Sonja Sleator


Every Monday we will be bringing you an unsigned singer or band as part of our Independent Music Monday feature. This week, we caught up with Belfast singer Sonja Sleator find out more...

Where are you from and how did you first get into music?
I'm from Belfast. I was always into music and listening to lots of bands and when I was a teenager got a guitar. Rather than learning other people's songs I started writing my own, but it took years before I played them for anyone!

Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
Growing up I loved everything that was in the charts in the 90s - Spice Girls, Eminem, The Backstreet Boys, Shania Twain. A wide range of stuff from country to rap to pop. When I was a bit older I listened to heavier music like Linkin Park, but when I was 16 I discovered Radiohead and Bjork for the first time and that was huge for me. I still love all those bands, but more recently I've added people like Ryan Adams and Frank Turner to the list. I try to listen to as many things as possible, but not all of it makes its way into my own songs.

How would you describe your sound?
I'd say singer/songwriter, acoustic, rock, pop. There's a bit of everything in there and I wouldn't want to be too much of any one of them. Variety is good.

What is your latest single called and what was the influence behind it?
My most recent single is Calla. It's the second track of my EP, ADAMS, which I released in October. It's about a night out with a friend who I hadn't seen in a while, so playing it always brings back great memories of that night.


What’s your local music scene like?
It's generally good, there are some really good bands and more and more gigs available for upcoming bands. There's a great network of acoustic artists which hasn't really been tapped into yet. A new promotions group called PopUp is doing some great things to give bands a boost and I'm looking forward to seeing that grow next year.

What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
2018 for me will be about gigging as much as possible and promoting my EP, ADAMS. I play regularly in Belfast so my aim is to get around Ireland more and I already have some shows booked in Dublin. Hopefully I'll be able to get some more booked soon. I'd love to play in Cork and Galway, and maybe even in England so any promoters reading, give me a shout!

Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
Locally I'd love to write with Aaron Shanley. I know him well and I've followed his music for years so to write with him would be great. Other than that I'd say Ryan Adams or Hozier would be great to write with. There's something about their music that just sparks a nerve with me in a really good way. Their lyrics and the way they write songs is great and I think I could add my style in there as well as learn loads from them.

Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
I'm diabetic and one time took a low on stage and collapsed... lots of fun!

What is the one thing that you want readers to know about you?
Back to the diabetes with this one... if I go really pale and start talking gibberish on stage please buy me a fizzy drink. That's a good thing to know!

You can find out more about Sonja at her website or via Facebook, Instagram, iTunes, Soundcloud, Spotify, Twitter or YouTube.

Jenny Pugh