Like an atmospheric journey down a path paved with love and growing pains, sona blue floats through swelling guitar melodies over softened synths and drums. Their debut EP, saint, is a heart freshly scabbed the morning after a breakup seeping under grey English clouds. Each song feels deliberate in composition, laying brick after brick building warm refuge. "You should know better, but you're no better" crescendos into the pivotal monolith that eventually crashes an unreciprocated love. “soft top” pulls us deeper into the story where sona says "and if you were to pass, I wouldn't be far behind, I put myself to rest" in an otherwise melancholic matter-of-fact way that eases the listener into believing it is meant to be. The title track concludes the EP where the ballad’s swell halts to a morning tide drifting toward a new form of endearment for what was a story about adolescent love, growth, and the turning of a new leaf.
Sitting across the pond in East London, we were lucky enough to meet with sona via zoom calls leading up to the release of his debut EP. We discussed life, influence, family and what the future looks like for the 21-year-old artist.
For our 3rd BY.SESSIONS, Sona performs “no better” accompanied by Joey Eighty and filmed by Elijah Horne.
4:30 Minute Read
sona blue! It’s been great to meet you and see you form fully right from the jump. How are you?
I’m good man thanks, been loving this heatwave in London and just keeping busy.
Your debut EP, saint, feels like a sunset on your teenage years. What things do you feel like you wish you knew back then that you do now?
I guess I would’ve wanted to know myself better. You can easily mould yourself to the people you’re hanging around, especially at that age. If I could change one thing it would just be living and interacting as my true self.
What are you most excited for moving into your 20’s and starting your career?
I’m super excited to do more live stuff. My new project is underway too. I’ve got loads of things I want to do past my solo projects when I’m more established. Clothing, magazines and movie scores are some of the things I’d love to create one day.
What have you noticed in yourself and how others started to perceive you once you started following your passions through music rather than pursuing school or a more traditional route?
It took me a long time to decide that I was going to pursue music seriously. When I told my mates about it a lot of them were really surprised, I think it’s partly just because none of us had ever thought of it as a real job before.
So much of growing, is learning to let go. Can you tell us what kind of head space you were in while writing 17?
17 is about someone I was with for a short time. We quickly realised how different we were and knew things weren’t going to last. The songs about holding onto that person and hoping that you’ll mould to each other somehow, even if it doesn’t make sense.
"By Your Side" by Sade has a nostalgic quality to it that I think many can relate too. What made you want to do that song?
My dad played a lot of Sade when I was growing up so she’s always been a part of my childhood. I thought the song fit well with the project and wanted to have it as a turning point in the EP.
When we had a chance to talk before the interview, I thought it was really cool to hear about your family. What does that tight-knit relationship to your kin mean to you?
I’m very blessed to have the family I have. Pretty much all of my most meaningful friendships are related to me in one way or another. My extended family are all very similar so we kinda inspire and bounce off of each other in our own way. It definitely makes me feel less crazy haha.
What artists or people inspire you most?
I really love Wong Kar Wai’s work at the moment. I recently discovered his films and I think the way he tells his stories is so incredible. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Elliot smith over the last few weeks.
When you sit down to write, what is going through your mind.
I normally start with a feeling, sometimes without knowing what it is, and then as I’m writing I kind of realise what the story is about and that’s when it starts to makes sense.
At one point you were interested in pursuing a career in product design. How has that translated into how you produce music and visuals and all things coinciding within your art?
I’ve always loved design and that’s kind of what I grew up on, whether it was graphic design or architecture. I have quite a visual mind so when I’m writing I’m always thinking of how it would look in a video or movie. I made all the EP visuals with my cousin and I’m gassed to make more.
Photography: Elijah Horne
Interview with Elyjah Monks
Editing Assistance: Ryan Cocklin