SONA is the product of Luke DeRoy and Molly Mehlsack. Formed in Boston, Massachusetts in early 2015, the duo, both songwriting majors at Berklee College of Music, quickly discovered their chemistry. DeRoy and Mehlsack realized how powerful their voices were together and how well they worked as a writing team, consequently building a soothing escape for their listeners through elegant harmony, soaring melodies, and intricate guitar parts that create a soft/intimate, yet big, sound.
Mehlsack, 23, is no stranger to the stage. Born in Alabama but bred in New York City, she’s played lead parts in musicals as well as written on guitar and piano since middle school. As an adopted child, Mehlsack began writing music as a means to understand her own identity. She quickly realized music’s healing power and ability to bring people together. In the 5th grade, Mehlsack formed a rock band with her classmates for which she was the lead singer and rhythm guitarist. The band, Creation, raised enough money with their debut album to build a school in Mali, Africa that still exists today. Before her senior year of high school, Mehlsack moved to Brookline, MA, where she had to establish herself in an entirely new environment. She attended Berklee’s popular 5-Week Week Summer Program, where she was selected to receive an undergraduate scholarship to the college. As a senior at Brookline High School, Mehlsack made a quick and lasting impression on the students and faculty. She helped organize and perform at the “Intellijam” concert, which raised enough money to save a failing music program in Mattapan. Mehlsack graduated Magna Cum Laude from the renowned Berklee College of Music in 2016. She wants to continue her education in Music Therapy in order to marry her passion for music with her passion for helping/inspiring others.
DeRoy, 24, after graduating from Amherst Regional High School in 2010, spent the next two years honing his songwriting craft at Holyoke Community College. As a guitarist, it was there that DeRoy submerged himself into various genres and projects, eventually finding his voice after his sister heard him through the walls of their home and urged him to sing publicly. As his confidence grew, DeRoy formed an acoustic duo with a fellow classmate, sang in a small acapella choir as well as with multiple jazz combo’s, all while continuing to write and gig with his high school-formed pop/post-rock band While Stella Sleeps (lead vox/bass). In 2015 While Stella Sleeps was selected to play the Vans Warped Tour in Mansfield, MA. In 2013, DeRoy packed up his songwriting notebooks and first acoustic guitar, Maggie, to attend the prestigious Berklee College Of Music in Boston. He soon met Mehlsack and they began writing and playing in the area.
SONA’s songwriting takes after Carole King and James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and John Mayer. The soulful Adele, quirky Regina Spektor, and infamous Amy Winehouse had lasting influence on Mehlsack’s big vocal sound, and, more recently, Allen Stone has made a lasting impact on the duo. DeRoy’s songwriting and sound are often compared to the hauntingly beautiful Jeff Buckley and legendary guitarist/songwriter John Mayer. Based in part on the hushed, sorrowful sound of Daughter combined with an uplifting touch, DeRoy and Mehlsack paint a picturesque landscape that calls upon their passion for positive energy and their desire to harness a sound that encapsulates balance. Legendary influences such as Pink Floyd and the Beatles are noteworthy.
The name SONA comes from a Buddhist story entitled “Not Too Tight, Not Too Loose” in which a lute player, Sona, learns that the best method of practice is represented by the tension of the strings on the instrument itself: not too tight, not too loose. The idea of balance in all its embodiments is one of the key elements in forming the band, and the music that the duo subsequently writes.
Featuring a powerhouse full band from Berklee College of Music, “Terribly Tangled” is the five-track debut EP from SONA, set for release in July 2016. It will be available for download as well as for hard-copy purchase.