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Sonia Leigh basks in Zac Brown's universe

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Friday, November 25, 2011

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When Sonia Leigh says that she feels "extremely blessed to have the people around me that are around me," she's not being hyperbolic.

The supportive folks the 33-year-old Atlanta singer speaks of are the Zac Brown Band. The group's John Hopkins produced her 2007 album "Run or Surrender," and she was signed to Brown's Southern Ground label for her new "1978 December," which Brown and Hopkins helped to produce.

"My goal with it was just to really give the listener a view of me as a writer and an artist," Leigh explains, "to paint a picture of the diversity my writing entails and my sincerity, and also the playfulness in my writing as well.

"I just wanted to give people a picture of why I am. That's why I titled the record '1978 December.' I felt like that title track embodied me as a person, and my journey."

Leigh's connection with Brown and company goes back to her days of playing his club/restaurant Zac's Place in Lake Oconee, Ga. As part of a music community there in which "everybody was really supportive of each other, Leigh and Brown were became mutual fans of each other's work.

"When his success started building, he said, 'I want to start a record label, and I want you to be a part of it," Leigh recalls. "I couldn't think of a better way continue my career than with such a great person who I admire so much, and all the people who were around there, like Hopkins and all the other guys.

"The Zac Brown Band, they're like the Ninja Turtles of the music industry, and I get to go along for the ride."

Sonia Leigh performs with Uncle Kracker, Doop & the Inside Outlaws and Annabelle Road perform Friday, Nov. 25, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $9.95. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

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