The Refrain Interview: Sonny Boy

Pittsburgh-based artist, Sonny Boy, is hoping you can’t tell how nervous he is. After too many years of trying to seem cool, he’s decided it’s not for him, and is embracing the idea of making music of a much more sincere and personal nature. His inaugural album “The Homecoming” is just that; Effectively serving as a concept album of his life and experiences so far. Being arguably more therapeutic than it is exhibitory “The Homecoming” serves as not only an example of music as entertainment, but also as a means of survival. Characterized by playful melodies, pounding drums and introspective lyrics, Sonny Boy attempts to capture in his music the beautifully awkward and tragically humorous process of living; Coping with the past and fearing the future, all the while hoping it’ll all turn out okay.

We had a chance to talk to him as part of our Refrain Interview series.

Refrain Music Blog: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. You have a new single out now. Tell us about it? What’s it called? 

Thanks so much for interviewing me! Absolutely! My new single “The Homecoming” is out now on all digital platforms.

RMB: What’s the single about? 

“The Homecoming” was fittingly the last song written on the album as It came out as a summation of the themes of the entire record;  Getting older, coping with the past and coming to terms with who you are. As soon as it was finished, I knew it would be the first single.

RMB: What’s the story on how it was recorded?

 It was recorded with a good friend of mine, Daniel Blake, at his studio, The Schoolhouse in Armbrust, PA. The song was produced by myself and Dan from start to finish and we actually had my sister on as a guest vocalist as well. For the most part, it actually sounded great after the first day; everything from there was small additions and mixing.

RMB: Is it part of a larger album? If so, tell us about that. 

Indeed it is! The album is also called “The Homecoming.”

RMB: When is that album out? 

The full album will be released on Friday, December 10th, 2021.

RMB: How many songs on the album? 

8 tracks.

RMB: Is this your first album? If not tell us about your previous work and how this differs from your previous work. 

This is my first album as Sonny Boy. The album started out as a few songs that just didn’t fit with my other projects, but it quickly gained a mind of its own and, as the themes started to take shape, I ended up scrapping 5 songs and writing 4 new tunes for the record. The idea for me was to leave my comfort zone when it came to the music production side of things. I’ve always been a bit of a zealot regarding organic recording and live takes, but this was a chance to embrace the use of more electronic tools and modern processes and to build the songs from the ground up.

RMB: Tell us a little bit about yourself. When did you start pursuing music? 

I’ve always had a love for music and an interest in creating it. Ever since grade school I really enjoyed singing, and when I picked up a guitar when I was 14, I knew I wanted to be a songwriter. After several years of writing terrible songs, I decided it was time for other people to hear my terrible songs in public and started performing. Luckily, through many years of practice they’ve gotten less and less terrible. 

RMB: Who are some of your biggest musical influences? 

Like most people I have too many to count, but among them are; David Bowie, Jack White, Bon Iver, Brian Eno, Bleachers, Talking Heads, Van Duren, St. Vincent, Tame ImpalaPink Floyd, The Black Keys.

RMB: What’s the one thing you are most proud of in your career so far? 

I’d honestly say I’m most proud of just being able to make music. For a lot of people, recording an album is something they dream about but is just out of reach for whatever reason. I feel incredibly lucky that I’ve been able to contribute the amount of time and resources necessary for making a full album to this point and that I’ve been able to get my music out there. 

RMB: If you had to pitch your music to a potential fan in less than 10 seconds, what would you say? 

Nostalgic, dreamy pop-rock with a modern flavor! 

RMB: What’s one piece of advice you’ve gotten that you think everyone needs to hear or that has meant the most to you? 

I’ve received a lot of great advice over the years, but I think some of the most important was not to undervalue yourself as an artist. Music is already especially undervalued in the current world, and it’s important to know your worth as a musician and not to accept less just because you want to appear successful. 

RMB: If you could go back in time, what’s a piece of advice you would give to a younger you? 

I’d like to have known that, if you want to pursue a career in music, it’s okay to be a little bit cynical. You have to be true to yourself and be careful of who you trust with your art, so that you can make sure no one tries to take control of your vision.  

RMB: What’s coming up next for your musical project? 

I’ll be continuing to promote the single and the album going forward and getting the music to as many listeners as possible. In the future I’m planning to release more singles and music videos

RMB: Anything we haven’t thought of that you want to talk about? Now is the time! 

I just want to say thanks so much for the interview! I’ll mention that the music video for my single “The Homecoming” is out on my ‘Sonny Boy’ YouTube channel now. Please feel free to Like and Subscribe. I can also be found on Facebook as ‘Sonny Boy’ and on Instagram as ‘Sonny Boy Music.’

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