Here’s What To Expect On SonRealâ€™s New EP ‘The Name’
In the midst of his first big EP, The Name, dropping today, just coming off a US tour with Jon Bellion, and news of his own headlining tour, Canadian rapper and songwriter SonReal managed to find the time to remind us heâ€™s â€œjust a regular dude, making music.â€
Before getting on stage to perform at the infamous Fonda Theatre in LA, SonReal talked to us about what to expect on The Name EP, first performances, and the even revealed someÂ awkward tourÂ stories.
Photos byÂ Dane Collison
When did you first start performing?
I started performing about eight years ago, and I had no idea what I was doing. Absolutely no idea.
Where was your first performance?
Actually my first performance ever was in my high school, in front of my entire school. I was in twelfth grade and I performed with my homie D-Man and we were both so nervous. We were so nervous that we went out in the parking lot and drank a whole bottle of wine that we had stolen from my mom. We got so drunk and then performed. I thought we killed it. Actually, you know what, I saw footage of it after and we did pretty good. Trust me, we did many worse shows after that, so our first show was… pretty lit.
So after your first performance, what was one of your most awkward performances?
I opened up for Mobb Deep. Theyâ€™re a rap group from New York, and theyâ€™re like super hood. Iâ€™m from a small ass town in Canada called Vernon and they came to Vernon BC, which is like fucking insane because Vernon has like a population of about 40,000. Nobody is coming through like that. I was such a big fan of them, especially one of the artists Prodigy. He actually watched my soundcheck, and I got so nervous I just started free styling. It was the worst freestyle ever, I donâ€™t even know what I was saying. And then afterwards I was going to say whatâ€™s up to him and I got so nervous I just walked away. I did the worst show ever, but people loved it so itâ€™s all good.
Are you super comfortable performing now?
Oh, yeah. But I mean, I still get nervous every show. I feel like thatâ€™s what makes you do a good show. Iâ€™d say Iâ€™m quite comfortable though.
If you werenâ€™t making rap music, what kind of music would you make?
Before I was ever doing rap music I was the lead singer in a punk band. We would just be singing AFI in a shitty hatchback car, I always wanted to make music, period. I donâ€™t know what genre I’d even consider myself, I just like to say I make music. I like to say my music is getting better and thatÂ Iâ€™m getting better everyday. Iâ€™m genre-less. Thereâ€™s a new song on my album that has a country vibe to it. It has a little bit of everything; rap, country, funk, soul, jazz. Whenever people ask me what kind of music I make I canâ€™t explain it. Itâ€™s just me. I wake up every single day feeling different.
The Name EP is now out. Why is it called The Name?
Itâ€™s going to be the first time people hear my name, in a lot of regards. A lot of people are just discovering me right now on tour with Jon Bellion, and I just wanted to make a statement with this album. I wanted people to get a taste of my spectrum as an artist. Every single song is very different on this one, and I wanted to give people a deeper look into me and what my name represents.
Speaking of, where does the name SonReal come from?
Honestly, out of nowhere. I just came up with it one day and it stuck. I made it up, like, it doesnâ€™t have a ton of meaning. But once it was my name, now it has all the meaning in the world, itâ€™s what people call me.
What music did you listen to growing up?
I listened to a lot of Green Day. And Fleetwood Mac. My mom played a lot of Boyz 2 Men. Bryan Adams is a Canadian legend. My dad played Neil Young. And then I got into rap music and I started listening to Nas and I was just infatuated.
What did you love about rap music?
They were just telling these lyrical stories that had nothing to do with my life. Thatâ€™s why I loved Nas and Mobb Deep so much, because they were telling stories about, like, growing up in Queensbridge, NY. AndÂ I was just a kid growing up in a tiny town in Canada. It brought me somewhere else and it gave me a story.
What do you think is missing from the music industry that you want to provide?
Honestly, just originality, and more people being themselves. Everyone tries to do whatâ€™s hot at the moment and we just need more people running over the hill first, people not being afraid to try new things or say something or do something that may not be cool. People just need to be themselves in their purest form.
What do you want your fans to know about The Name EP now that itâ€™s out?
I just want them to go listen to it, I want them to enjoy it. I think itâ€™s my best music yet. Thereâ€™s some rapping, some singing, a little bit of everything. Itâ€™s badass, I think theyâ€™ll enjoy it.