Splitting time between London and Orange County in SoCal, soul/pop/R&B artist SONI just released “Happy to Serve,” the first single from her forthcoming EP, Rebel Star, slated to drop July 24 via Buttercuts Records. A second single, “Dance With Me,” is scheduled for release on July 19.
Describing herself as a “corner shop girl singing of freedom,” SONI shares, “Yeah I’m that girl from around the way, the one pops tried to hide …. Cuz he didn’t want me to get into trouble.”
Having recently lost her Father, as well as her brother, Sunil, now there’s only SONI and her mother. Yet according to Buttercuts Records’ Andy Oury, “She is probably the most positive human being I have ever met. Full of nothing but hope, positivity, and love. And when she sings I hear emotion and beauty stream from her soul out of her mouth.”
Her first musical loves were disco and old school hip-hop, followed by singing gospel in choir in her teens, defying the brown girl stereotype. When she was 18-years-old, SONI was singing in a small choir with Lurine Cato in a local church, while working with DJ Phoenix on a tune entitled “Sunshine,” which dropped in 2001. The recipient of a Prince’s Trust Award, she was working with London Arts and City Showcase prior to traveling to the U.S. to take care of her father, who eventually passed away.
In 2019, she went first to Las Vegas, followed by London, laying down tracks for Buttercuts, working with Rebel ACA, French Monkey Wrench, Alex Hamilton, David Rogers, Paul Fowler, and Ben Laidlow. Of the eight-tracks recorded, they put the finishing touches on three of the tracks in London.
“Happy to Serve” opens on a funk-lite jazz-laced melody infused with cool savors of R&B, topped by bright, braying brass tones, imbuing the tune with infectious colors.
SONI’s scorching soulful voice injects the lyrics with palpable tantalizing timbres, edgy and raw, as well as simultaneously smoothly radiant. Her exotic/erotic inflection is both elusively familiar and, at the same time, deliciously distinctive.
On “Happy to Serve,” SONI delivers yummy vocal hues on top of smoky, sensuous harmonics riding a contagiously alluring rhythm.