Premiere: London’s Sonia Stein Blurs Intimate Lines with Majestic “Passerby”

Sonia Stein "Passerby" still 5
London-based singer/songwriter Sonia Stein reckons with intimacy and privacy in her new music video “Passerby,” an inherently vulnerable ‘hidden in plain sight’ exploration of the artist’s own personal experience.
Stream: “Passerby” – Sonia Stein




How much of ourselves do we reveal on a daily basis? When we too often fail at being completely honest with ourselves or our loved ones, what charge must we give artists who share their innermost feelings with fans and outlets like this one on a daily basis? Artistry is, in so many of its forms, a practice in vulnerability and truth. It is in the artist’s power to determine how much of themselves they reveal, and so often we as consumers expect them to give us their full selves – whether that’s in a performance, an interview, song lyrics, and so on. London-based singer/songwriter Sonia Stein reckons with intimacy and privacy in her new music video “Passerby,” an inherently vulnerable ‘hidden in plain sight’ exploration of the artist’s own personal experience.

See Me Now EP - Sonia Stein

‘See Me Now’ EP – Sonia Stein

Jealousy isn’t pretty on me
I watch them succeed and I wish it was me
Years gone by and I’m still singing these songs
But there’s a dichotomy
that keeps bringing me down, down
Watch me but don’t look right at me
From the corner of your eye
I don’t know why, don’t want to ask you for it
Love me as a passerby
(See me now, see me now)
I don’t know why, don’t want to ask you for it
Love me as a passerby

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the music video for “Passerby,” taken from Sonia Stein’s recently-released third EP See Me Now (January 2020 via Marathon Artists). A London-based pop singer/songwriter who just got off a World Tour with DIDO, Stein has been actively setting the world on fire since she introduced her music over six years ago. 2014’s Symbol EP offered visceral insight into an artist exploring not only herself, but also the limits of sound and space; these explorations continue into the present, where songs like the catchy “Coexist” and the propulsive, flowing “London Used to Feel so Cool” blur genre and familiar timbres while propelling an exciting air of pop majesty.

Sonia Stein © Marieke Macklon

Sonia Stein © Marieke Macklon



In this mix comes “Passerby,” a heavily ambient, softly soothing song in which Stein spills her soul in a state of wondering aloud. “’Passerby’ is about the dichotomy between wanting to be seen and wanting to hide as an artist,” Stein explains. “The constant clash between introvert and extrovert and the way that it holds me back. It’s about wanting to be appreciated, without having to ask for attention (love me as a passerby).”

Bitter me placing blame endlessly
I wonder if I even wanna be seen
Years gone by and I’m still rolling along
But this damn dichotomy keeps bringing me down, down
I’ll hide here in plain sight, a rabbit in headlights
So watch me but don’t look right at me
From the corner of your eye
I don’t know why, don’t want to ask you for it
Love me (As a passerby)
(See me now) Watch me but don’t look right at me
(See me now) From the corner of your eye
I don’t know why, don’t want to ask you for it
Love me (As a passerby)

A minimalist video presenting Stein against a rather blank canvas, the “Passerby” video frames Stein’s narrative as one in which she is both the creator and the packaged product: Wrapped in plastic, hidden behind flowers, magnified by bits of glass, Stein cedes control in a humble acknowledgement of her own audience. This act is tremendously moving to those who have experienced the friction between creator and promotor; the very act of creation is often a very personal one that can feel contradictory to the whims of social media promotion.

Sonia Stein "Passerby"

Sonia Stein “Passerby” still



Stein explains, “We wanted the video for ‘Passerby’ to feel like a series of moving photographs in which my face in some way is distorted, obstructed or reflected in certain objects both natural and not, to portray the idea of “hiding in plain sight” and the idea of wanting to be seen, but having a skewed perception of who I am.”

“Passerby” is intimate and poignant – a sweetly moving tale of inner struggle that so often goes untold.

As the song and music video progress, it grows in emotional and sonic strength, ultimately subsiding to a state of learned tension. There is no perfect balance to the dissonance in Stein’s soul; rather, she will continue to work through these divergent aspects of her music career, likely for her whole life.

How can I be so afraid?
I would prefer if you all looked away
But don’t forget that I’m here,
why don’t you see me now?

I’ll hide here in plain sight, a rabbit in headlights
I’ll hide here in plain sight, a rabbit in headlights




A bright highlight off See Me Now, “Passerby” offers intimate insight into the artist’s own mindset – musically, emotionally, and spiritually.

It’s a song exploring promotion and self-expression; an intensely personal unveiling full of confidence and doubt. It’s heartfelt and touching, with muted instruments offering a platform for Stein’s celestial, hauntingly beautiful voice to shine – and shine, she does.

Stream the music video exclusively on Atwood Magazine, and dive deeper into Sonia Stein’s new EP, out now!

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Stream: “Passerby” – Sonia Stein



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Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com