After a forced two-year hiatus due to health reasons, Sonali has returned with a new sound and outlook on life. She is fresh off the stage from opening for the headliner, Pitbull, on the Ford Stage at Florida’s acclaimed SunFest 2018 Music Festival. “It was unreal to see my name listed on the same bill as artists like Logic, Zedd, Incubus, and Pitbull,” says Sonali.
Just as her career 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.
Studying and making music ever since she was a young girl, Sonali’s biggest plunge into the music world came in the fall of 2012 when she was invited to attend the prestigious Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. There, she was afforded the pleasure of working with some of the best in the industry, studying under numerous GRAMMY award-winning professors and music industry veterans such as Questlove, Bob Power (D’Angelo, A Tribe Called Quest), Nick Sansano (Sonic Youth, Public Enemy), and Amund Björklund (Train). While there, she would also attend guest lectures by Pharrell, Benny Blanco, Rob Thomas, and Stargate. In December 2012, Sonali and her classmates collaborated to create a viral cover of Rihanna’s “Diamonds.” After being featured on Buzzfeed and by Ryan Seacrest, the video garnered the attention of Rihanna herself, who invited the group to a show in Newark, where she personally congratulated them on their work.
In 2014, Sonali showcased a dynamic mix of sparkling songs paired with her energetic and auspicious vocal authority on her debut EP, Wake Up. The EP served as the introduction to her as a performer and songwriter whose mastery of pop songcraft reached far beyond any chronological age. The strength of these tracks earned her recognition as one of the Top 20 Prospects of 2014 by Music Connection Magazine, as well as a Huffington Post feature for her politically charged “Who We Are” music video.
Just as things were picking up and she was about to embark on her first tour, Sonali was diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease. Instead of spending the next few years on the road and recording as she had planned, she was forced to devote most of her time to recovering and getting back on her feet. As much of a setback as it was, the unintentional break did allow her the time to be introspective and reconsider her career and sound. While at NYU, Sonali learned a great deal about music production, which had opened her eyes to the world of electronic music. Now that she’s well on her way to recovery, Sonali has been in the studio recording with producers Eren Cannata (Cody Simpson) and Carter Matschullat, blending the pop/folk of her early works with the more recent influences of the electronic sounds she has come to love.
Through this new sound, Sonali hopes to use her platform to help give another voice to Indian-Americans in the entertainment industry. “My family is from India and that’s been a huge part of my upbringing,” Sonali shares. “Growing up, I never had anyone on screen or in music that I could look up to in that sense, and I don’t want that to be the case for kids today. Indians are finally starting to get a voice in the TV and Film world, and it’s about time that spills over into the music industry!”
With a new sound and reenergized passion, Sonali is ready to pick up where she left off.