Years ago, Sonia Schmidt — who you may know better as Ohsergio — had given up her musical aspirations and was buckling down for a career in law. Everything was going well — except that her heart obviously wasn’t in it.
“I went to law school in my native Switzerland, finished with my Masters, and worked in a courthouse for a couple of years. And then the next step would have been for me to pass the bar,” she says. “And I was literally sabotaging myself going to interviews.”
Even her boss could see that she didn’t want to be a lawyer. After taking a UCLA Extension course, he suggested she take one, too — but not in law.
“He was like, ‘You should definitely look into this. They have music programs, they have music business programs,'” she recalls. “So when I was asking him about hooking me up with internships and stuff, and different law firms in my hometown, he was like, ‘No, I’m not doing this. You need to work in music.'”
She listened. Schmidt relocated to Los Angeles, then New York, where she records her own assured, boundary-breaking folk music under the Ohsergio moniker. Her songs caught the attention of director Courtney Hope Thérond, who enlisted her talents in her feature film A Time Apart.
Listen to Ohsergio’s Narcisse From A Time Apart
Schmidt’s haunting “Narcisse” graces the film, and you can let it haunt you for a while by listening here:
The title refers, of course, to Narcissus, the beautiful boy of Greek mythology who stares at his own reflection in the water. The way the song came together offers a deep well of insight into Schmidt’s very cinematic creative process: She took inspiration from the myth itself.
“I really wanted it to sound like water,” she says. “But I didn’t want it to be too literal, as in, like, ‘I’m just gonna record a stream somewhere and put it in.’ So I had to create those sounds that just kind of felt like water. And there is actually some rain and some storm and some different actual water elements, but I had to chop them up and reverse them.
“I really want the feeling of the song to transpire into the production of it. So everything is very eerie. The vocals are layered in a way where you can’t really determine which one’s what. And it’s all kind of entangled like someone who would look at themselves in the water and fall into it.”
The song, like most of her songs, originated with voice and guitar. Her hypnotic finger picking on “Narcisse” has the quality of fast-moving water, her voice rising buoyant above it. Like many of her songs, it is both immediately inviting and intriguingly experimental, inviting interpretation as deeply felt as the craft that went into creating it.
“I’m just now starting to explore a different way of doing music, where I start with some more production elements and then build the song from there. But I think at the start, it was just so daunting to me that I started with the the lyrics and music first, and then added some other stuff in it.”
Schmidt is very open to the idea of collaborating with other filmmakers, so if you’re interested, you can contact her through her website, Ohsergio.com, where you can also enjoy more of her songs. (“Hunter” is a personal favorite, and seems to call out to be used in a film.)
While searching, creative and inspired in her own music, she’s also shrewd about the business side of things: After studying the music business at UCLA, she also works as a road manager for other artists. When she spoke with MovieMaker, she was about to start traveling the country on one of her clients’ tours.
A Time Apart, meanwhile, is coming soon from Therond, and tells the story of a woman named Alyssa (Lana Boy) who has been separated by her husband Luka (Emmanuel Bethelot) by both COVID and her flourishing career. She plans to finalize their divorce, but begins to question her decision, and whether she should return to the “little life” she left behind. We proudly support the film through MovieMaker Production Services.
Therond is an award-winning filmmaker whose work also includes “Give It to Me,” coming soon to the Atlanta Film Festival, and “Rehearsal,” a Vimeo Staff Pick. Her films have played at festivals including BFI London, New Orleans, Outfest and Nashville.
You can watch the trailer for A Time Apart here:
Main image: Sonia Schmidt, aka Ohsergio.