Sonia Barcelona Is Ready For ‘Whatever’

With a looper and guitar, Las Vegas musician Sonia Barcelona is making waves.

Major jam sessions are taking place in a townhouse tucked away in Henderson.

“I Just like making things,” says Las Vegas-based singer/songwriter Sonia Barcelona, whose surname was adopted following a trip to Spain.

With guitar in hand and looper at her feet, Barcelona and her roommate Jessica Manalo perform their cover of Warpaint’s “Undertow” to Manalo’s dog, Hutcherson.

With eyes closed and toes tapping, Barcelona’s passion for music reverberates throughout the vast living room. An array of musical instruments lines one of the walls: five guitars, two amps, a drum set, a Casio keyboard and one RC-30 phrase looper, to be exact. On the kitchen counter there’s a stack of records, beginning with Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors.

Disenfranchised with years of studying accounting, the up-and-coming musician ditched the debits and credits at 19 and picked up her ukulele because she knew making music was her calling. She describes herself at that time as being shy and quiet.

“My friend told me, ‘Go to an open mic and conquer your fear,’” she says, “I suppose open mics open doors.”

After performing at a few events, the desire to further pursue music became apparent. However, the butterflies never completely go away. “Each performance I’m always afraid. It’s just a matter of putting on a good poker face,” Barcelona says.

You wouldn’t know it by her poised confidence. Barcelona prefers to perform solo, using her RC-30 looper to maintain a chorus and rhythm in lieu of a band.

Her musical style is a combination of indie and pop with elements of bossa nova sprinkled in. Portuguese music, according to Barcelona, is among her biggest influences, along with Warpaint and Stevie Nicks.

“It’s an art in and of itself,” she says of mixing the different channels on her looper. “My next step is to get four to five channels to make it sound more dynamic.”

Although Barcelona’s current looper only has two tracks, her work is still quite dynamic. The layering of guitar chords in Barcelona’s newest song, “Whatever” creates an ethereal melody that complements her carefree lyrics. Whatever, whatever, whatever you want just do, she sings. If anything, the new single pays homage to her decision to leave accounting and pursue music.

She debuts “Whatever” February 22 at Pour Coffeehouse (6811 S Eastern Ave.), along with the premiere of a self-produced music video. Hand-painted CDs of her latest album will also be available for sale. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. and the concert begins at 8p.m.  

Follow Sonia Barcelona on Instagram at @ArtofSonia.