Sophie Mashlan may be young, but her voice is far beyond her years.

At just 19, she is still a fresh face in the New Zealand folk scene, but has been rapidly gaining attention for her enchanting performances and evocative songs.

Primarily taking influence from the folk genre, she is forging her own sound, with a mixture of elements from pop, country and alternative.

She has earned support slots with the likes of renowned Californian musician Donavon Frankenreiter on his New Zealand tour; Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joyand Berlin-based NZ artist Graham Candy.

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And now, after spending the better part of the last two years establishing herself as a singer-songwriter, she is poised to release her debut album, Perfect Disaster, on April 23.

The album was recorded in Lyttelton with the legendary Ben Edwards, who has worked with the likes of Marlon Williams, Aldous Harding, Nadia Reid, Delaney Davidson and Tami Neilson. No small feat for a young artist.

"I write all my songs by myself and I am very reluctant to let other people in to my art," Mashlan said.

"But with Ben, he got my vision straight away and it was really exciting, because I was worried that I was going to go into a situation where someone was going to try and change the sound that I had in mind."

Mashlan says the recording process to about 30 days, but her songs stem back to when she was as young as 15 - Flower in the Sea.

"I do really base all of my music on feelings and experiences, so I just write them when I'm in the heat of whatever's happening. If someone's screwed me over, then it's got to be right then that I write the song."

Her music is a documentation of her life at a particular point.

"I love to create and I love to connect with people, and I hope that people can get to know me through the album."

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Speaking on the phone, from her hometown of Auckland, her bubbly personality shines through. But it is her unique accent which is surprising. The teen spent the best part of her childhood years in Canada.

Mashlan has always had a love for music.

"I've had a really strong connection to it, ever since I was a really little kid. I feel most like myself when I listen to music."

It wasn't until she was 9 that she started to create music with an acoustic guitar.

She hopes to convey that feeling to her audience in Napier.

"My performances are very emotional. I talk a lot about my music and my life so it is a bit of a Ted talk as well. I like to make the concerts really interactive, I always stay around and talk to people afterwards and I just like to have that connection where I can really appreciate the people who are taking the time to come and see me."

She is currently in her final year of song-writing at the University of Auckland.

After her national tour, she hopes to perform in Australia later this year.

"It is just about starting to expand my music, reach a new audience and try some new things. I have already started writing a couple of songs."

Sophie Mashlaan will open for the Julia Deans Show, on the Paisley Stage in Napier, on Thursday, May 9.
To purchase tickets, visit: www.undertheradar.co.nz