From the Heart
Sonia Lee is a singer/songwriter living in Nashville, Tennessee. She moved to Nashville from Rochester, NY. There she performed live in various bands and groups, such as Calico, Dark Side of the Moon, and It's My Party. Growing up, Sonia was deeply influenced by her musical family and heritage. Her parents, who emigrated from Ukraine, encouraged her at a young age to be involved in all sorts of cultural activities- from making Ukrainian Easter eggs (pysanky), to learning Ukrainian folk dancing. Her grandmother taught her how to embroider beautiful Ukrainian patterns, and her grandfather, who became the archbishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox church of Canada in Toronto, sang with her and taught her songs at a very young age. 'My brother, Andy, and I are first-generation Ukrainians, so we were immersed in the culture - I started singing Ukrainian songs when I was three, and never stopped. We were sent to Ukrainian scout's camp every summer for three weeks, and what I remember most from those days, is that we would sing all the time! We also had to go to Ukrainian school every Saturday to learn about Ukraine's history, geography, and language. At the time, we hated it, but today I am grateful for that experience. ' Being so proud of her Ukrainian heritage, it seemed logical for Sonia's first project to be a Ukrainian one. 'I wanted to record the songs that were dear to my heart;songs I loved to listen to, and songs I used to sing at camp with my friends.' Sonia also includes one of her own songs on the album. Sonia started coming to Nashville to attend NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International) seminars in 1995. In 1998, she moved to Nashville to truly be a part of the songwriter community, and last November, she signed her first publishing deal with Tate Music Group.'It feels good when you get to the point that someone else believes in your songs enough to go out and pitch them - I feel very grateful to have gotten this far. Many people leave town before their time has come. But I don't plan on going anywhere until I hear one of my songs on the radio!' Sonia also owes a debt of gratitude to her friend and producer, Kim McLean, who heard the Ukrainian songs and decided she wanted to produce the album. 'I'll never forget the first time she heard one of the songs, because she called me and said, 'I have no idea what you're singing about, but I'm in tears over here!'' Sonia hopes that this album will reach a variety of music lovers, not just Ukrainians. While she hopes that Ukrainians everywhere will want to buy her CD, she tried to make it easy for those who don't read or understand the language to listen to it as well.'My husband represents a large segment of people who like to listen to different types of music, including multicultural music, as long as they can read along in English and know what the song is about.' So Sonia took great pains, with much help from her parents, to translate the songs into English. Since the release of her CD, she has been traveling around the United States to sing at various Ukrainian festivals. Sonia hopes you enjoy From the Heart, a collection of Ukrainian songs. Stay tuned for her next project, a collection of original songs (in the English language), coming soon. 'From the Heart . . . features 11 popular Ukrainian folk songs sung with a passion that reaches into one's soul. . . . It won't be long before we'll be reading and hearing more about this gifted singer and songwriter.' -Oleh G. Pawluk Ukrainian Federal Credit Union Quarterly, Rochester, NY.