Sophia Dion returns home for a Deer Valley concert
Singer and songwriter Sophia Dion has a special connection to Park City.
Not only was she raised here, she played her first Deer Valley Amphitheater concert when she was 11.
Three years ago, she played her last Deer Valley concert before moving to Southern
California to attend school.
On Wednesday, July 20, the 16-year-old will return to the Snow Park Amphitheater with a full band.
The music will start at 6 p.m. and Dion is psyched to perform in her old stomping grounds.
“It’s really cool because my dad still lives in Park City and commutes back and forth to and from California,” Dion said during a phone interview with The Park Record. “One day, he texted me and said, ‘You’re booked for a show at Deer Valley on July 20,’ and I freaked out. I was so happy.”
Dion will be accompanied by a group of musicians she met at school. The musicians are drummer Ryan Mangalindan, guitarist/vocalist Nick Estes, keyboardist/guitarist Michael Humphries and bassist Noah Myers.
“I guess we’re called the Sophia Dion Band,” Dion said with a laugh.
Collectively the musicians have played well-known venues such as the iconic 3rd and Linsley in Nashville, the House of Blues in Los Angeles, Disneyland, The Coach House in Orange County, the Honda Center in Southern California and the Sundance Film Festival, according to Dion’s mother Pam.
“[They have also played] many non-profit events to help support Blue Star Connection, a non-profit to help give kids in hospitals the gift of music,” Pam Dion said.
One of Sophia Dion’s more recent highlights was performing at a Prince tribute.
“I played with all of these musicians who have played with Prince and it was awesome,” she said. “I sang ‘Manic Monday,’ the song Prince wrote for the Bangles, and I also sang ‘Purple Rain.’ I was the youngest artist there and it was awesome dedicating those songs to him.”
For the upcoming Deer Valley show, Dion’s longtime friend Alex Renola, who still lives in Park City, will join the band.
“Alex will sing backup vocals on some of the songs,” Dion said.
The concert will feature a mix of old and new songs.
“I will play some songs that I have always played since I was younger,” Dion said. “I will play some new originals that I haven’t released yet, including one that I just wrote the other day, and I’m planning to play some covers that people know and will be able to dance to as well.”
Unbeknownst to Dion, her parents have arranged for her debut CD, “Run Child Run,” to be available for purchase at the Wednesday concert.
“Park City is still her home and she comes home for holidays and to spend time with friends and adjust her retainers,” Pam Dion said. “So, it means something to her to be able to come home to play a concert.”
Living in Southern California has helped the younger Dion with her songwriting.
“I’m able to work more in L.A. doing my own stuff,” she said. “I have been able to work with musicians my own age and collaborate with other people songwriting, co-writing and producing my own stuff.”
Dion has learned a lot by working with likeminded and talented songwriters and producers.
“It all has helped me see what they really do and how I can use their processes to better my songwriting skills,” she said.
There’s also the fact that Dion’s songs have matured because she has gotten older.
“It’s a little easier for me because I have more content to write about,” she said. “I find myself taking more chances in the songs. I put more personal experiences in the lyrics that I wouldn’t have put in a couple of years ago because I was too afraid to.”
There have been times when her cowriters have warned her about getting too personal.
“They rein me in,” Dion said, laughing.
After the Deer Valley concert, Dion will concentrate on some new songs.
“Right now, I’m trying to develop my sound and writing more to build my catalog of songs so people will have the chance to hear my music,” she said.
Mountain Town Music’s Grand Valley Bank Community Concert Series will present the Sophia Dion Band, at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Amphitheater on Wednesday, July 20, at 6 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit http://www.parkcitylivemusic.com. For more information about Sophia Dion, visit
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