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.
Leigh made her country catapult on Zac Brown’s Southern Ground Records in 2011 with major debut record 1978 December. Her single “My Name Is Money” landed #36 on Billboard Hot 100 charts. Zac Brown Band’s Grammy award winning record ‘Uncaged’ features two singles written by Leigh, “Goodbye In Her Eyes” and “Sweet Annie”, both reached #1 on the Billboard Country Airplay charts concurrently.
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.
Follow Sonia @sonialeigh
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Humorous, Sincere, and Giving.
We’re sure you have been asked this a million times but how did you get into the industry?
My father sang wrote and played guitar. I used to watch him like he was the sun when I was a baby, then I started trying to play myself and he taught me chords, I started writing songs as soon as I learned how to play them. Later, I left home and began playing out long story short, I began to build a solid fan base in Atlanta, I met Zac Brown and began doing shows with him. During that time he had his first #1 with “Chicken Fried”. He decided to start a label and I was the first artist he signed. We made a record 1978 December and toured all over the country and my songs were on country radio and it’s kinda been going from there… I am an independent artist now but I write songs for BMG and still touring and releasing music on my own currently.
How has this changed your life?
It is my life it’s what I do for a living and I am so grateful for the opportunity to share my music with the world. I don’t take it for granted. I am very blessed to have the gift of music.
Describe your sound in 3 words.
Versatile, Sincere, Honest.
Who influenced you and why did you choose to make music?
I would have to say Melissa Etheridge was one of my biggest influences as a songwriter, performer, and singer. I didn’t choose to make music, I was born to do it- It chose me.
Do you play any instruments?
I play guitar, piano, bass, and a little drums 🙂
Do you ever get nervous?
I get nervous every show I play and I have always said, when I stop getting nervous that is when I should quit because it probably means I don’t care about my performance anymore lol. I always wanna do my best and give the fans the best concert ever. I want them to leave with the feeling their money was well spent and they left with something powerful in their heart.
Tell us about your new single “Thin Ice”?
‘Thin Ice’ is a hard-hitting anthem fueled with pure rock and roll energy. With nods to the likes of The Killers, Bruce Springsteen, and Joan Jett, its growl calls for burning down the barriers around one’s self to realize full potential. It highlights the feeling of walking a tightrope of self-doubt that can keep you in a self-created prison. ‘Thin Ice’ emulates the courage to step into your power and soar. (Written by: Sonia Leigh/Daphne Willis, produced by: Sonia Leigh, Mitch Dane, Sputnik Sound Studios, mixed by Teddy Morgan, Mastered by: Piper Payne Artwork by Caleb Poer)
What’s the story behind the song?
I was in L.A. for a songwriters retreat for my side project TYGR TYGR with my duo partner Daphne Willis. We were talking about life and I was going through a rough time emotionally, I felt like I couldn’t open up and write. I was frustrated with myself and my life and I wasn’t feeling very inspired. As we kept talking (we are also best friends) I picked up the guitar and started strumming and kinda mumbled the lyrics “And it feels like, I’m walking on a thin line and I’m skating on thin ice” and I felt tears well up inside and I knew the levy was busted. We finished the song that night. It’s about feeling like you just can’t seem to reach the version of yourself you want to be, and how it seems so out of reach. I do battle depression, self-doubt, self-esteem issues, and anxiety, and I was at a point where I just wanted to rip out the “thorn in my side” and free myself from the pressure and kill the voices that tell me that I can’t succeed, don’t deserve love, and that I am not worthy. It’s the tension of something about to break. The moment when you break through all of the darkness, burn down all the cages of your self-made prison, step into your power, and claim your destiny.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
When I know I have written a song that people will relate to. Seeing the fans sing along, and tell me stories of how my music has helped them get through things in their life. I get to leave a mark on their lives and that is a great honor and privilege I take to heart.
What book should every entrepreneur read?
I recently read Charlie Midnight’s book “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it” Five Elements that will help you survive your emotional journey to success. It is brilliant and well-written. I know Charlie and I look up to him a lot, super wonderful man. We are working on a song for the record actually with Buck Johnson.
What would you say are the greatest lessons you learned so far?
After every night there is a bright day. When you think it’s over, it’s just about to begin. You gotta put in the work and music is a business. It takes a lot of dedication to make it happen. No one is going to care about your career more than you. You are better off without a manager than with the wrong manager. Sometimes it’s just not a fit and that is neither person’s fault. Take advice but know your vision. Be true to yourself, blaze a trail, and be different.
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
Don’t let romantic relationships take away from your focus on music lol!
Love yourself more. Believe in yourself. It’s ok to make mistakes. You are beautiful and worthy and deserve to sit at the table.
How would your best friend describe you?
Hopefully, she would say that I am funny, giving, and a loyal friend and that I worry too much. She’s my biggest fan so I am sure she would say I am talented and crazy as they come. 🙂 She would say I am a romantic and always need a lot of love and reassurance.
Photo Credit: Cedrick Jones