Jazz recording artist Sophie Fatu first enjoyed popularity when she auditioned for the 13th season of “America’s Got Talent” (AGT) in 2018. The audience was mesmerized by the then five-year-old little girl who sang the Frank Sinatra classic, “My Way.” She gained the approval of the panel of judges, and moved to the second phase of the competition. However, she failed to pass the next round but viewers loved her, and she became even more famous after her stint with the show.
- 1 Get to know Sophie Fatu‘s personal life
- 2 Her TV guest appearances before she joined AGT
- 3 Sophie’s journey in “AGT”
- 3.1 Sophie’s audition, her rendition of “My Way”
- 3.2 Sophie’s behind-the-scenes moments during the audition
- 3.3 Sophie’s love for Frank Sinatra songs
- 3.4 Her audition video went viral
- 3.5 Her performance in the Judge Cuts round
- 3.6 The judges’ final verdict on her performance
- 3.7 The little girl who never forgot to say thank you
- 4 Sophie’s career after her “AGT” stint
- 5 Where’s Sophie now?
Get to know Sophie Fatu‘s personal life
The adorable little jazz singer was born on 14 November 2012, in Kansas City, Missouri, USA, to Romanian father Christian Fatu, and Russian mother Victoria Martirosyan Fatu. Her father flew to Missouri as he was given a scholarship at Park University International Center for Music, after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Music in Bucharest, Romania. Due to his exemplary skills on the violin, he finished with three graduate degrees. During Christian’s six years at the university, he met Sophie’s mother, a gifted concert pianist. They fell in love and were married. Sophie has an older sister named Vivienne and a younger brother named Mark. In 2013, Victoria was granted her US permanent residency.
Sophie’s family moved to West Virginia when her parents were offered better opportunities with their musical careers. Fans were surprised to learn that her mother filed for divorce in October 2020, and it was finalised in July 2021; no one knew the specifics of what happened, as both of her parents were mum about it. The next thing everyone knew was that Sophie had a new stepfather in Brandon Volz, a fitness expert whom Sophie and her siblings described as an amazing and beautiful person. Based on the videos and photos her mother uploaded onto their social media accounts, they all seemed to enjoy a great relationship.
Her TV guest appearances before she joined AGT
Music has been a huge part of Sophie Gatu’s life since she was a baby, as both of her parents are talented musicians. She inherited her gift of singing from her mother, who wasn’t only a multi-awarded pianist but also a jazz singer. Her mother revealed that Sophie could already sing nursery rhymes complete with lyrics when she was just one year old.
Her first break in the business
Sophie’s uncanny ability to memorize a song after just a couple of hours, as well as sing long notes at a very young age didn’t escape the notice of the people in the TV industry, which led her to be invited onto the popular TV show “Little Big Shots” hosted by Steve Harvey and aired on the NBC network. She sang the classic “My Way” on the show, which impressed the viewers. Steve uploaded her performance video onto his Facebook page, and captioned it with, ‘Believe it or not, my young friend Sophie sings Sinatra like an old pro…’
Melted everyone’s hearts in “ELLEN”
When she was five years old, Sophie was invited to be featured in another popular American daytime TV variety comedy program, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Everyone was amazed at her own version of Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon”, and viewers found her even more adorable when she was asked by Ellen why she preferred to sing Frank’s classics, and she replied, ‘He’s classy and handsome and I’ve been wishing to sing his songs.’ Her guest appearance was a success not only because of her singing, but also because the audience found her quite funny, especially when she said that she had one secret, referring to Frank Sinatra and that other people shouldn’t know anything about it.
That moment when you see Ellen DeGeneres in front of you and running to hug HER 😍😍😍Dresses for Sophie’s tour and appearances provided by Ju Petitpop
Sophie’s journey in “AGT”
Competing in a popular TV show was often likened to a double-edged sword. If you won the top prize or just made it to the final rounds, it was considered a great start in pursuing a successful career in entertainment. However, failing to get a pass from the judges would mean opening oneself to the possibility of suffering public degradation. Here are some of Sophie’s extraordinary moments in the show:
Sophie’s audition, her rendition of “My Way”
Sophie appeared in week three of the audition rounds of the 13th season of “America’s Got Talent”, aired on NBC. She was the first from the 2022 batch to take the stage, to the delight of the audience. Sophie was a natural on stage, and when she noticed the audience, she exclaimed to the judges, ‘Oh my God, there’s so many people.’ The little girl was quite cheeky when she told Simon Cowell that he was her favorite judge, and that she dreamed that he pushed the Golden Buzzer for her; Simon told her that she was doing everything right. When she started her performance, everyone was surprised that her song choice was Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” Simon commented that most people who sang that song were around 90 years old, as they lamented about what had happened in their lives, but she was just five and thought that it was hilarious. He told her, ‘You are happiness in a bottle, young lady.’ She dazzled the audience and the judges with her timing, pitch, rhyme and stage presence. It wasn’t a huge surprise that she was given a standing ovation, and passed the round with “yes” from the panel of four judges.
Sophie’s behind-the-scenes moments during the audition
It was Victoria, Sophie’s mother, who accompanied her to the audition round. It seemed that the little girl wasn’t perturbed at all when she entered the backstage, filled with many people doing their own thing. Some participants were preparing for their performances, someone was on a megaphone dishing out instructions, and some of the staff of the show were going around doing their errands. One could easily tell that Sophie was different from other girls her age, because she took everything in her stride, and was comfortable with the sea of people around her. It might be a competition, but Sophie wasn’t pressured by it, as she played in the background while waiting for her turn.
It was obvious that she loved to communicate, and was quite candid in answering questions from the staff. She said, ‘I can bake sweets or make treats,’ but admitted that she couldn’t prepare breakfast yet. Sophie was into fashion and loved dressing up; she even wore her favorite shoes during the audition. She also said that if she was a fairy tale princess, then her mother was a magic fairy.
Sophie’s love for Frank Sinatra songs
Each time someone asked Sophie why she preferred to sing Frank Sinatra songs, she would give her standard answer, which was ‘because he was classy and handsome’; people were shocked that she knew the iconic singer at all. Her mother confessed that she used to play many Frank Sinatra songs in the house, and it was probably the reason the little girl fell in love with his voice. Victoria remembered that when Sophie was three years old, the latter commented, ‘Oh, that’s real music,’ after listening to Frank.
While Sophie didn’t get past the Judge Cuts round, her audition video went viral. People were astonished that she could literally sing the lyrics with the right pitch, and even memorize the whole song. Most kids her age were still in the “Baby Shark” phase, or Disney cartoon soundtracks.
Her performance of “My Way” became a trending video on YouTube in 2018, and by December 2022, had garnered a total of close to 50 million views. It also had more than 11,000 comments, most predicting that Sophie would be a future superstar, because she didn’t only have the talent, but the right personality as well.
TONIGHT is finally the night! Catch Sophie on the #AGT TONIGHT at 8/7c on @nbc !
We are SO excited to share Sophie’s audition on America’s Got Talent with you all! @AGT tonight at 8/7c on @NBC! pic.twitter.com/dVVeqsa41T
— Sophie Fatu (@SophieFatu) June 12, 2018
Her performance in the Judge Cuts round
Given that she was a self-confessed Frank Sinatra fan, viewers as well as the judges weren’t surprised that she chose the iconic song, “New York, New York,” for the Judge Cuts round; that night, the guest judge was American actress and model Olivia Munn. Before she performed, Simon announced that Sophie was officially the youngest AGT contestant. It was evident on everyone’s faces that they were excited to hear her sing.
After her performance, Simon told her that he couldn’t believe that it was her singing that song. It was because, at her age, she shouldn’t have even remembered the words much less sing it with all the key changes and everything. Mel B even found it strange and amazing that little Sophie had a strong vibrato, that came out whenever she sang the long notes.
The judges’ final verdict on her performance
After a long deliberation over the 18 people who performed that day, Sophie failed to make it to the next round. A teary-eyed little girl bravely stood with her mother along with two other acts on stage, as they listened to the judge’s verdict. No one knew if she ugly cried except for the people there on stage, and no one would have blamed her, but it was considerate of the TV show not to show anything that could further bring embarrassment to the child for the whole world to see. Some fans commented that it was heartbreaking to see her disappointment especially when she mentioned before she stepped on the stage that it was her dream to be there at “America’s Got Talent.”
The little girl who never forgot to say thank you
One of the many things that touched the hearts of many viewers was that Sophie never forgot to express her gratitude when she received compliments, or anything that she perceived as positive comments; she was confident, but never to the point of being boastful. Her positive aura brought so much joy to the people she encountered, even backstage. When she was asked what she would do if she won the grand prize, which was a million dollars, she said she didn’t care about the money, because she just wanted to sing to make everybody happy.
Sophie’s career after her “AGT” stint
While Sophie’s journey in the talent show was cut short, it didn’t mean that she stopped following her dreams of performing for a lot of people. She was one of those lucky individuals whose star continued to shine, after getting positive reviews from so many viewers.
A huge show in Chicago in 2018
It didn’t take long for Sophie to be on stage again after she participated in “AGT”, as she benefited considerably from the exposure she had from it. In August 2018, she had a show at the annual Chicago event known as “Little Italy Festa”; she was part of the entertainers invited to perform on the main stage. She prepared 12 songs for it, and confidently said that she could handle her repertoire easily.
The day was quite special for the little girl as she was invited to share the stage with Sal Valentinetti, who had his own show two hours after Sophie’s. He was the fifth placer from the 11th season of “AGT,” and Sophie’s mom revealed that her daughter had a crush on him. Apparently, she loved Sal’s rendition of “My Way” on the talent show, and was one of her inspirations for singing the same song during her audition.
On stage with crooner Sal Valentinetti in Los Angeles and New York
Sophie had great chemistry with Sal Valentinetti, and she featured in one of his New York Christmas concerts – the audience loved her as she sang classic Christmas songs with Sal. They shared the stage again in a jazz concert in L.A. with Dave Damiani’s No Vacancy Orchestra. Both shows happened in 2019, doing these live shows in between acting projects, along with her modeling stints with clothing brands.
A cameo role on Will & Grace in April 2020
Fans of Sophie were quite surprised when they saw her make a cameo appearance in the penultimate episode of the 11th and final season of the popular comedy TV sitcom “Will & Grace.” While she didn’t have any speaking lines, as she appeared just before the closing credits were shown, it brought joy to her fans. In the episode entitled “New Crib,” both the main stars of the show had just found a new house that they wanted to live in together, and Will stared at the carpet in front of the fireplace and imagined their children. Sophie played Will’s daughter, and was shown reading a book alongside Grace’s son.
Her guest appearance on the show was a secret, so as not to divulge any spoilers, and the fans remembered that in January 2020, her mom dropped a hint through a vlog that her daughter was about to film a TV show which had been on the air for the last 20 years. Sophie was excited when she realized back then that she would be filming in the same studio building where she filmed “AGT.”
Signed up with Extraordinary Artists
Her mother, Victoria, was under the management of the company Extraordinary Artists, and Sophie also became part of the team. The Founder and President of the company, Greg Curtis, said that he and his wife were amazed by the then five-year-old Sophie when they watched her sing in “AGT.” Little Sophie impressed Greg even more when they met in person, as he saw how passionate and dedicated she was to improve her craft. It helped a lot that she had a great vocal teacher in her mother.
Released her first album
At age seven, Sophie released her first album entitled “Love Is…”, recorded at the historic Studio A in Capital Records in L.A. The 1,500-square-foot recording space was christened by the iconic Frank Sinatra, as he was the very first artist to record in the studio back in 1956; it made Sophie happy knowing that somehow she shared the same space with him. The album consisted of her version of some of the most classic songs ever produced, including “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head,” “Goody Goody,” “(Love Is) The Tender Trap,” and “All The Way.” Greg Curtis was the executive producer, and her mother was credited as co-producer. Her father, Christian, was part of the band, and played violin during the recording.
Played a significant role in a Hollywood movie
Sophie was getting more invitations to do both TV and movie projects; one of them was a comedy-thriller entitled “Last Looks”, the American-British film released in February 2021, directed by Tim Kirby. She played Gaby Pinch, the daughter of Alastair Pinch portrayed by Mel Gibson, who was charged with murdering his wife. He would be helped by a retired and reluctant private eye, Christian Waldo, played by Charlie Hunnam, to investigate the case.
Where’s Sophie now?
There was a bit of controversy about her mother, as some people didn’t appreciate Victoria as her “Mom’ager”; some felt that she was using her daughter to further her own singing career. It didn’t help that their family underwent some personal struggles due to the divorce. As a result, she reduced vlogging about herself, and focused more on her daughter’s activities. In 2022, Sophie received more offers not only in singing but also in acting, and had a part in several TV shows including “Chip n Dale: Rescue Rangers,” “Sesame Street,” “Hacks,” and “Dancing with the Stars.” Her mother said to expect more of Sophie this coming 2023.