Listen to the live interview Episode #483: A.V.A Live Radio Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax : http://tobtr.com/10085193
GETTING TO KNOW SONIA GRACE
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio
Song name: Regular Black
Music Genre/ category : Hiphop/Rap
Regular Black is about self acceptance and being comfortable in your own skin. As an African immigrant who grew up in the US, I get so many questions about my identity, ethnicity, accent and “exotic” looks. Some comments are harmless, some rude and most are offensive. For instance someone saying, ‘Hi, I’m so and so, from blank, what about you?’ is harmless but someone asking why I have accent or why I don’t fit into xyz stereotype, is offensive. The song came about when a guy in a club said I was good looking, but I wasn’t regular black, I had to be from somewhere. I’m sure he thought the complement made my night but it made me feel as though something was wrong with my nationality. This wasn’t the first time someone commented but it was when I really started to pay attention. When I say I’m from Africa people expect what they see on National Geographic, and when I say I’m from Iowa, where I grew up, they wonder why I have an odd accent and don’t embody the stereotypes they see in rap videos or reality tv. If it sounds mind boggling and exhausting, it’s because it is. So I decided instead of being defensive or sad, I would write about it. I use real life stories and humor, like click sounds, to show just how ridiculous it is to be hanged up I’m other people’s identities on whether they it into your little box.
Music has helped me deal with insecurities…
and find interesting ways to voice my opinion. I tend to brush off shade or use clever humor to diffuse any potential conflict, which may be due to my being a Gemini. Instead of clapping back right away, I’ll let it simmer long enough to turn into a song, poem or story. I think it’s important to have a positive outlet for emotions.
I moved to the US as a teenager. I went from an all girls Catholic boarding school in Kenya to a public school in the small town of Cedar Falls, Iowa. Culture shock would be putting it mildly. I can only describe it as a time travel to an alternate universe. It was exciting, overwhelming, cool, fresh, confusing, and very scary. I dealt with these by writing a lot and singing. This is still how I deal with challenges as an adult. I hope my music encourage people not to let other people’s opinions lock them in insecurities. Own your uniqueness, embrace their flaws and experiences. Turn into inspiration to follow whatever dream you have. And to always remember the only you can define your identity.
I’m based in Los Angeles, Hollywood area…
This city brings people from all over the world so the music scene gives fans opportunities to experience almost every genre of music. It allows musicians to explore different sounds and work with artists from genres outside their comfort zone. Also being in the Hollywood area present other ventures outside music such as acting and modeling.
I’m excited and optimistic about the industry. It’s always evolving. Now there are over a million ways to reach fans, particularly through social media. The genres aren’t as clear cut anymore which allows artists to flow easily between the lines. I’m a singer and songwriter but I also rap. I like being able to combine both as with Regular Black. The con I would say is that as great as social media is, it’s sometimes feels as though people are more after likes, retweets, memes and followers than the actual music. I hope to keep my focus on the music and hope people like my music more than whatever funny meme or clever tweet I post.
I would love to have 5 minutes alone with….
Dolly Parton. I would ask her what her songwriting process is like. I have been fan for years when my dad used to play ‘Do I ever cross your mind’ on the actual record player. I would also ask her what’s one thing the music industry/artists did when she started that she wishes we still did today.