Sonia Leigh making a name for herself, her music
The Zac Brown Band isn’t coming to Country Jam alone. It’s bringing special guests Blackberry Smoke and Sonia Leigh with it on Saturday, June 23.
Both acts are part of Zac Brown’s label, Southern Ground Artists. In a recent phone interview, Leigh talked about her experiences knowing the Zac Brown Band and making a name for herself in the music industry.
Melinda Mawdsley: You are coming to Country Jam as a guest of the Zac Brown Band. What does that mean?
Sonia Leigh: It means we get to play in front of a lot of their fans, which we are excited about. We all look up to those guys. When it’s a festival outdoors, you want to make sure you keep the crowd and music up, especially if you are a new artist and no one’s familiar with your music. We’ll try to pump (up the crowd.)
Mawdsley: Is there a particular song of yours that does the job?
Leigh: “Ribbon of Red” seems to be making everybody jump around. We get into it and when the crowd sees you get into it, they relax. When the artist is making you comfortable, the crowd is more apt to (be comfortable.) It’s kind of like when you smile, you’ll see people smile.
Mawdsley: How did you get connected with the Southern Ground label?
Leigh: I knew Zac before he got any kind of radio play. He had a place called Zac’s Place (in the Lake Oconee area of Georgia), and we met and became friends and fans of each other’s music. When things started happening for him, he asked me to be part of his label. It was a baby start-up label, so it took its time.
Mawdsley: Any apprehension joining a start-up label?
Leigh: The only reservation was I didn’t want business to come in (the way of our friendship.)
Mawdsley: Was it hard breaking into the industry?
Leigh: Oh yeah. You have to be willing to get doors slammed in your face. To me, I always felt like doors (slamming in my face) kind of led to other doors. Just because one thing didn’t work out in an area, another door would lead to another opportunity. In the industry, everything can be an opportunity if you keep your eyes open.