covers from Amy Winehouse and Corinne Bailey Rae. Nambah Coffee’s next event is a paint and wine night on Saturday from 7:30- 9:30 p.m. / photo by Casi Martinez

Rebecca Keeler
Staff Writer 

Sophie Rae, singer, songwriter and music teacher, wowed her audience with her vocal talent Feb. 17 at Nambah Coffee, located in the heart of Old Town La Verne. 

The performance was a part of Nambah Coffee’s Friday live music and entertainment series, which began in December 2022.  

Rae discovered her passion for singing when she was a senior in high school and chose to pursue music as a career while attending Citrus College in Glendora before transferring to Cal Poly Pomona, where she majored in music. Rae has been singing professionally now for 12 years.

Throughout her time at Citrus College, Rae met many fellow music students, some of whom became her closest friends. Included in that friendship circle are the owners of Nambah Coffee, Maharasyi Hanza and Tyrone Rudulph, fellow musicians themselves, who both attended Citrus with Rae. 

“So far, everyone who has performed here has been our friends, and this is Sophie’s second time performing here at Nambah,” Rudulph said.

In 2017, Rae released her first EP, “Waiting on a Sign,” and has continued writing songs when she finds time between teaching music at The School of Arts and Enterprise in Pomona and frequent gigs and tours around the world.

“I am a huge fan of old movies, and that is where I gain the most inspiration for my own songs,” Rae said.

At her Nambah performance, Rae sang various well-known indie-style rock songs instead of her original songs. She was accompanied by her band members, Adrian Vega on electric guitar, C.J. Hampton on drums and Julian Cantrell on electric bass. 

“The music I write is much different from my performances, but I enjoy experimenting with different styles and genres of music,” Rae said.

Rae and her band members often took requests from audience members. Her first song, “Don’t Know Why,” by Norah Jones, drew a hefty crowd of people into Nambah, leaving them wanting more.

“She has performed some of my favorite songs tonight, like ‘Valerie,’ by Amy Winehouse, and I have really enjoyed listening to her,” Vera Broussard, a member of the La Verne Symphony Orchestra, said. 

Throughout the nearly three-hour performance, Rae performed a variety of songs, including “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac, “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye and “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green. The lively audience then requested an encore, which consisted of two songs, “Ain’t It Fine” by Paramore,  and “1+1” by Beyoncé, which ended her set. 

After the performance, audience members said they were impressed with Rae and her band and are eagerly awaiting their return to Nambah in the future. 

“She’s a beautiful singer, and I hope to hear her sing again soon,” Joshua Navarro, a La Verne resident, said.

Rae recently returned from her “Disney on Beat” tour in Japan, a jazz concert that featured a 17-member orchestra led by Disney music expert Brad Kelley. The orchestra included Rae and three other singers from Los Angeles, who performed a variety of popular Disney songs, including “In Summer” from “Frozen,” “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from “Mary Poppins,” “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from “Encanto” and “Part of Your World” from “The Little Mermaid.” 

“I plan on going back to Japan sometime next year to go on tour again, but in the meantime, I will continue performing gigs locally,” Rae said. 

Rae’s music can be heard on both Spotify and Apple Music.

Rebecca Keeler can be reached at rebecca.keeler@laverne.edu.

Rebecca Keeler, a freshman communications major with a concentration in public relations and a music minor, is a staff writer for the Campus Times.

Casi Martinez, a senior photography major, is a staff photographer for the Campus Times and photography editor of La Verne Magazine.

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