Sonny Dayes Interview
On April 26th I had the privilege of hopping on a Zoom call with Sonny Dayes, an independent folk singer-songwriter emerging from his home base in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Meeting through a mutual connection, I was so excited to hear more about Dayes’ intriguing and unique sound, as well as gain insight on his self-produced album, Enjoy the Rain, released in February of 2021.
If you had to describe your style of music in three words, what would they be?
Music evokes an emotional response, so depending on whatever emotion the song or album evokes, that can best describe the style. My music is naturally lively, joyous, and heartfelt. Through this I wish to take listeners and fans on a journey.
Congratulations on your recently released material! I would love to hear a little bit more on your writing and recording process as well as your methods of creative decisions.
Composition for me originally takes place through two avenues. One, I have an idea for the music as I’m playing. As I’m playing, there are various moments of inspiration such as other songs I like and experimentation. From there I assign this music a theme or topic or feel with the words. The other composition method I use is when I have an idea for the song, and I write the music and lyrics at the same time. This depends on the inspiration and journey of the process. [After this] I get into a head space of writing lyrics and songs and then this moves into a recording and production headspace for me. I always say whatever I’m up to is my favorite part so currently that is writing, but when this moves into recording that will transition into my favorite part. The creative process takes me a long time sometimes with an idea to mull it over and sculpt a story. My aim is to take a complicated idea and pinpoint it into my songs with flexibility and intention.
Taking from this theme of inspiration, what inspired you to become an artist, and what are some of your biggest musical influences?
For me there has always been an inner desire to produce and create original work. I can remember having that since I was a kid and I always loved jamming and improvisation. Back at college I had a buddy and we wanted to start a cover band playing bars just us two and maybe some percussion but, in the end, jamming worked well for not only my work with that friend but also in my own creativity. There’s an innate desire that I think comes from my adventurous personality. This gives me the same feeling of exploring because it’s exciting to me. When I was able to focus all my time on writing is when I just went for it. The second part of the question was about my musical idols and to name a few: Neil Young ,thanks to my cousins; the band Yes because of their ethereal and almost fairytale psychedelic rock style of writing, and John Mayer. Finally, Gil Scott-Heron, a jazz artist who had a song that became very popular with the Black Lives Matter movement: “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”.
Your creative process seems so raw and rewarding, what can you tell me about how your creative process led to the composition of the album that was released in February?
Enjoy the Rain is a hero’s journey through being in love. The first three songs are love songs- “Garden of Love”, “She Loves You”, and “63 Degrees”, then heartbreak and breakup songs (“Bluebird”, “In the Rain”, “Pass Me the Bottle”, and “Dreams”), and self-discovery/self-love (“The Comet”, and “You Say You Love Me”). I purposefully wrote the songs in a major key so it would have a more positive vibe even with vulnerable topics. The message remained important to me throughout a transitional period of my life.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years and what would be a main goal for right now?
A goal I have for right now is to make demos for ten songs I have picked out for the next album. I want to be able to record them in full with a top line producer. A five-year goal would be a world tour because I love to perform, and I love to travel.
Enjoy the Rain can be found on Spotify and Apple Music. Visit https://www.sonnydayes.com/ for more information!