For hometown girl Sonia Leigh, 2011 was a milestone year. She debuted her first album on Southern Ground Records “1978 December.” CMT highlighted her as a Listen Up! Artist of the Month and she toured the country, opening for Zac Brown Band. 2012 is not shaping up too shabby for the raspy-voiced music maven. Sonia has been touring with country sensation Eric Church and will open for living legend, Willie Nelson this Sunday at the hallowed Tabernacle. CMP spoke with Sonia about the triumphs of 2011, her latest vinyl purchases and sharing the stage with one of her greatest influences.
Last time we spoke, your video had just dropped on CMT for “My Name is Money.” What was 2011, your break out year, like for you?
It was just so cool. I got to meet so many different people and go so many different places. It set things up for 2012 really nicely. I did a lot of growing in 2011.
How did it feel to be invited to play with Willie Nelson?
When I found out we were playing with him, I thought they were joking. I just thought they were joshing me. It took me a minute to believe them! I learned to play “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” when I was just a young girl. I had a little 45 when I was younger and I’d listen to it over and over. I grew up on that, I used to make my Dad sing “Mama’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys” over and over when I was five. It’s pretty crazy!
As a songwriter, what lyric inspires you?
Oh my gosh, I have so many. Bob Dylan said “there’s no use changing horses mid stream.” I really like that. Another one is “I believe in the promise land” by Bruce Springsteen.
The Fam O’Leigh (Sonia’s fanclub and street team) submitted some questions. Shila asked, what has been the best and worst part of your success?
The best part is I get to travel and do what I’ve always wanted to do. I get to be on the road. I love to play for new people and get my music out there. The only downfall is being away from my family and my friends. You come back into town after being gone for a month and you’re only home for a few days. You try to squeeze so much in. The good thing is I get to travel and see friends I have known throughout my life on the road.
Susan from the Fam O’ Leigh said you have a hidden talent for rapping. Are you a rap fan?
I am a huge Tupac fan. The Wheeler Boys, I really like them, they’re on our label. I like hip hop, I really do.
I know you love vinyl, what albums have you bought recently?
My most recent purchase was at Grimey’s in Nashville. I bought a Kings of Leon album that has “Molly’s Chambers” on it. They were so different when this came out, there was nothing like them. I love “Sprial Staircase” and “Knocked Up.”
Catch Sonia Leigh with Willie Nelson at the Tabernacle in Atlanta, GA on February 12, 2012.