This month I.M.Fly was honored to sit down with Montréal own "Lady of Soul" miss Sonia-Soul. Her popularity throughout the underground urban music community has grown immensly over recent years. This summer will be a very busy one for Sonia-Soul and her band rightfully entitled "The Good Vibes". They will be performing this June 10th at Balattou, it will be a show that I.M.Fly highly recommends you attend. She has also joined fellow label-mate and president, Johnathan Emile, at Mind, Peace, Love records and is looking forward to releasing a full-length album in the near future. We, at I.M.Fly have had the chance to work with Sonia-Soul in the past and look forward to continuing doing so in the future.
Congratulations to Sonia-Soul for being I.M.Fly artist of the month for June 2010!
Question 1: How can listeners best describe your style of music?
Hmmm…Most people describe my style as one that is similar to Sade Adu’s. I think it’s a huge compliment but I find myself intimidated by that statement. She is such a huge inspiration to me. I have so much I need to live and experience before I can feel at ease with that sort of comparison. I’ve heard others say I sound like a mix of Aaliyah and Amel Larrieux or that I have an Incognito or Bass is Base feel to my music. All very flattering but I’d like it for people to listen and really feel ME. I’m often asked “What does your music sound like?” ; My answer is always the same “Me”...as it should.
Question 2: What are you biggest musical influences?
(Laughs) Believe it or not, I grew up listening to country music!!! My taste was -and still is- for Soul, Funk, R&B, Reggae, African and Jazz music but, I do enjoy some country once in a while. I have so many influences that it would be hard for me to name them all. Sade is my muse. Etta James, Anita Baker, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson and many more are frequent stimulus since I was a youth…I make sure I always keep my ears open for new and refreshing insights of inspiration, although it’s rare to find nowadays. Everything on the radio sounds the same. It is one big bubble gum expression given by all artists heard on the air waves…well at least most of them. I do not listen to the radio anymore. I only search out underground talent because it seems it is more genuine with its message and emotional states. Three of my most favourite at the present moment are as follows: Ebrahim from British Columbia, Canada; Selah Sue from Louvain, Belgium; Kultchaz from Montreal, Canada.
Question 3: When did you know you wanted to be a full-time singer?
Never did! (Laughs) See, the thing is that I love writing songs more than I like singing. Knowing how hard the music industry can be, I try not to have expectations. I know I will succeed but it will be in my own time. I don’t agree with the stress and pressure the music business puts on artists today. Music is not what it used to be and many sell out to make more money which is also fine if that’s what they are after. I don’t know what the future holds for me but truthfully speaking, I hope I will never lose myself in the machine that I am witnessing changing people. If I can get paid to do what I love (music) and all the while stay true to who I am, I will definitely say yes. To be famous or rich is not why I got into music to begin with. Music is an art that we all know how to recognize. It doesn’t take a genius or a certain “parcours” in Life to be able to appreciate it. Music is like breathing…we need it in order to survive.
Singing is only one aspect of music for me. I practice Music everyday…no matter what form it manifests itself as, I take it in and grow from it. It’s a way of Life. No need for me to categorize it as “full time” or “part time”… it’s an undeniable part of me.
Question 4: What are the highest and lowest points of your career so far?
I think my lowest point was when I used to be in a reggae band a few years ago. It was nice for a while and it was a great experience but to be honest with you, when I witnessed the way some musicians and vocalists in the band were being treated, it just broke my heart. I couldn’t believe it and it really made me want to stop doing music…and I almost did. I quit for two years…it killed a part of me. I had to get over it and affirm myself as solo artist, gain confidence and see that a band didn’t have to be run under negative, pretentious or egotistical leadership. It taught me a great deal. As I gained more presence in Montreal’s underground music community, I started setting goals for myself that I knew I would achieve, but truthfully, never thought they would materialize so fast. (Laughs) I set the goal to creating my own band and within six months, “The Good Vibes” were born. Within the next 5 months, we worked on a show we put together which would lead to be our first official show as a musical family and the result was a sweet surprise to all of us. The venue was full. People were everywhere! That has got to be one of my greatest accomplishments so far as an independent artist and woman. I had the dream, set the goal and made it happen for myself. I didn’t wait on anyone to make it reality for me and that’s what I’m proudest of.
Question 5: Where do you see your carreer in 5 and 10 years?
I actually see myself as a Wife and Mother of at least, 2 or 3 youths. Being a Mother is my number one dream in this realm. I was born a woman for that reason…no? (Laughs) On the music front, I would like to have my own lil’ resto/lounge where I would be able to offer the opportunity, to new and emerging artists, to perform and achieve their dreams and goals in the field. I would love to have the space available for people to express themselves musically and also have it for myself to keep my passion going. I plan on having this resto/lounge, God willing, in a hot country where I can just be myself and not have to worry about Babylonian rules on my way of Life. I just want to be me…Royally Simple. (Laughs)
Question 6: How do you feel about the current state of Montreal/Canadian music?
Good. I feel pretty good. Canada has so much talent, it’s almost become ridiculous. (Laughs) It’s like the rest of the world is finally starting to pay attention at one of our biggest natural resources: TALENT. (Laughs) You know what I mean? We have so many artists that are putting Canada on the map it feels good to know that there are still people out there, in the hype of “the big wheel ride”, that are keeping it real. K’Naan is one that comes to mind on that matter. The fact that he only recently started to get genuine artistic recognition from Canadians is, in my opinion, a lil’ behind schedule compared how the rest of the world sees him. Maybe that’s what he was going for…I don’t know. That’s just my opinion. (Laughs) On the Montreal side of things, we’ve got so many gifted artists here, it can be overwhelming to choose from on a night you want to go out and have a good time! If you don’t know, you better ask somebody! (Laughs) One of the best examples I can think of is Montreal’s own Kalmunity, which has made a huge impact on our community and quite a name for themselves. I’m so surprised when I meet people that have never heard of them…it’s hard for me to believe. It’s kind of like when you say: “You know Sade?” and the person says “Nope”…then all you have to do is start singing “Smooooooooooooooth Operatooooooor” and folks are like: “Oh yeah yeah! I know Sade! Duh!” (Laughs). In my eyes, it comes down to the same thing for Kalmunity except the key word here would be Jahsun instead of Smooth Operator. (Laughs) Jokes aside though, Montreal has some of the most talented people I have ever met and I feel blessed and gifted to be living in this city on top of being able to attend so many various shows on a regular. It’s a beautiful thing! I really encourage people to look into the hidden treasures Montreal harbours and many other cities covet…we are rich and we don’t even know it…or do we? (Laughs)
Question 7: Love is?
The Essence of Life.
Question 8: If you had to choose 3 artists that you would collaborate with, whom would they be?
My Dad, Bob Marley, Sade.
Question 9: The hardest decision you've ever had to make was...?
…Following my Heart. It sounds like it’s not much, but sometimes following your Heart means that you may have to hurt people you love in the process of making YOU happen. I learned it the hard way but I regret nothing of what I chose for myself. Whatever people say, and as cliché as it sounds, always go for what you believe and never let go of that dream or goal, no matter how hard it can be to hold on to at times . It doesn’t matter how long it takes to get there, what matters is that you do.
The only competition I have is with my Self… I never want to feel satisfied.
Question 10: What is your definition of FLY?
A really annoying insect! (Laughs) All jokes aside though…
To me, it means being conscious of Self without attention to Ego.
The sky is NOT the limit.
Official Myspace: www.myspace.com/soniasoul
Official Facebook group: Sonia-Soul