An instinctive songwriter, Sonal Jogia impresses audiences with her sweet, yet powerful voice and soulful style. Having written and released her first album in her early thirties, this Canadian R&B songstress, who left her home and belongings 8 years ago to live in Spain, has battled through insecurity and conformity head-on… and won.
The first single from her latest EP is one that comes straight from the heart… a love song called Alive that she wrote with the help of her guitar. “Being in a state of Love is something that cannot be described in words…it can only be felt. But a song… a song can transmit what words alone never could. A song can awaken feelings inside of us”, Sonal explains. “I hope this song helps to awaken Love in you.”
“Alive” was released in September. In an interview with Fuzzable, Sonal detailed out her journey and the creative process that went behind creating her new song. Check out the interview below:
Please tell our readers a bit about yourself.
I was raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and moved to coastal Spain over 8 years ago. I was always a little different than most people and never could quite fit in. Music was my escape, although I didn’t pursue it until much later than most people. And I’m now thinking of my next move and where in the world I’ll end up living…let’s see where the wind take me…and most importantly…where music takes me!
We read you began your journey as a musician in your 30s. While we don’t believe that there is an age to work for your dreams, we wanted to know how and when did you decide to finally embark on the endeavour?
Well that was a very slow process, haha. Not being able to conform to societal norms, I was always the screw-up child who would never go anywhere or amount to anything. Because of this I ended up keeping my musical abilities mainly to myself once I became a teenager. Before that point I would sing for anyone and everyone who would listen to me. I always sang though…but I kept it to myself and a couple of really close friends. It wasn’t until my 20’s that I started to sing back-up vocals for my friend’s band, and even then I had crippling stage fright, and that’s not even being up-front and center. After keeping secretive about it for that long, it was a very difficult thing to start doing. Many years went by like this and I just kept doing it, even dabbling in taking centre stage now and then…although I wanted to hide at the back of the stage behind all of the other musicians! There finally came a point where I decided to put a band together and give it a shot, and that was when I was 29 I believe. The potential was definitely there, but I was still unable to feel confident enough. I would always judge and criticize myself harshly. I left that project after about 6 months and decided I wasn’t ready. But then I gave it another try, including recording my first EP, which was then nominated for an award for Best Urban Recording of the Year at the Breakout West Awards in Canada! Since then, I’ve realized that having courage doesn’t mean that I can’t be scared at the same time, and that I can keep moving forward with it, and that it gets better. It’s taken a lot of soul searching and healing from the things I’ve realized have kept me from realizing my dream and sharing the gift I have to share with people. Music is a beautiful means to connect us and elevate us energetically. I can’t stay away from that! So for me the timing is perfect, and couldn’t have happened more naturally. That’s the simplified version!
How did the spatial transition from Canada to Spain happen? What kind of role did music play in driving the decision?
The move was basically a much needed change of scenery and pace. I wanted a different cultural experience as well. Being born in the UK (although I moved to Calgary when I was just a year old) gave me the means to be able to live in Europe. I also wanted to live by the sea and not have to endure such cold and snowy winters…I was done with that! Musically, I needed to feel more inspired than I had been feeling, and I knew that was going to take a drastic change. Living in Spain has been the experience of a lifetime, and now I’m thinking about my next move…which will have everything to do with music. I’ve reached the point in life and music where I know that professionally I need to be somewhere else in order to make advancements in my career. So we’ll see what new adventures and experiences are created!
You have collaborated with Spanish musicians. How has been the experience? Also, does Spanish music makes it way into your new project?
It has been a really great experience working with people here. My first collaboration was with a Spanish producer/DJ and a rapper. It was great because we were able to incorporate both a Spanish verse by him and an English chorus by me. We even performed it at their sold-out CD Release event in Zaragoza, a Spanish city up in Northern Spain. And another collaboration that stands out is with a really well known Spanish DJ/Producer who goes by the name of Sansixto. He produces electronic music, and he had me write and sing on a few tracks, one of which he officially released. That was really great because apart from collaborating with such a talented producer (who is now making his mark internationally), I was able to step outside of my genre of RnB and experiment with a completely new style. A soulful voice can go really nice on an electronic instrumental. Those are experiences that help me grow as an artist!
And as for Spanish music in my project…not this time! Although now I feel I’m ready to write my first song in Spanish. I’m now quite fluent in speaking it, but still feel that I would like to co-write it with someone. So that is definitely a plan in the near future!
As a singer and a songwriter, how do you perceive your evolution? On artistic terms, where do you place yourself today?
I’m always evolving as both a singer and a songwriter, some of which is really organic based on who I am as a person and my own personal growth, and some of which is an effort put forth to observing, learning, training, and a lot of practice. I also love collaborating with other artists, because that can really give a new outlook on different perspectives and techniques when it comes to creating. Artistically, my style seems to have a similar old school (90’s RnB) feel, but still manages to sound current. I hope to never stop growing and evolving as an artist. I hope to always be able to feel inspired… inspired to create and to share from the heart. That’s the best way to connect to people and in turn to inspire other hearts.
Congratulations for “Alive”! Please tell our readers about the song.
Thank-you! “Alive” is an expression of Love and all of the emotions that arise from it. For many it’s difficult to be able to express vulnerability and emotion in conversation. I’m lucky to be able to have the means to express myself through song, and also to help others to do the same. That’s the beautiful thing about music…that so many can relate to your words and the sentiment that comes across, and it gives them to not only the ability to express themselves, but also to experience enhanced emotions. So far the feedback on this song has been really wonderful and I’m so happy that people are connecting to it!
In terms of musicality, the song has a laid back and soothing tune which would make any listener stop and pay attention to it. We would like to know about the creative process that went behind the single.
I started playing the guitar just a few years ago and one day I sat down and started playing the chord progression…and lyrics and melody just naturally came out. In just a little while I had the first verse and the chorus. I loved it right away! Not long after I went and sat on the beach with my notebook and that is where I finished the song, fully lost in my surroundings. It’s so easy to feel inspired in magnificent nature! It makes me feel fully present in the moment and nothing is forced…it just flows. So that’s how “Alive” came into existence…and I’m happy it did!
We loved “Alive” and would like to know a bit about your EP too. Please tell our readers about your latest project.
Well I recently went back to my hometown of Calgary, Alberta, Canada to record the new EP with producer Spencer Cheyne at OCL Studios. It was such a pleasure to work with him and the musicians who played on this project! What a great team. The band was recorded live off the floor, so everyone was really able to vibe off of each other, which was amazing since they were such a big part of the arrangements. This is a 6-song EP and it will be coming out next year after the first few singles…I’m really excited about it!
Would you like to share with us your future projects or endeavours?
For now I’m just going to keep putting my effort and energy into this current project, and so a video and tour are on the agenda for upcoming projects within the project, haha. I am also focused on getting better on the guitar so much of my time goes into that, and also into writing/co-writing. And of course being a one-person-team, I’m working on promoting the new music. I’m doing it on my own and learning as I go along, so I’m definitely keeping busy!
You can find Sonal Jogia on social media:
What do you think about the single? Share your thoughts via tweet @Fuzzable.