Sonya Jevette is the oldest child of four on her mother’s side and the third oldest of six on her father’s side. She recalls a vivid memory from elementary school where there was a choir recital that called for the students’ costumes to have silver tinsels attached to their sleeves, accompanied by glitter top hats as they sang “Old black water, keep on rollin’, Mississippi moon, won’t you keep on shinin’ on me?” Immediately, she was hooked. She knew show business was her destiny.
Some of her musical influences include Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Patti LaBelle, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Melissa Etheridge, Joan Jett, Rosetta Tharpe, Ella Fitzgerald, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Sam Cook, Charlie Pride, Eartha Kitt, Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, and many more. Her current projects consist of many things but she is currently completing her BA in Communication from (ASU) – Arizona State University while establishing herself as a virtual guitar teacher and continuing to develop her company (SBP) Sound Byte Production indie Artist label.
What is your definition of tone, and how has it changed over the years?
The first guitar I ever played was from one of my mom’s friends who was staying out of our house. A black woman from California. She had a full body Yamaha. Way too big for me but I did my best. My music consists of rich and warm tones. My musical visual color scheme includes Eucalyptus Green – (breath easy), Honey-crisp Apple – (crispy and sweet), and Mandarin Orange (vitamin C) in a Sassafras brown bowl on a table in an amber gold room.
Which guitars, amps, and pedals are you currently using and why?
The changes over the last few years have been more of a comfort in my style. I have had to learn to trust my style of music. I originally wanted to do country music. I use these tools for the tone—the combination of all of these tools create the sound that I put out into the universe.
Mic: Shure 55sh Dynamic
Guitars: Epiphone Dot ES-335 Natural Blonde, Ibanez Acoustic Electric
Amp: Blonde Peavy 30/30 amp
Pedals and misc.: SKB pedalboard PS-45, Planet Wave Tuner, Live Wire ABY Box, BOSS FS-6, Cry Baby Wah, BOSS Blues Driver, BBE – Two Timer, Livewire Direct Box, Seymour Duncan pickup for the acoustic.
What about strings?
On my Epiphone Dot ES-335 Natural Blonde, I use the D’Addario ECG24 ChromeFlat wounds. On my Ibanez Acoustic-Electric, I use the Elixir Nanoweb 80/20 Med strings.
Are there certain recording techniques you prefer in the studio?
I prefer to hear the playback after I have performed the song a few times.
How do you keep your sound consistent onstage?
I keep my sound consistent by being able to hear my self. My sound, lighting, and stage presence are half my show.
What does your practice consist of?
I typically like to run scales with my vocals and guitar for about an hour before I do a set. I also like to check and make sure all of my cables and batteries are active. I work on new songs and practice my set for the upcoming shows.
What is your advice for young women who hope to work in the music industry?
I like to echo some of my favorite people in history.
“Education is the key to unlocking the world, a passport to freedom.”
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
“Use what you got until you can get what you want.”
Keep up with Sonya Below!
Photo provided by artist with permission to use