On birthdays, ballads and “Don’t Stop Believing”.
If you think back to what you were doing when you were 18, it’s probably a blur of having one too many Jägerbombs in that club that always plays Sean Paul and getting way too invested in what’s going on in Hollyoaks. Just us? Well, chances are you probably weren’t celebrating your eighteenth year by releasing a debut EP having gained over 200k streams on Spotify. That is, unless you’re Sonny.
Gigging since the age of 14, the South Shields native has been honing his craft after being influenced to pick up the guitar by his mum’s love of soul and dad’s passion for folk and country. Four years later, he has mastered the skill and created his own unique sound, blending elements of indie, R&B, folk and soul to create something extremely special.
Sonny has now released his debut EP, “Hopeless Romance”, which includes the critically acclaimed tracks “Princess” and “Since We’ve Begun”, and it’s bloody amazing. Mixing soulful retro sounds with modern pop hooks, the EP shows Sonny’s incredible songwriting skills and effortlessly charming vocals. One of those artists with the Michael Bublé factor – i.e. an artist which you, your mum and your grandma all immediately fall in love with – Sonny is definitely one to watch for this year.
We sat down with the South Shields soul singer to find out all about him.
What music did you listen to growing up?
I listened to a lot of soul music growing up, my mam would always be playing Stevie Wonder in the car so I was massively influenced by his tone and vibrato. But then my dad would listen to more acoustic/folk music suck as John Martyn and Jack Johnson so it was definitely a mix.
What was the moment when it clicked that you wanted to be a musician?
I’ve always sang and been surrounded by music but the one time that stands out to me is when I was about 10 years old, at a boxing presentation night. I got up and sang “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey and I got such a great response. I was totally buzzing off the positive reaction that I got! Its safe to say, I never boxed again and my coach made me sing at every event after that.
You just turned 18 last week (Happy birthday!), what’s it like being still quite young in the music industry?
Thank you very much! I had a great day. I just try and enjoy everything that I’m doing. Although I’m young, I feel quite mature for my age. It is hard because I’m doing A- levels and stuff at the same time but I’m just happy that I’m able to follow my dream. I think the music industry can be tough sometimes and that’s why I’ve made sure that everyone on my team/band are great people that I have a bond with. It’s got to be about music and having fun or what’s the point!
If you could describe your music in three words, what would they be?
Fun, Honest, Live.
“If I’m singing a ballad and I see a couple cuddling or people sing my lyrics back to me, that’s the greatest feeling!”
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your debut single “Princess”?
“Princess” is a song I wrote about a previous relationship, it sort of cheered me up in a way. Although I was down and a bit angry at the time, I made jokey lyrics and made the song more upbeat than I was feeling and it really helped me through. It’s just about partners that can be high-maintenance and a bit of a diva.
You recently released your debut EP, “Hopeless Romance”. What was the creative process behind writing it?
Well some songs came from my bedroom, some from a studio, others after a couple of beers! That’s the beauty of songwriting, the ideas can come at anytime and it’s so much fun. I can’t wait to share these songs with everyone. This EP has been such an enjoyable experience for me.
Who would be your dream artist to collaborate with?
I would love to collaborate with Stevie Wonder. He’s just such a legend! I love “Faith” from the SING soundtrack that he sings with Ariana Grande and also written by Ryan Tedder, who would also be another dream collaboration.
You’ve got several tour dates lined up. What’s your favourite thing about performing live?
Performing live is the best part of this job! I get such a buzz from playing my music in front of people. My favourite thing about performing live would have to be the audiences reaction. It’s so good when people really connect to the songs and enjoy the set! If I’m singing a ballad and I see a couple cuddling or people sing my lyrics back to me, that’s the greatest feeling!
What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2017?
I hope to achieve some more festivals and gigs during the summer, maybe record and release a second EP, to keep writing songs. Up my skills as a player and performer. I just want to stay creative and keep going! The sky’s the limit!
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