Over the past year and a half of writing for this blog, I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the loveliest and most talented people in this industry, and todays guest is no exception to that! I first met Sonia Leigh at this years Country 2 Country Festival and she was potentially my favourite artist of the pop up stages this year. I then had the chance of watching her perform as part of Tin Pan South Festival in Nashville a few weeks later alongside Travis Meadows and Angaleena Presley, and out of all the songs I heard that week (which was a lot since it was a songwriting festival!) it was one of Sonia’s (When We Are Alone) that was stuck in my head for weeks after I touched back down in England! Having just returned from a trip to Barbados where she had been working with musicians from all around the World, including some from the UK, Sonia took time out to answer some questions for us. I found myself slightly nervous before doing this interview but afterwards I found myself feeling blessed that I get this opportunity to talk to such inspiring people in the Country scene who have such a big influence over here as well as in the States. Read on to find out more about Sonia’s songwriting and her plans for the future.
Can you tell me about your journey so far, from when you decided you wanted to write Country music up until now?
So I was raised around Songwriting, my father wrote songs and things, he was always in his room writing so I used to steal his guitar and try and write songs of my own. Finally he taught me some chords and as soon as I could change chords I started writing. I guess Country music just naturally came to me, as I was raised around it, I was also raised on Rock and Roll, Bruce Springsteen and Fleetwood Mac and so that was bubbling under the surface as well but that’s how Country music started for me.
When you’re writing songs where do you draw inspiration from?
I try to stay true to what’s in my heart, what I’m feeling or going through because that’s a well I can draw from naturally. When you’re co-writing with people you have to step outside of your comfort zone, but what I try to do is relate myself to what we’re trying to say, but it’s mostly all from personal experience.
You’ve written a lot for other artists as well and I just wondered how the writing process changes from writing for others and writing for yourself, or is it pretty much the same?
It’s a bit different because there are some songs that come out that feel too personal for someone else to want to cut. You try to keep the window open though so everyone who’s listening can relate. That’s my process with that, not being too poetic about it, not being overly deep, say it in a way that’s hooky whilst being true to the craft.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever written a song about?
Haha, ok, I had a write here in Nashville once, the girl I was writing with, a dear friend of mine wanted to write a song called the Hokey Pokey, that was the most bizarre song title I’ve ever worked with, it was a bit silly!
What are your mid-gig thoughts?
That’s a really good question, well sometimes I make jokes up in my head and I’m laughing to myself, or a random thought will come into my head. Or have you ever been playing and you accidentally spit on the audience? Yeah I laugh to myself a lot when I’m playing, my mind wanders.
What’s next for you in the near future and the grand master plan?
Oh gosh, well I think the grand master plan for me is to write with as many artists in as many genres, and producers, I want to write with people from all over the World which is already starting to happen which I’m really excited about and just continue to make music that I love. I think the best thing is I feel free to do that as I’m independent so I don’t feel boxed in so I’m enjoying exploring myself as a writer and artist. In the immediate future, I’m coming to England, we’re waiting on confirmation but we’re hopefully playing Pride in the park, I’ll definitely be in Soho for Pride afterparty, Buckle and Boots Festival on the Friday, so I’m really looking forward to coming back to England because that’s my heart and soul, I’ve been there so much and I was supposed to come at the end of May to go to Spain to play L Fest and I couldn’t unfortunately because The Under the Apple Tree Festival I was supposed to play got cancelled so there was a domino effect on the rest of my schedule but I’m looking forward to coming back to England in June, and then playing some more in the States as well and we’re releasing an EP soon.
Sonia has not long since released a single “Spider in the Roses” which I highly recommend you check out, you can buy it on iTunes now and don’t forget to get your tickets for this years Buckle and Boots Festival which Sonia is playing at alongside artists such as Phil Vassar and UK favourites Raintown and Ward Thomas, in fact it boasts a fantastic line up and I’m very excited to attend this year. It takes place on the 24th-26th June.