Karen Alese Hunt-Barker: Who is Sonnie Day?
Sonnie Day: Sonnie Day is the hardest Gospel artist who is, I guess, destined to become a household name. Sonnie Day is ministry-driven and knows how to worship and praise God!
Karen: Your background working with some of the top labels. How was it working with some of the Gospel artists such as Kurt Franklin and Jay Moss? What was that like for you?
Sonnie Day: It was definitely a wonderful experience and a blessing being able to work with so many of Gospel’s, I would say, legends and trailblazers. Many of them are down to earth. It’s just like talking to your best friend or hanging with somebody that you have known for like a while.
Karen: How did you get started in the business of music? Was it from working with them or did God just wake you up because you have the natural gift?
Sonnie Day: The spark, or the inspiration, came from me participating in Detroit’s Saints New Hymn with Deitrick Haden who is a high school classmate from Mumford. I participated in that event and at one rehearsal, Richard Mason, who was the manager at that time for Bobby Jones and the producer of the Bobby Jones show, came in and spoke to all the aspiring artists. He left some words of encouragement. Then Deitrick told us if this is what you believe God has called you to do or you feel that what was said tonight is something that is pulling all your spirit, you have got to make an investment. You need to begin to invest in what God has called you to do. At that time, for me it was business, the business of music versus me singing. I had the interest in learning the business and being behind the scene, so I chose to go to be at Bobby Jones’ retreat in Las Vegas. I planned to go there and then God opened the door for me to be able to volunteer with a label here in Detroit from just looking in the telephone book . Then I contacted Elaine Patrick Gwen who was the founder of the Mo Gospel Records at that time. She was going to Bobby Jones’ retreat and found out that I was going and I had a big chance to volunteer with her and learn some things from her label.
Karen: Let’s talk about your new song or project. How did you come up with the name and who are the producers, the record label?
Sonnie Day: This project is a compilation of twelve songs that God gave me. “Jesus”—which is the title of the CD, is something that my musicians and I were playing around in my basement. They were playing that melody over and God began to give me the words to the song. It was just a phrase that I had always said when something happens that was just miraculous to me. I would say, ‘Jesus you are a bad dude.’ Some of the producers and who worked on the CD are Darell Campbell, Jr. here in Detroit, and Dan Smith. These are like “Detroit or Michigan Hit Talents,” I call them. Darell Campbell, Jr., produced Sharon Heart’s CD as well.
Dan Smith, is from Pontiac, Michigan. Then there’s a guy by the name of A Hype, Aaron James out of Michigan; he is like the symbol of Gospel. I would say he is the “Dr. Dre” of Gospel.
Karen: What is your label called?
Sonnie Day: The label, Rooted Records, is the independent label where our music is rooted and grounded in the word of God. We do not compromise the messages that God gave us to display so that is where the “rooted” comes from.
Karen: That label also has a new group. Tell us about them.
Sonnie Day: Yes, it is a new Christian rap group and they are called the Gideon Crew that is made up of three guys. God gave them the name, Gideon, because of their tenacity when it comes to fighting demons. As you know the story of Gideon and God gave them 300 men so each one of the guys led a hundred and that is how we get the Gideon Crew. Their music is doing quite well right now. They are one of the most requested new rap groups right now that a lot of ministries and pastors ask for by name. Our ministry is strictly about outreach. That is what our music is about.
Karen: The one song that I really love the most on your CD is, “Move On.” Talk to us about that. Tell us how, who is it for and how did you get this inspiration?
Sonnie Day: Aaron James produced the track and when I heard the track, I was actually driving to the Dollar Store and God began to give me the lyrics to the song. The message in the song is really for the women that are in bad relationships . I was in this position once in my life. You know that you need to move on but somehow you just did not. Most women today are in relationships because that person tells them they are going to marry them. God gave me that song as an anthem really for women that need that extra strength to say I cannot stay in this relationship. I sang “Move On” at our church on Easter Sunday for the first time. One of our members had been in a relationship with her boyfriend for seven years; they had been living together. She went home and told him, ‘If you cannot marry me, I cannot be with you no more.” That is the hook of the song and they ended up getting married months later. I realized that the song has some power and anointing.
Karen: That is so true. I love that song. You helped the City of Detroit with a program for girls. What is that called? What is the name of that foundation?
Sonnie Day: The Ruby Girls Teen Program. It’s a non-profit organization for girls aged 13 to 18. We help give them guidance and do workshops on careers and personal awareness. It is kind of like my heart when it comes to girls . Helping girls is one of my passions.
Karen: I want you to give some advise to future girl groups. How can people purchase your CD?
Sonnie Day: Number one, make sure that you make your calling and election sure because everyone is not called to be in the forefront. Some people are called to be background singers in a choir, so make sure that your calling is to be in the forefront. Secondly, make sure that this is ministry-driven and not money-driven. And third, learn this business of music. Learn how it works and learn the ins and outs of it and make sure that it is your passion. If no one ever pays you to do it, would you still do it? That’s how you know it is your passion. And make sure you are anointed because everybody that is singing is not anointed. It’s the anointing that is going to make the difference.
Right now, you can purchase my CD at God’s World locally. There are some things we are working on, so right now it is just available locally. I have not put it online as of yet. You can also contact Rooted Records at 313-468-5495.
Karen: Where are you touring currently?
Sonnie Day: Currently I am participating with the One Day, One Love, One God Tour and with PGK network. That tour is scheduled up until Thanksgiving. We have dates here in Detroit and Ohio. Then next year, they are beginning to book us out of state. I know we are heading to Atlanta and some of the Southern states.
Karen: What is your website address?
Sonnie Day: www.sonnieday.com or the www.myspace.com/sonnieday2