Interview with Sonia Leigh

Written by Divine Magazine

Sonia Leigh’s musical style cannot be put in a box.  From Hip-Hop to Country to Pop and Rock and Roll, Sonia’s meticulously crafted lyrics tell stories that transcend genre and leave the listener feeling engaged and empowered. Sonia’s dedication to her fans is unprecedented and she has built a loyal fan base that keeps her on the road when she is not in the studio.

Musical fluidity has always been a catalyst for Sonia’s creativity. ‘Mad Hatter’her 2018 full length release debuts her co-production/engineering skills and laces her versatility with an easy flow. Sonia’s 2020 rerelease of her song “1978 December” (produced by Roger Taylor, drummer for the legendary band Queen) highlights her piano and prolific songwriting skills. Previous 2020 releases “King Without a Kingdom” and “Give You Love” – dive deeper into her grunge-rock and pop influences.

As well as writing #1 hit songs, Leigh has songs featured in hit television shows (‘The Good Wife’’), movies (“Queen Pins”), and video games (‘The Sims’), and has rapidly gained a name for herself in the sync world, signing a deal with David Polemi (BMG) in 2019.

Sonia Leigh has toured the world with the likes of Eric ChurchMelissa EtheridgeAmos LeeZac Brown BandBones UKWillie NelsonLoretta Lynn, and Joan Jett. Leigh’s energetic performance is packed with magnetic conviction that can hush a room and shake the walls with her raw, raspy delivery, squeezing every drop out of the stage and leaving the crowd shouting for more.

Photo Credit: Cedrick Jones

Thank you so much for having me as a featured artist I am so honored and excited to be a part of your publication. 

Where was your current project recorded? 

“Thin Ice” was recorded at Sputnik Sound Studios in Nashville, Tn. Produced by Mitch Dane, Teddy Morgan, and myself. 

Was anyone else involved in writing, recording, or producing the songs?

I owe credit to so many wonderful talented folks for making this song possible!  “Thin Ice” came about one evening in L.A. I was with one of my songwriting partners and best friends Daphne Willis. We were out in L.A. working on our E.P. for our duo project TYGR TYGR. I had been feeling discouraged and the inspiration wasn’t there for me. I felt blocked. We were discussing life and our careers and I was damn near in tears and picked up the guitar and just was strumming on the guitar and I just kinda hummed “and it feels like I’m walking on a thin line and I’m skating on thin ice…” and I knew I’d just broken the seal. It was how I was feeling, the frustration and tension of being on the verge of falling in. How it feels to be shadowed by your weaknesses, insecurities, and demons. Wanting to face your self doubt and kill it and believe in your power again. I just kinda kept mumbling lyrics and they started pouring out. We finished that song that night and I knew I wanted it to be the backbone for the sound of my next record.

 Jacob Thomas Jr.-bass guitar: (bass player for Goodbye June/recording artist) Jacob has been playing keys/bass in my band for over 10 years now. He’s like a brother to me. He knows me and my music so well that he often knows what I am looking for musically from the band. I love his meticulous approach to the bass and keys. He often offers great input for arrangements and different approaches to the music. I would consider him similar to a band leader in rehearsals and in the studio. He’s also the funniest person I have ever met. So he’s usually on my recordings. He’s an important part of my music journey.

Dillon Napier-Drums: ( Margo Price band) I brought in Dillon for drums because he can hit like Dave Grohl and somehow still has a laid back dynamic like Charlie Watts. He’s drummed for me on tours in the past and just nails it. I love to watch him play. He is versatile and just effortlessly a rock star drummer. He’s one of my favorite drummers, a pro, great dude, and a super fun hang.

Jackson Price-lead guitar:-I brought in Jackson because he has a kick ass afro. Just kidding! Jackson has been playing with me for the past 3 years. The first time I got to play “Thin Ice” with a band Jackson was there so he helped shape the guitar hooks with me and always creates some killer unique supporting melodies rhythmically. He is a great hang and wonderful friend. He’s becoming a well sought out guitarist in Nashville. He’s also a killer songwriter and singer. He’s fam.

Koli on the keys (recording artist) She’s been playing live in my band the past two years and this is her favorite jam. I knew her love for the song would show up in her playing and add to the nostalgia of the song. Her energy is always encouraging to be around. I knew it would transcend into the music. She’s a solid gold person, an incredible singer/songwriter/recording artist. I was super thrilled to have her bring her vibes and piano playing to the studio.

Mitch Dane and Teddy Morgan put a little synth magic on it during overdubs and I also did some guitar overdubs with Teddy (who mixed the song). He helped me get it to that AC/DC big energy I felt it was missing. He plugged me in and we cranked the amp up as loud as it would go and I laid some big guitars down to make it go boom! It was super fun to make this music with my music family. 

Then I sent the track to Piper Payne at Infrasonic Sound for masters. I always use Piper because to me she’s the best. She is a genius in all things recording. We went back and forth a couple of times to get it to the place I needed it to be and that’s what I love about working with Piper, she is always timely and happy to work hard to get the music to how I want it to sound. I recommend her to anyone. 

If you could go open a show for any artist who would it be? 

The Killers. I am absolutely one of their biggest fans. I think hopefully their fans would like my music. 

What would you be doing right now if it weren’t for your music career? 

I would like to one day get into making movies. documentaries, tv shows. cartoons and I would try my hand at stand up comedy/sketch comedy 🙂 

Photo Credit: Cedrick Jones

If we were to look at the artists you are listening to, who would be on your playlist?

At the moment, TYGR TYGR, The Indica Girlz, THE KILLERS, DERMOT KENNEDY, 2 PAC, 21 PILOTS, MAGGIE ROGERS, BONES UK, NIRVANA, Teskey Brothers, Maggie Miles, Miley Cyrus, The Wheeler Boys, LEAH BLEVINS, PAUL MCDONALD, Sam Fender, Sharon Van Etten, Bruce Springsteen, Koli, Tayler Buono, MUNI-LONG, Morgan Wade, Joan Jett, Stevie Nicks, Big Thief, Ruston Kelly… so many I skip around genres a lot. 

Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life? 

Miley Cyrus, she’s such a bad ass and I’d get to meet her and she’d kill it!

As a kid were you ever frightened of a monster under the bed or in the cupboard? 

I saw the Exorcist scene where she was spinning her head around by accident when I was six and it haunted me for the rest of my life! I used to be afraid of walking into a room with a bed in it and seeing her sitting up spinning her head around throwing up everywhere lol! Gross. And terrifying. 

Which are cooler? Dinosaurs or Dragons?


Do you have any lucky items, objects, or traditions? 

I have a necklace that I bought at the airport in Barbados after a writers retreat for BMI 10 years ago and I have somehow managed to keep it around my neck this long. I cherish it. 

What’s your favorite children’s story? 

I have always loved the story of the Ugly Duckling. 

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© 2023, Divine Magazine. All rights reserved.

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