After a two year hiatus, Sonali has returned with a new sound and outlook on life, ready to pick up where she was forced to leave off. Just as her career as a pop/folk songstress was starting to flourish, Sonali was sidelined with health issues forcing her to take time to focus on herself. Through that, she’s not only on the road to recovery, but has also expanded her sound. Trading in the acoustic guitar for synths and drum machines, Sonali is ready to reintroduce herself to the world.
In this interview spotlight, I chat with Sonali about the latest project, challenges, motivations and much more.
Full Q&A along with links and music below.
Let’s dive a little deeper into You, the artist and your music. What attracted you to pop music?
I don’t think there’s ever been a time I wasn’t listening to Pop! There are (unfortunately) very embarrassing home videos of me dancing my ass off to “Material Girl” by Madonna, and I vividly remember attending my first concert when I was 5 (Britney Spears, of course), and coming home knowing that this is what I had to do for the rest of my life. One of my favorite things about pop is how accessible it is, I don’t like the thought of my music alienating anyone. I do tend to like artists who are a little left of center though, but with a very pop sensibility.
How long have you been creating and sharing your music with the public?
Since college! I’ve been making music forever, but that’s when I started commercially releasing it. I went to the Clive Davis Institute at NYU Tisch, and I was surrounded by some crazily talented people. That environment definitely shaped me as an artist.
Who or what influences your writing? Also, what motivates you to keep going?
Honestly, just life. I’m most intrigued by writing about generally universal experiences, whether that’s falling in (or out) of love, trying to find your place in the world, etc. This is stuff I know I want to hear about when I listen to a song, and from speaking to my fans I know it’s what they look for too. I definitely love to write about love, either the presence or absence of it. I don’t think there’s anything more powerful than that, so why not explore it through music? As for what keeps me going, I think it’s just that I couldn’t ever imagine not doing this. There have been so many countless times where I’ve been going through something that I was having a hard time processing, and I worked out how I was feeling by writing about it. I think songwriting is as much for me as it is for my fans.
Were you trying to accomplish anything specific on this new project? Creatively or otherwise?
Yes, especially lyrically. On my first EP Wake Up, I was just starting to get my footing as a songwriter. I was experimenting sonically as well, you’ll hear a stark difference between that and what I’m doing now. I think on my song “Find Your Way”, I was just starting to figure what exactly my unique voice was, and that in a way was the very preliminary stage of what this next project would be. I feel like I’ve now started to come into my own as a songwriter, and this next batch of songs really shows that.
What was the last song you listened to?
Million Bucks by Smallpools.
Which do you prefer? Vinyl? CDs? MP3s?
I guess MP3s because of the ease of it? But of course nothing compares to the sound of Vinyl.
How about this one…. Do you prefer Spotify? Apple Music? Bandcamp? Or something else? Why?
Spotify! I just think the interface is super user friendly. It’s really easy to search for specific songs, as well as to just turn on the radio feature and discover new music. I love that you can create your own playlists, it makes it so customizable. Also, although admittedly a little stalkerish haha, it’s kind of fun to creep on your friends and see what they’re listening to.
Other than the digital era overwhelming us with access to an abundance of music, what are one or two of the biggest challenges you face when trying to attract listeners to your music?
Well that’s definitely the biggest one! But other than that, I don’t think people realize how incredibly expensive it is to market yourself in this industry, and you really don’t see a penny back for a long time. It’s a big investment, and not everyone can afford to do that. I do hit that road block quite often, but there are artists who come from nothing and still find a way to make it work. I think if it’s meant to be, then it will be.
Do you gig, tour or perform? Do you ever live stream? Where can music lovers see you live?
Yes! I recently discovered that Instagram (and Facebook) lives are the best thing in the world. I’m super into connecting with my fans, I literally spend an hour responding to DMs everyday. Live streams add a whole other element to that personal connection, it’s great. In terms of performing live, I’m in the process of booking some shows in South Florida now!
Where is the best place to connect with you online? Discover more of your music?
Instagram! Or any social media really. All my usernames are @ItsMeSonali, except for YouTube, which is YouTube.com/sonaliargade. Easiest place to get to my music is probably through my website, which is www.itsmesonali.com, but my music is available everywhere (Spotify, Apple music, etc.)
Any last thoughts? Shout outs? Words of wisdom?
Yeah! I want to shout out to all the incredible and lovely people who have shared my new single “Forever” with their friends. You all know who you are, and are probably way too sick of me saying thank you, but unfortunately for you all I’m gonna say it 100 more times. These people are the best and I couldn’t do what I’m doing without them 🙂