CHENNAI: The lead voice and the co-founder of the band Black Market, Sonia Saigal visited the city over the weekend to perform at the Jazz Music festival 2015. This versatile artiste both sings and composes jazz, pop, rock, funk and R&B. Performing from the tender age of seven in Kolkata, Sonia has proved a big talent to come forth from India, being selected as one of the final 14 to perform in London at the International Open Mic Competition 2015. In a chat with City Express, Sonia tells us about her Chennai roots and her musical dreams.
Every opportunity is different in its own way. I think I have enjoyed all of them equally. As for the biggest break, well that will be when I get to sign an international record deal that catapults me to stardom immediately (laughs). Till then I’m going to enjoy everything that comes my way. I would love to work wth A R Rahman too someday.
My maternal grandmother Noreen Hill was born in Madurai as her mother’s side is South Indian. Her grandfather was called Natalkar and lived in Kilpauk in Chennai. Her mother’s name was Danabackiam and later changed to Esther when she married my great-grandfather Edward Hill who was British and died in Chennai at a hospital. And I am hoping to locate his death certificate for my grandmother as it is our only link left to him. I have often looked for ‘home’ and never found it, maybe these are my roots calling me.
I love Chennai but I don’t visit as often as I would like. I’d like to relocate so I’m looking to find a contract in any of the five-star hotels and work here. If it happens I can begin my transition. I love everything about this city and when it comes to cuisne my favourites are idiappam, appams, the fish curries and rasam. The only thing I find hard to digest is anything made in coconut oil.
Though I don’t understand Tamil, the music here is brilliant and so are the musicians. My favourite singer is Karthik.
Living up to Legends
I I grew up listening to both my parents Donald Saigal and Jenny Drewitt — they are fantastic singers so was my step mom Pam C Crain. They are all wellknown in India so I have to keep up with them. With all their knowledge and prowess, I couldn’t possibly let their musical flag down and till today, I don’t think I have and I hope I never do. As for my vocals, I have to thank God for this talent, only he is responsible.
My inspiration is life itself. Every bit of emotion in my life comes out in song. You cannot be a true artiste without bearing your true soul in your artistry. Those that connect to it will see you in all your colours.
Following in Grandma’s Footsteps
My maternal grandmother Noreen is my role model. She is one strong lady who has battled more than her share of problems in this life and is my rock of Gibraltar. I’d say that she has taught me alot and she never complains which is something I’m striving to learn. May I follow wherever she may go.