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Top 20 Under 40- Sophie Milman

Juno-awarding winning songstress, Sophie Milman, overcame adversary to become one of Canada’s most celebrated musicians

By: Ashley Baylen
Published: February 16th, 2012 in Culture » Music » Interviews
Sophie Milman

Shalom Life is proud to present our 2nd annual ”Top 20 Under 40” list. This list encompasses 20 individuals of diverse occupations and backgrounds from businessmen and businesswomen and innovative entrepreneurs, to philanthropists, entertainers, doctors and more, the list places a spotlight on the myriad of talented, creative and passionate Jews, all under 40, who call Canada home.

Top 20 Under 40- Sophie Milman

Age: 29

Juno-awarding winning songstress, Sophie Milman, overcame adversary to become one of Canada’s most celebrated musicians. With six successful albums under her belt, including the most recent In the Moonlight, Milman’s journey to success is both inspirational and empowering.

Raised in the Ural Mountains of Russia, Milman’s family suffered repression, personal hardship, and lack of freedom. When the family was permitted to leave after the Berlin Wall fell, their Russian citizenship was revoked. The family settled in Israel with almost nothing besides a few dollars, old jazz vinyl records, and some Russian paintings and books.

Milman’s music is inspired by her childhood in both Russia and Israel.

“What are we if not products of our life experiences? The early childhood years in Russia and the many formative years spent in Israel helped shape my consciousness and touched every aspect of my life. The major, international moves made me mature faster, and piqued my interest in other cultures and languages. Israel is where my father first began playing his collection of jazz, R&B, Gospel and Brit-pop LPs for me- the collection that set me on my path; Israel is where I began to learn French and became interested in European jazz and chanson; Israel is also where I was exposed to Middle Eastern music, which has made its way into my sound, albeit ever so slightly. Most importantly, Israel is where I grew up and nothing affects one's take on music more than life- it's really as simple as that,” Milman explains.

Like the children of most immigrants, Milman decided to pursue a “realistic” dream at first, attending university to study commerce.

“As an immigrant kid, I was taught by life that realistic dreams are preferable to far fetched ones. I've always loved music, and was told many times that I had a unique voice. But, for someone new to Canada, without industry connections or family money (in fact for the first few years in Canada, my family and I lived extremely modestly), it didn't even occur to me that a career in music was in the realm of possibility. When I was offered a record deal in the middle my first year at the University of Toronto, I was absolutely shocked, and even though I signed it, the whole thing still felt like a dream.”

Although Milan’s career in music is extremely successful, she still believed it was important to complete her post-secondary education.

“I recently completed my degree and am very happy about that. No plans to work in business in the immediate future because I am totally committed to a career in music. But, I was raised in a family that has always put a tremendous emphasis on education, learning and self improvement.”

Milman might even continue her education with a Masters in either Economics or International Relations.

“I've always been a cerebral, brainy kid, very academically motivated and curious about the world. I still don't rule out the possibility of doing a Masters in one of those fields, or a cross section. I've lived in some of the most interesting and turbulent areas of the world and have always read and felt a great deal. That's bound to stick with me even as I pursue a singing career. In fact, I sincerely hope that the intellectual curiosity, the drive to learn and desire to be a well rounded individual never, ever die out in me.”

To learn more about Sophie Milman or listen to her music, please visit www.sophiemilman.com

Shalom Life is currently searching for the best and brightest Jews under 40 in New York who have gained recognition in business, entertainment, philanthropy, technology and more. Please send suggestions to top20NY@shalomlife.com

Related articles: Sophie Milman, Toronto, Russia, Israel, Jazz, Blues, In the Moonight, Canada, Jewish, Make Someone Happy, Take Love Easy, Live in Montreal
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