Sonia Leigh is a name you will soon know I think because she transcends genre; she is country, she is rock, but in the most individual way that truly inspires. I had the great opportunity to chat with about her album and what’s coming up for her. So, if she is coming to your area, she is one not to be missed!
Did you feel drawn to country music from the start, being born in the South?
I was kind of thrown in the river of country music from the time I was born. I was raised on country. My dad was always writing country songs, playing guitar and singing in country bands. His side of the family are all Musical. My grandfather Roy played guitar, my great uncle Morgan writes gospel country songs and plays mado/fiddle, my uncle Randy plays drums, my grandmother loves to sing as well as my sister Brandy. On holidays we would always end up breaking out the instruments and playing music. I was raised in Pentecostal Church. Lots of live music and singing being played in church. I think I inherited lot of my spunk and fire from church. My grandfather sounded exactly like Hank Williams. He actually wrote the song “Wedding Bells” and sent it to Hank and he recorded it. He was never credited unfortunately. Back in those days publishing was not very well accounted for.
How do you find the country music scene now, as it is so varied, is it conducive for more interpretations of what country music consists of?
I think music is cross pollinating and country music is mutating into sub genres like we have seen other genres do in the past. I think we are moving towards a universal music world where everyone is beginning to appreciate something in each genre and you see a lot of people working together from different musical houses. There is still the more traditional sound which I think is important as well. Newer Artists like Jon Pardi, Scotty McCreery, Hannah Dasher, and Ashley Monroe are keeping us reminded of the roots of the country music sound.
This new album is a bit rockier, a bit darker perhaps, how did you find the writing process and recording the album?
I wrote Mad Hatter during a transitional period in my life. I co-wrote this record with some wonderful writers and began producing most of the tracks in my bedroom. I then took these tracks to my co producers. Frank Romano, Mitch Dane, Mikal Blue, Micah Wilshire and we began working together to tweak them and bring them to the next level. I even got to with work hip hop producers Jazz Feezy and Scena who worked with some of my favourite hip hop artists.
I definitely had the lucky stars shining on me to line up all these relationships. It’s my first release showcasing my new step in co-engineering and producing but I think that element keeps this record with a common thread that is my new sound.
‘Jack is Back’ is a great track, my favourite I think, can you tell me the background of it and how it came about?
Thank you very much! I’m proud of JIB.
The night I started writing JIB, I was on my front porch, literally with a bottle of Jack. I’d walked outside to look at the moon as I often do. I wrote the first verse and chorus standing there looking at the moon, sipping out of that bottle. I didn’t even have a guitar in my hand. I walked back inside picked up my guitar and played it straight away. It was meant to be a traditional ballad. Later I paired up with Anthony Olympia and we thought it would fit very well with this kind of haunting up beat, bad ass track. It felt right. However, on my UK tour I will be performing it for the first time in its original version with the Healers.
How do you find UK country audiences response compared to country music audiences back home?
Honestly, I don’t really see that much of a difference. I am experiencing so much die-hard support here in the UK it’s so humbling. I am seeing the same unconditional support here in the UK as I do from my fans in America. True music lovers who understand, appreciate, and love that I am not a one-dimensional artist.
You have 2 tours coming up, back to back, are there any shows you are particularly looking for to?
I am excited about them all! I’ve got Katy Hurt and the Healers backing me up on these tours and we are having a blast and really connecting musically. I’m excited to get out there deeper into England, meet everyone, and perform outside of London in the places I don’t normally get to make my way to.
What’s coming up next year for you?
2018 is gonna be great! I’ll release my new record Mad Hatter and my side project Rob The Man will be in full swing.
I’m excited to return to Dean Dillon’s Mountain High Music Festival in Crested Butte Colorado in January. If you don’t know who Dean Dillon is look him up! He’s had countless country hits with artist like George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Vern Godsden, etc… He wrote one for Chris Stapleton I am sure you know a song called “Tennessee Whiskey”. His festival raises thousands of dollars each year for cancer research. He’s my favorite songwriter who happens to be one of my best friends and my mentor. I encourage anyone from UK who wants to get to US to look into going to Mountain High. Next I’ll head to my favorite stomping ground Eddies Attic in Atlanta,Ga. and have a reunion show and release party! Also, I am on the moon about returning to the Melissa Etheridge cruise in March! Sarah MclaChlan will be special guest on this cruise along with my homies Shelly Fairchild and Priscilla Renea. So, it’s gonna be a party for sure!! I Hope to be back in the UK for C2C this year!