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Artist who's been singing since childhood to perform at July 13 Music in the Forest concert

Calgary-based folk/rock musician Sonia Deleo will be performing at the July 13 concert of the 2024 Music in the Forest series.

LAC LA BICHE - Calgary-based singer/songwriter Sonia Deleo is set to hit the stage of the campground ampitheatre at Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park for the July 13 concert of the 2024 Music in the Forest Series.  

For Deleo, who has been performing for decades, music is a lifelong passion. As a child, she started singing in the church where she grew up in in Thunder Bay, Ontario.  

“Music has been in my blood and bones since I was a child,” she told Lakeland This Week. “Music is my diary, it's how I take in and process the world around me, and it's how I tell stories that hopefully others can find themselves in.” 

Describing her style, Deleo says she writes folk, rock, and soul music “with an edge.”  

Her influences include Fiona Apple, Nina Simone, Ani DiFranco, and Sinead O'Connor. 

Deleo often tours with her band, The New Dads. Her sound, she explained, revolves largely around the vocals and lyrics which she says are more rock-infused when she’s playing with the full band, and a little more folk/pop during solo her gigs.  

The New Dads is comprised of Deleo, her younger brother Vinny on drums, Rauth Clement on bass, and James Pendleton on guitar. As for the name itself, as Deleo explains, the band was playing a gig a few years back, and each of the men had just celebrated becoming fathers for the first time, so the name The New Dads was born.  

“At first it was a quirky half joke...but it stuck, and I love it and people love it. So, no matter who plays with us, it's The New Dads for the foreseeable future,” she said with a smile.  

When Deleo comes to Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park July 13, she will be performing solo. It won’t be her first stop in in Lac La Biche. 

In early 2020, just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Deleo played a gig in the area. She is eagerly waiting to come back.  

“I'm excited for the intimacy of the venue and I will be telling stories, chatting with the crowd, and playing new, old and unreleased music,” she said.  

In 2022, Deleo released her debut LP, Love Notes to the Monsters. A couple of songs from the album, “Monsters” and “Walk Until,” have been favoured most by fans. The first of these tracks has been getting attention on the airwaves.  

“’Monsters’ has received lots of radio play on CBC, which is so nice,” she said, adding that the song with a spooky name had a resurgence around Halloween on other radio programs as well.  

When asked if fans can expect to see a new album in the future, Deleo says she is always working on new material. Over the past few months, she has released two singles, and another album is on her to-do list. Currently, Deleo is writing a one-woman musical for a Calgary theatre company. She will be performing a run of this musical in the company’s spring 2025 season, with hopes to subsequently tour it across Canada. This musical, she says, was inspired by the song ‘Two Moons’ on her album.  

While Deleo does quite a bit of work from her home, she also rents a studio in a shared space called Pocono HOuse with some other Calgary musicians. Deleo frequently collaborates with other musicians, some who provide background vocals on her most recent single ‘Remind Me That I’m Crazy.”  

“It's an awesome community of creators and I love being surrounded and inspired by other people working away making their art,” she stated.  

Summer stages 

As far as summer touring is concerned, the upcoming season, Deleo said, is looking “pretty neat and diverse,” adding that her band is all around the province this summer. 

In addition to the Music in the Forest gig, she is at The Aviary in Edmonton on July 4, and the Jasper Folk Festival later in September. Deleo will also be laying two solo sets at the Canmore Folk Festival from Aug. 3-5. Deleo enjoys collaborating and co-writing with other musicians. Furthermore, in addition to her regular schedule of gigs, she leaves space each year to be intentional about using music to give back in some way. This, she says, can be a performance to help fundraise for childhood cancers, or a free show for displaced refugee families whose apartment building has burned down.  

“The humanity of it all is important to me,” she stated. “People are important to me. I am very grateful to be a part of it all.” 

Music mom 

When she isn’t performing or writing new songs, the mother of two teenage girls enjoys being out in the sunshine, either walking, gardening, biking, or doing yoga. 

“I love to watch their rugby and volleyball games and embrace my role as the loud sideline mom,” she said with a laugh, adding that it will likely be a family trip to the Lac La Biche show to enjoy a little camping as well as performing.  

The Sonia Deleo show for the 2024 Music in the Forest series takes place at the Sir Winston Churchill Campground Ampitheatre on Saturday, July 13. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the music starts at 7:30 p.m. For more information-and to purchase tickets-please consult the Alberta Parks website.  


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