13 Years in the Life of Sonya Kitchell

The Years of Becoming
An Interview with Sonya Kitchell

Hilltown-native singer/songwriter Sonya Kitchell has been singing since she was in elementary school, knowing in 2nd grade that she wanted to be a singer. Thirteen years later at the age of twenty-one, Sonya has traveled the world and performed with an impressive list of accomplished musicians, including jazz legend Herbie Hancock.  She has released three recordings.  Her latest release, Convict of Conviction, is a six-song EP of gorgeously rendered chamber pop, including the song, “Lighthouse”.  Recently featured at the Ashfield FilmFest, the music video to “Lighthouse” was awarded the music video prize:

We caught up with Sonya recently asking her about her experiences as a talented, young person: What was it like growing up in the rural hills of Western MA;  Where did she find support that both recognized and nurtured her talent; How would she recommend parents support the creative muse in their children?


Hilltown Families: On October 10th, 2010 you have a show at Memorial Hall in Shelbunre Falls, MA with the Brooklyn String Quartet. You played there for the first time when you were just 9 years old. What do you remember about that show?

Sonya Kitchell: I remember that it was very exciting to be on such a large stage. I remember singing, “Oh What a Beautiful Morning.” My grandmother played piano and accompanied me. I remember that I loved it and couldn’t wait to do it again…

Hilltown Families: How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a singer?

Sonya Kitchell: I was seven years old.

Hilltown Families: Were your parents supportive?

Sonya Kitchell: Extremely.

Hilltown Families: The Hilltowns can be a wonderful place to grown up, but it can also have its limitations. Because of the rural enviroment, friends aren’t always close by, there’s limited access to TV and radio, the nearest cultural center can be half an hour away … how did the rural environemnt of Ashfield have an influence on your development?

Sonya Kitchell: It was simply frustrating because my parents had to drive me, if I wanted to go anywhere, and of course, sometimes they didn’t feel like it. Aside from that, I loved it, and I wouldn’t trade where I grew up for anything in the world. My heart and soul is in that land, and I believe it’s a huge part of why I am who I am. I had a lot of time to be alone in the woods and let my imagination run wild. I was a free child…. and I got my license as soon as I legally could, remedying the only detriment.

Hilltown Families: You’re a graduate of the Hilltown Charter Cooperative Public School (HCCPS) in Haydenville, MA and attended the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School (PVPA), in Hadley, MA for a portion of High School. During these years, in addition to having a very supportive family, did you have any local mentors or teachers that were a big influence on you as a singer and a songwriter?  Read the rest of this entry »

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Sonya Kitchell and the Brooklyn String Quartet at Memorial Hall

Sonya Kitchell and the Brooklyn String Quartet
At Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls, MA
Sunday, October 10th @ 7:30pm

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT GIVEAWAY: Two Tickets to See Sonya Kitchell and the Brooklyn String Quartet at Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls, MA on Sunday, October 10th at 7:30pm. Deadline to Enter to Win: 10/6 @ 7pm (EST)

Continuing our Parents’ Night Out promotions, Hilltown Families and Signature Sounds Concerts have partnered up to offer a pair of tickets for two lucky couples to see Sonya Kitchell in concert at Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls on Sunday, October 10th at 7:30pm. Joining her for this special evening is the Brooklyn String Quartet with opening act, Rusty Belle.

Win a pair of tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win: Wednesday, October 6th, 2010 at 7pm (EST). More details below.


After her 2008 album, This Storm, suggested that Pioneer Valley native Sonya Kitchell was forsaking jazz for a more pop-rock approach (and a fine one at that), the singer does a 180-degree turn with her latest recording, Convict of Conviction, a six-song EP of gorgeously rendered chamber pop. Piano has replaced guitar as Kitchell’s own instrument, and a string quartet has replaced a rock band as her backup, forefronting Kitchell’s ever-evolving, insinuating vocals, which now sound incredibly dusky, mature, and confident for someone who still is only twenty-one-years-old. After a year on the road with Herbie Hancock (as part of his Joni Mitchell tribute project) and touring with jam-band trio the Slip, Kitchell returned to Shelburne Falls, MA to write these quiet ballads and torch songs, which connect her jazz origins to progressive classical song. Credit Kitchell with following the lead of her restless muse and capturing her own moment in time.


Rusty Belle is a group of self described “weird” kids from Amherst, MA. taking a new approach on old styles. You’ll hear Americana, rock & roll, blues and folk in their sets, but you’ll never exactly pinpoint it. They provide something different,
yet beautiful as they swagger between raw blues, tiny tangos, country waltzes and backyard symphonies


Your chance to win a pair of tickets to see Sonya Kitchell in concert with the Brooklyn String Quartet at Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls on Sunday, October 10th at 7:30pm is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  1. POST A COMMENT BELOW (one entry per family) and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  4. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  5. We’ll randomly draw two winners and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, 10/06/10 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win you should still go! Tickets for adults are $17 in advance or $20 day of show (Students $10 advance or $13 Day of Show).  Tickets are also available at World Eye in Greenfield, Turn It Up in Northampton, Elmers in Ashfield , Boswell’s Books in Shelburne Falls and Signaturesounds.com. 665-4036

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