When Sonia Leigh was seven years old, she discovered a record player and an old Willie Nelson single in the house she moved into, and using an old guitar, tried to copy what she heard. She recalls, “There was an old nylon string guitar with three strings on it, and I would just play on one string and try to mimic that record, long before I knew what I was doing”. Although Leigh moved around often during her childhood, all along the Bible Belt and Midwest US, music remained a constant presence as her father wrote and played songs. Leigh stole her Dad’s guitar in order to teach herself some chords, and once she mastered the art of changing them quickly enough, she began to compose some of her own material.
Leigh’s musical influences are diverse and cover multiple genres; as a young girl, her Grandfather would sing Hank Williams songs at family gatherings, of course her Dad’s country music record collection and own songs, and her Mum’s favourite classic rock songs have also had a huge influence. “I grew up listening to country music with my Dad”, she recalls, “but rock slowly became one of the biggest parts of the picture. I just loved it all, and I wanted to play it all. I was never someone who wanted to play only one style. I just wanted to play music”. When she became a teenager, the new age of grunge seemed to awaken something in Leigh, “In my teens, I got into Alice In Chains, Alanis Morrisette, The Cranberries, Sheryl Crow, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana and Hole”, she explains. “That completely fed my fire. I’m a huge fan of Tupac, too. My mum and I were really poor and came up in a hard place, so I really resonated with his lyrics. Then I left home and was on my own at 17, and really had to hustle a lot”.