When LA-based pop singer-songwriter Anna Marie Scholfield, known by her stage name Skofee (a play on her last name), sat down in her room to create what would become her debut EP Polished (out September 21), she faced an intense creative block. Struggling to write for hours, she kept reaching for her Juul – and suddenly, the first line of the EP’s title track came to her. “I just kind of took a breath and sat back,” she remembers. “I just was so frustrated and also mad at myself for being addicted to nicotine.”
What poured out of her was a song about her shortcomings and the anxiety of wondering how people see her. “If I could be polished/If I didn’t lose shit/If I was more modest/Would you like that?” she asks against deep, loud, infectious guitar riffs by her collaborator Jack Demeo. “My hope with that song is that it hits in a light way and people can relate to it and cut themselves a little bit of slack when it comes to their inner dialogue,” she says.
In the video, Scholfield walks on a treadmill in different rooms of the house, a visual metaphor for the feeling of being stuck in place that motivated the song. Animator Louis Harboe overlaid it with sketches to give it a light, playful feel.
The rest of the EP conjures up ’90s pop, with R&B-inspired beats, catchy choruses, and climactic bridges. On opener “Fantomlimb,” she uses the well-documented phenomena of lingering sensation in amputated limbs as a metaphor to describe how our exes linger with us after breakups. “It’s just about the messy post-relationship stage where you’re maybe still seeing the person but it’s just not what it used to be, and you’re basically dealing with the pain of that while catering to the other person’s needs to make them feel fulfilled in the relationship,” she explains. The song shows off her angelic voice, with breathy high notes filling the chorus.
On “Spiderman,” a collaboration with songwriter Via Savage, she explores another side of breakups, addressing an ex with sensual lyrics and poppy melodies reminiscent of Lana Del Rey: “Do you think about the way my lips move when I say your name and your eyes lit up? Can you live without feeling my breath on the back of your neck when you wake up?”
“Crabapple” uses vocal layering to create an otherworldly effect as she paints scenes of climbing an apple tree, going to outer space, and cutting her own hair. “Bleach,” co-written with Scholfield’s friend McCall Kimball, combines ambient, futuristic-sounding instrumentals and electronic effects with poignant lyrics about witnessing a friend in a toxic relationship. “Bleach my eyes, sing me to sleep/Bleach my mind of all my dreams,” she sings in an eerily lullaby-like tune.
Overall, the EP is about “dysfunction and uncomfortable growth,” she says. “It’s an amalgamation of the last few years of my life.” She cites Lorde and Lennon Stella as influences, but having been in a folk trio in college, her goal with her first EP as a solo artist was to find her own sound. “It was important for me to make sure that what I was putting out was exactly what I wanted to say and exactly what I wanted it to sound like,” she says.
She wrote the songs using her keyboard then worked with two different producers on the album, Devan Welsh and Jamison Baken (known by his producer name Jameson), who is actually Scholfield’s roommate. “All of it was recorded in bedrooms,” she recalls. “We would just run back and forth between [them]. I loved the recording process, and I don’t produce for myself, but I love just being in the room while it’s happening and bouncing ideas back and forth with the different producers.”
She’s been working on a number of songs since, including an ode to a summer fling, recording from a studio she set up on her porch during quarantine. In the near future, she hopes to put out a full-length album. “I would like to have a really connected fan base,” she says. “I just want to keep evolving as a songwriter and as a musician, and I definitely want to be playing guitar on stage at some point.”