Sonal Jogia’s musical journey is the road less traveled. Originally hailing from Calgary, Canada, she left home for Spain 8 years ago to find herself and fulfill her music dreams. In her early thirties, she finally got to write and release her first album. I got the chance to speak with Sonal about how she got into music, what she learned from moving to Spain, her new single “Alive,” her love for quantum reality and so much more.
Tell me a little bit about how you first got into making and performing music.
Well, when I was a kid, I was definitely a performer for anyone and everyone! That stopped as I got into my teens. I would sing in private and listen to music always, but the making music and performing was put on the back-burner. It was in my 20s that I met musicians/singers who were pursuing music and I was slowly encouraged to take the stage, and that’s when I started as a back-up singer for a friend’s band. During that time, I also made an attempt to write and record a couple of demos. It took me quite a few years before I decided to put together a band and take the lead; I was about 30 then. Stage fright was a really big issue because of my lack of confidence, and I’ve come a long way since then, though it’s still something that affects me to this day! In my early 30s, I also wrote and recorded my first EP, which then went on to be nominated for Best Urban Recording of the Year at the Breakout West Awards (Western Canadian Music Awards). That was definitely encouraging for me to see that I was on the right track… that I should be doing music.
Was there a specific moment or person who made you realize music is what you wanted to pursue professionally?
I would say it was a series of moments and experiences. It had to do with not being able to find my way in this world and feeling lost… never able to fit in, and not really wanting to. But when we have a purpose and a gift that we are meant to share, all of the signs will point in that direction, as long as we’re paying attention that is. It took me longer than many to get there, and I experienced many disruptions in life along the way because of NOT paying attention. And slowly, as I opened up to allowing myself to explore it, the right people, situations, and experiences appeared. We always get what it is we need; it’s just a matter of letting go of the resistance we put up. That’s the short version.
8 years ago, you moved to Spain on a quest to learn about yourself and fulfill your music dreams. First, why Spain? Second, what did you learn about yourself both personally and as an artist since the move?
To learn about myself, definitely. When it comes to music, it was more trying to find inspiration and aligning myself with my purpose. Honestly, the idea of Spain came more from my parents. They kept talking about moving there and that we should do it together. Well, in the end, I did and they didn’t [laughs]! The idea of experiencing a new culture, language and lifestyle was really appealing to me. And the thought of milder winters was also something that I couldn’t resist. The change of scenery and living by the mediterranean sea definitely brought me the much-needed change and inspiration I craved. I’ve found a different level of self-acceptance and confidence, although it’s taken a lot of work and focus on personal healing and growth. I’m continuously exploring and working on myself, and I believe that will always be the most important thing I do. That is what gets me closer and closer to being the person and the artist I am and want to be.
I’m always genuinely curious about what artists want to convey with their music. So how would you describe your sound without using genre names? What kind of music do you make?
I would say it’s music that makes you feel the groove and you can’t help but bob your head or move your body. It’s live instrumentation that holds onto a groove that sounds like a tight loop. The songs are about relatable situations for many, which can really help connect people with their feelings, emotions, and life situations, and they’re full of beautiful harmonies. The lyrics are simple and emotional, and the vocals dynamic – from soft and sensual to strong and soulful.
Going off of that, who are some of your musical influences?
My biggest influences would have to be Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys, Michael & Janet Jackson, Erykah Badu, Nelly Furtado and so many more! I’m a real sucker for old-school R&B/neo-soul.
Let’s talk about your new single, “Alive.” What’s the story behind the song?
“Alive” is a heartfelt love song that is full of emotion. I love being able to express myself in song as it’s often difficult to do so with words. The beauty of music is that it’s a beautiful form of expression not only for one’s self but, it also allows others to feel an emotion and helps bring it out of them and/or express themselves as well. It really is a shared experience! This song helps to bring out the love that we hold inside and brings it to the surface.
What was your writing process like for this song? Did you write it by yourself or did you collaborate with others?
I wrote this song on my own with the help of my guitar, and then my producer, Spencer Cheyne, made some changes to the form of the song and that took it to another level. The song was very natural and easy to write…very organic. I even wrote some of it sitting alongside the Mediterranean Sea, which is always really special. It really brings inspiration alive!
You’ve got a new EP coming out later this year. Is it finalized to the point where you know how many songs will be on it and what fans can expect?
Absolutely! What started out as 5 songs became 6 because sometimes it’s hard to narrow it down. I flew back to my hometown of Calgary, Alberta, Canada to record this project, and it was a pretty amazing experience to work with such an amazing producer and team on this. All of the music was recorded live off the floor with the musicians, so that was pretty special. It really brought out everybody’s creativity being able to vibe off of each other’s energy. They played a big part in the arrangements of the songs, and I feel very lucky to work with the talented people who were a part of this project!
You are still very new to the music game. What are some music industry-related goals or benchmarks that you’re aiming to reach in the next couple of years?
Up until now, I’ve been really immersing myself in the creative aspect of music, and now I’m wrapping my head around the business side of things, which is very new for me. I’d just like to spend this next year doing my best to promote the upcoming singles and the release of the EP, as well as continue to collaborate with other artists/songwriters to write new songs. I’m currently looking at doing a video for ‘Alive’ in December. One of the things that would be pretty amazing is having management so that I can focus on being creative and sharing my music. I’m currently working on a 2-year business plan, so this question is something to really think about as I get closer to having the EP in my hands! It’s something I’ll be able to answer better once that is completed.
Last question — we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner-nerd. What is something you nerd out about?
[laughs] I nerd out about quantum reality – how energy works, and how human consciousness affects the world and our own reality. It has a big effect on how I go about things in my own life and the intention I put behind my thoughts and actions. We are the creators of our reality and it’s interesting to see what we attract into our lives based on our vibrational frequency and what we put out there.