Heralding from one of Britain’s top jazz families with brothers Tom and Phil Bancroft , Sophie is also involved with singer-songwriters from the indie world, folk musicians and hardcore traditional musicians, all of whom influence her writing and performance. Absorbing these disparate styles, her writing and live performance have developed into a particularly natural sound, sitting together beautifully as a whole without needing to pull apart the different influences, thus allowing the listener to just get on and listen! Her music, though not deliberately complex harmonically, has a refreshing richness and depth.
In the early part of her career she performed as a jazz vocalist around Britain and Europe at major jazz festivals and clubs, and on regular broadcasts for BBC Radio 2 and Radio Scotland. She then moved south to take up post as Britain’s first Jazz Education Development Officer, during which time she honed her skills as a songwriter and a music educator. Following her return back to Scotland in 1993, Sophie has gone on to have a highly successful career as a singer-songwriter performing, broadcasting and recording her own compositions with a unique blend of jazz, folk, country and pop influences.
Forays in to the world of electronic music have led to her songs being used on US hit TV shows such as ‘Six Feet Under’, several reaching top 10 slots in various dance charts as well as a performance at the esteemed South By Southwest Music Festival 2001 in Texas, whilst her acoustic songs are being recorded and performed by various artistes throughout Europe. A publishing deal with Bug Music in Los Angeles and various song representation contracts with other labels and music libraries in the USA have followed.
Sophie has released 5 albums to critical acclaim on her own label, LisaLeo Records. Described as gorgeous acoustic music, her new CD ‘Bird of Paradise’, released in October 2010 has been written over the last few years. Featuring songs that look at life’s cameos from a feminine perspective, Sophie’s writing is now reflecting a more settled period in her life where she is experiencing her children growing up, her relationships becoming more long-term and having to scroll further down the drop-down menus to find her year of birth online. Several of the songs have been co-written with lyricist Dave Gill and poet Gaia Holmes as well as the song ‘Caroline’ co-written and recorded with renowned singer-songwriter Boo Hewerdine , writer of hits such as Eddie Reader’s ‘Patience Of Angels’. Recorded with a sonic rawness and honesty, the CD’s listener has a sense of being in the same room as the band. The music is ultimately wrapped in Sophie’s voice, her intimate acoustic guitar, and accompaniment from her band featuring double bassist Tom Lyne , fiddler Amy Geddes and guitarist/percussionist Ross Mitson .
As well as concerts under her own name, Sophie’s performance work also includes gigs with accordionist virtuoso Martin Green’s innovative band The Green Machine, supporting various artists such as Martin Hayes, toured and worked in the compelling duo settings of Sophie Bancroft & Sandy Wright, Sophie Bancroft & Gina Rae and The Two Tall Girls with Canadian cellist, Christine Hanson, to name but a few.
Sophie is one of the most in-demand jazz vocal teachers in Britain, with a very busy private tuition schedule as well as having been or being a regular tutor at the RSAMD, City Of Edinburgh Music School, University of Strathclyde, University of Newcastle and the Mediterranean Jazz School. She also organises vocal jazz workshops around Scotland.