Artist of the Week Band of the Week

Artist of the Week: Sonia Leigh

Last Monday, shortly after 8 p.m., Sonia Leigh took the stage to screams at The Studio at Webster Hall. Distinct vocals combined with a steady percussion beat on first song, “Ain’t Dead Yet,” kicked off her energetic hour-long set.

Also the lead track to her debut release, 1978 December, on Zac Brown’s label Southern Ground, “Ain’t Dead Yet” has a deep meaning. Inspired by the influence of blues artist Sean Costello and his unexpected death, Leigh frequently visits his grave.

“When he died I pretty much made a vow that I was gonna keep this going for both of us,” she said. “That’s basically that. I’m not dead yet, so let’s go out there and do it.”

And music is what Leigh has been doing ever since. At 17, she left home to pursue her dream. With $50, a garbage bag of clothes and her guitar she embarked on a journey that was far from easy. Lucky for music lovers, this adventure made it into her songs.

Throughout her set, Leigh combined classic country twang on tracks like “A Poem From the Ocean Floor,” among the bluesy “I Just Might.” Always full of surprises, the sexy rock beats heard on “I Won’t Tell,” had many concertgoers dancing along in front of the stage. Numerous times during her performance, Leigh transformed a track with a simple guitar riff or her dynamic vocals.

“I didn’t know so many people knew about me in New York. Were you guys paid to come here?” she joked.

Her lively stage presence blended well as she eased down the set. The slower “Virginia” followed with Leigh on acoustic guitar and light percussion before emotive ballad “Alabama” began. While her ballads and songwriting impress, it was high energy tracks like current single, “My Name is Money” that best showcase her talent.

Watch the video for “My Name Is Money” below and read just why Zac Brown calls Leigh “the real deal” and decided to work with her here.