Name: Sonja Sleator
Genre: Acoustic Singer songwriter
◀ Q & A ▶
▶ When did you start playing music and how would you describe your sound?
I picked up the guitar when I was around 14. When I left school and got my own choice of what to study I chose music performance. I instantly began writing about experiences in my life as that was all I knew about. It’s hard to describe my own sound. I like to get most of my what I’m trying to put across with my lyrics – the acoustic guitar is more of a back up to the vocals and melody.
▶ What releases have you put out so far?
In 2014 I released my first EP called ID. It was a collection of the strongest songs I had written over the pervious years. I released it before actually playing any gigs, but after releasing it I immediately started gigging around Belfast, handing them out incase anyone actually liked the music I was playing. I am hoping to release another EP this year. Until then, keep an eye out on my Soundcloud and Youtube profiles as I like to throw a few out onto those.
▶ Is there a particular live show that stands out amongst all the rest?
The very first time I was asked to play the Society Sessions in The Empire. I was so nervous that I had to book the day off work to try and calm myself down. I gave it everything I could and was so proud of myself for doing it. Even now after years of playing gigs I still struggle with nerves, it makes every gig exciting.
▶ Can you talk about a Highlight and a low point of the journey so far?
Playing in Nashville last year is by far the highlight. I met an American singer songwriter, Emily Hackett, when she played in Belfast. We hit it off really well and she asked me to come play a gig with her in Nashville. We played an In The Round session in the Listening Rooms, which was an amazing experience and a real eye opener to a different style of performance. Belfast is really missing somewhere people can go to play and listen to music, without the noise of a bar in the background! On the same trip I also played in New Orleans, LA and San Francisco and featured on the (in)famous Norm’s Rare Guitars Youtube channel.
▶ If you weren’t a musician(s) how would you spend your spare time?
Drinking coffee in my own coffee shop! It will be my plan B if everything goes completely wrong!
▶ If you were to go on a world tour and you could pick any 3 acts come along, who would they be?
Ryan Adams, Radiohead and Bjork. That would be a weird lineup..
▶ What would be the 3 strangest things on your rider if you were able to make any demand?
A balloon, a cat and some socks. A cat wearing socks and holding a balloon would be amazing!
▶ Is there a particular aim or goal which you hope to achieve through music?
The answer will probably be the same as most musicians. To be able to make a living from writing and performing. Its a hard one to do! But I would also love the opportunity to put my own tour together or even be a support slot to an artist I really admire. And if I ever make it back to Nashville I would love the chance to play The Bluebird Cafe!
▶ Who has been your biggest inspiration as a musician?
There has been so many over the years. Although I don’t sound anything like Radiohead they are a band I just never tire of listening to. Frank Turner has also inspired me to just keep going. Ryan Adams’ lyrics are just beautiful to me! More recently I picked up a Hozier album one day. I had never heard his music but had heard people talking about him. I immediately loved it. I think it stayed on repeat in my car for about six months! His lyrics and sound were incredible!
▶ Are there any other Northern Irish musicians we should check out?
I recently came across a guy called Ethan Hannah. Blown away! Check him out! Matthew Malcolm has to be mentioned too because his guitar playing skills are unreal! An unbelievable talent.
▶ What is next for you?
To write more music and play more gigs. I’d love to head off again and gig in other countries and see what’s happening out in the big scary world 🙂
◀ LISTEN ▶
Facebook ▶ /Sonja Sleator
Twitter ▶ /@sonjasleator