Up and coming artist Sonata captured the attention of many Dillard University students and other New Orleanian residents on Saturday night at Club 914, where he serenaded them with his sultry neo soul singing style.
Frank Davis is a Dillard University graduate who currently holds a position at Dillard, as faculty fellow, and has been attracting people near and far with his soulful voice since the innocent age of five. The vocal performer’s love for music pushed him to educate himself on all genres of music, increasing his versatility as an artist.
Davis’s stage name, Sonata derived from the musical term sonata, which is generally a piece of music that is comprised of three or four different sections.
"I chose Sonata because I’m comprised of different elements, rhythms, and style. Sonata doesn’t have to be a certain sound, it’s all about how the lyric’s come across," said Davis. "It’s unexpecting, bringing something fresh and new into the performance," added Davis.
"I’m all about being against everything that people say I have to be," said Davis.
On Saturday night, Sonata performed three of his original pieces, consisting of a ballad called "I Plan to Love You," a rock song entitled "Here We Go Again," where he displayed his flexibility as an artist by incorporating rock with a classical sound, and a groove called "My World," which included reggae undertones.
According to Davis, the style of neo soul expands beyond the singing style of rhythm and blues. Among the many artists that Davis admires, PJ Morton is one that he believes he identifies with mostly.
"He’s not limited to what is considered gospel music, "said Davis. "His eclectic style of music has opened a pathway for other artists like me." added Davis.
While Sonata sings about love and life experiences, he makes a point to give God reverence for everything that he does.
"My songs have carnal pleasure, but I give god all his props, said Davis.
"Christ is my center. God is all of this, he is everything. He created theses feelings and emotions that we experience on a day to day basis," said Davis.
As a neo soul artist, Davis plans to bridge the gap between the carnal and spiritual world, through his music.
"It is time for the young and radical Christians who are willing to take the negative criticism of everyone, from the church people, to the nonbelievers. I think the only person who’s approval I need is God. I don’t like to live within the boundaries people set," said Davis."In order to reach the club people, sometimes the ministry may be going into the club, "said Davis.
Davis’s plan is to first relate to his audiences on an earthly level, followed by a Godly level.
Accompanying Sonata in all of his performances are his band and backup singers, whom he refers to as, "The Sanctuary."
"A sanctuary is a place of set apart for safety and refuge," said Sonata. "Being their midst, nothing can harm me." Davis added.
Davis’s backup singers are all Dillard University students who he had the pleasure of meeting in the Dillard University Concert Choir. Juniors Megan Thomas and Bianca Ross, sophomore, Sheena Sampson, and Dillard alum Kiamba Greene make up "the Sanctuary".
"I feel that Sonata did a great job of selecting members of the sanctuary. We all blend very well and compliment each other as well as him, said Sampson.
"Singing with Sonata is just like singing with family, said Thomas.
The Sanctuary is proud of Sonata’s success and strongly believe in all that he hopes to accomplish.
"Had I not come to Dillard, I wouldn’t have met the people I know, "said Davis.
Before Sonata made the decision to go solo, he had been a part of a singing group, followed by a duet group.
"I’ve been waiting for a long time, and things are finally staring to kick off for me. This is Sonata’s season. I’m ready to go, and take everybody with me that is willing to go."