F You 2
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F You 2

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1933 | SELF

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 1933
Band Alternative Funk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Sonnyboy brings his music back home.... New York soul, Wisconsin roots"

Sheldon Riser says he was "tricked" into playing the organ at Parklawn Church in Milwaukee when he was still in grade school. "I didn't want to do it," he says. "I wanted to be outside playing on a Sunday."

His family owned an organ. In his spare time, Riser taught himself how to play. Unwittingly, he was training himself for Sunday performances. "My dad was a DJ, and he had a big collection of soul albums by artists like the Ohio Players," recalls Riser. "I would sit at the organ and play along to those records. After my mom heard me, she insisted that I play at church."

A mother's persistence sometimes pays off. So it has for Riser, who performs as Sonnyboy. Now based in Brooklyn, N.Y., Riser has emerged as an influential alternative soul songwriter. He's also a composer and arranger who's redefining the intersection of electronic music technology, funk and soul.

Sonnyboy has released four independent albums in the past 10 years, including this year's Barfly Theory. He's gained a following playing to audiences throughout the U.S. and Europe. He performs in Madison at R Place on Park next Thursday, Sept. 23.

Music was no longer a chore for Riser by the time he graduated from Milwaukee's High School of the Arts. "Some friends of mine had moved to Minneapolis from Milwaukee," he says. "It was the heyday of Prince and Purple Rain. People were flocking to Minneapolis because it was a vibrant scene."

Riser initially enrolled at the University of Minnesota but soon chose to pursue music full-time. He auditioned to play in the band supporting P-Funk vocalist Mallia Franklin, a significant player in the history of 1970s funk. Franklin is credited with introducing George Clinton to Bootsy Collins, which sparked the formation of P-Funk.

"She was someone who changed my ability as a musician," says Riser. "She was a drill sergeant and whipped me into shape."

In 1995, Riser formed Sonnyboy in Minneapolis. "City Pages [a Twin Cities weekly newspaper] wrote about us and Rolling Stone said we were one of the best unsigned bands in Minneapolis," recalls Riser. "But by that time hip-hop had picked up. Labels would ask us, 'Are you guys willing to be more hip-hop?'"

Riser moved to New York in 1998. He decided to stop waiting for a music deal and to forge ahead with defining his own musical path. "I learned a lot about the industry in New York," he says. The music industry, Riser discovered, didn't want to develop artists anymore. It wanted to discover artists who had already developed a strong following.

"That's when I started putting out my own albums and scheduling my own shows," he says.

Riser has used music production software to compose and arrange much of his music across four albums. He wrote, recorded, mixed and mastered his 2006 release, Psych-Delic-Ghetto-Vibe.

This year's Barfly Theory thrives on steady-beat, mid-tempo funk. The keys, bass and drum work are topped with layers of groovy synth and electric guitar. On "Shake That Thang," Sonnyboy turns up the tempo and rocks.

Riser says he's looking forward to his tour stop in Madison. "I've still got a lot of family in Milwaukee," he says. - Rich Albertoni - The Daily Page - Madison, WI

"The Soulful Sonnyboy Side of Life"

Not sure what this night will bring.. but I’m still thinking fondly back to last week. Friday, October 8th, NYC. So far as I was concerned, Joe’s Pub was the live music place to be – witnessesing to the soulful sounds of poet, groove master and soulful Sonnyboy, celebrating the launch of their latest CD, The Barfly Theory. We shared a link earlier this year of their video, Clock of the Heart, which was the encore for the show. - Chicks with Guitars

"Sonny Boy - The Barfly Theory Review"

Music is about finding sounds to express a feeling and capturing a moment in time. A lot of today’s music misses those moments and rely heavily on trends and technology. It’s always refreshing to hear an artist that goes against the grain and reshapes the idea of genres. Sonny Boy is one of those artists.

The name may be new to a lot of people but SonnyBoy has been around for a minute. Putting out 5 independent albums and doing countless performances. Born in Louisiana and raised in Milwaukee Sonny Boy brings a sound that cant be confined to rock, soul or R&B. Trying to categorize it would only do it a disservice. How could you categorize it when his influences consist of artists such as Erykah Badu, Sly and the Family Stone, Isley Brothers and Maroon 5.

Sonny Boy’s current release The Barfly Theory is a mix of a little bit of everything. Just when you thought you pegged down his sound the next track will come on and take you in a completely different direction. Take for instance the funky as hell “She like Rock & Roll” with its heavy synths and gospel organs and keys. It’s one of those songs that make you want to play air guitar in your underwear in front of the mirror. Then there is the ultra smooth and sexy “Special Friend” reminiscence of Van Hunt’s “Down Here in Hell with You”. On “Special Lady” Sonny Boy showcases a much more laid back side of himself. The song makes you want to sip on something and dance close to someone “special”. The surprise of the album is the first single a cover of Culture Club’s “Time”. It happens to be one of my all time favorite songs so I was skeptical about someone covering it. But I must say that Sonnyboy did it justice kept it close to the original enough to not destroy the song but added enough of his own personality to make it his own.

Music again is about capturing moments and The Barfly Theory captures enough moments to make the album completely different than what you are used to but not so different that you could not relate. Musically the album takes you on a journey through the mind of someone that is a student of music and understands that capturing the moments is what makes music special.

- Focused Magazine

"Sonnyboy: The Barfly Theory Review"

This New York-based artist was born in Louisiana and raised in Milwaukee before making a name for himself in the Minneapolis music scene. His latest album is a strong, ‘70s-influenced set blending soul, funk, rock, blues and hip hop with funky keyboards, trippy rock guitars, tight horn riffs, bumping rhythms, creamy vocals and lyrics ranging from lust-driven to politically inspired. 9/16/2010 -Don Yates - Don Yates - KEXP Seattle

"It was nice to be back in New York City to check out a show by the one and only (DRUM ROLL, PLEASE..................) SONNYBOY!!!"

I haven't seen SonnyBoy in a good while and I was dying to hear what he has created since the last CD "Psycho-delic-ghetto-vibe". I also got a chance to hang out with SOUL-PATROL.COM's Bob Davis and his lovely wife, Harriet. I only wish that I could have gotten some better snapshots but FLASH photography wasn't allowed....but it's okay.

At 9:30pm, the fun started an introduction to the funk by SOUL-PATROL's own BOB DAVIS (APPLAUSE!!!!!), followed by the start of the SonnyBoy performance. A looped sound sample started off the "BarFly Theory", which led into "Satisfy U"....this was some NASTY FUNK STUFF that will straighten out your curls! Super-funky with some great rhythm guitar funkiness by one and only Sheldon Riser aka SonnyBoy. The fun continued into the reggae-funk extravaganza called "I'm Soul Music"...TOO HOT! SonnyBoy had the fans singing along with some chant....of course, we need some help getting the chant right! "Who's Been Lovin' U" was funky, featuring some meaty bass lines by Mark Bass! "Special Friend" was the one slow ballad featured in the set. After the slow pace, it was on to some SUPER-HEAVYWEIGHT FONK with The Isley Brothers's "Fight The Power"....talk about some SERIOUSLY NASTY FUNK-ROCK MADNESS!! YOU COULD TRY TO CUT THE FUNK WITH A KNIFE.....AND STILL WOULDN'T GET THE KNIFE ALL THE WAY THRU!!!!

"Josephine Brown" (a blast from the past) was perfect with the nice piano riffing by Eric "The Pearl" Wilson and a soaring lead guitar line by SonnyBoy himself. I loved how the band sped up the tempo towards the end and Ron Fleming was ON FIRE on the drums! "She Like Rock 'n' Roll" featured spacey keys by The Pearl, including a spacey synthesizer solo. SonnyBoy even threw in a little bit of "Devil's Got You High", complete with a smokin' lead guitar solo!! "Reverend Jones" was good, but even better was the soulful remake of The Culture Club's "Time (Clock of the Heart)".

The SonnyBoy set was over at 10:40pm.

--David "Dr. Brookenstien" Brooks
- David "Dr. Brookenstien" Brooks - Soul Patrol

"Quickie Album Review - "The Barfly Theory" by SonnyBoy"

SonnyBoy (Shel Riser) is an artist who has independently produced 4 watershed albums over the past decade. He is a "multi-instrumentalist" (guitar, keyboards, drums, etc.) sings like Al Green/D'Angelo/Prince and takes his name from a Blues legend (Sonny Boy Williamson) and he looks like he could have been a member of Sly & the Family Stone. Although many of you have not heard of SonnyBoy, he has a huge "cult following," on the internet and within the "underground NYC music scene." A native of Milwaukee, His career started in the late 1980's in Minneapolis, as a member of the Prince Camp (Mazzarati.) However since the mid 1990's he has been living in NYC and creating ground breaking Funk, Rock, Soul and Dance recorded music and doing killer live shows for integrated audiences in wide range of nightclubs around the country. He recently completed a "mini tour" of Pittsburgh, Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison and Minneapolis. On 10/8/2010 SonnyBoy will be celebrating the release of his latest album "The Barfly Theory," in NYC at the esteemed Joe's Pub in Greenwich Village.

If you search the internet you will see many different attempts to describe the music of SonnyBoy. Most of them are dead wrong. His music is almost impossible to describe. He is something of a "chameleon" in that once you think that you have it figured out, it becomes something else. Most of the descriptions have more to do with what Shel Riser looks like (a young Black man who has been somehow magically transported from the 1970's to right now) than with the actual music itself. The music itself is perhaps more accurately described as "a visionary universal fusion incorporating all Black music styles from Gospel to Rap and everything else in between." It is a vision which includes using both the past & present as tools to shape the future. However even that description seems to me to be somewhat limiting, so therefore it becomes a requirement in trying to figure this out to dig deeper and to explore each individual song on each individual album to try to come up with the answer.

Below is the track by track review of "The Barfly Theory"
SonnyBoy - http://www.sonnyboymusic.com

1. Satisfy U 3:24
Interesting way to start the album off. This song begins with some classic 80's hip hop style riff, reminiscent of Public Enemy. That is quickly morphed into a jazz groove which quickly turns into a sly stone/stax ish soul/funk joint (including horns.) It's almost as if SonnyBoy is giving us an opening salvo to remind us that however you may have seen his music described; that it really is just two things; "all of the above and funky."

2. Who's Been Loving You 3:11
SonnyBoy is often mistakenly compared with Lenny Kravitz or Ben Harper. IMHO that is yet another misguided & lazy attempt to use the physical appearance of Shel Riser to describe the sound of the music. This would be the worst possible way to describe the music. Unfortunately in the case of this song, it's a correct description. This song is "beatle_esque & boring," picks up towards the end, but not enough to save it. I really tried to like this song. And in the end, (just like with Lenny & Ben) if you have to try that hard to like something/someone, is it really worth the effort?

3. Time (Clock of the Heart) 4:11
I can clearly remember the day when I interviewed Lester Chambers of the Chambers Brothers and he told me the story of how the Chambers Brothers auditioned for the job to be the house band on the 1960's TV show "Shindig." Lester told me that the show's producer instructed the band to play Elvis Prestley's Heartbreak Hotel, in the empty TV studio. Lester said that they decided to play "Heartbreak Hotel" as "funky as hell." Before they stopped playing the studio was filled with ABC employees from all over the building who had heard the music playing thru the speakers all over the building. When they finished playing "Heartbreak Hotel," the now full studio erupted with a standing ovation. After the studio cleared, the producer informed the Chambers Brothers that they had the job, under one condition. They had to promise to NEVER play "Heartbreak Hotel" again under ANY circumstances, because if people were to hear their version, nobody would ever want to listen to the Elvis version of the song again. And that's the story of how the Chambers Brothers became the very first Black band to star in a mainstream/network TV show. We often use the term "cultural banditry" on Soul-Patrol, whenever Elvis Presley's name comes up. This story of the Chambers Brothers playing the Elvis Presley song far better than Elvis ever could have could be described as "cultural revenge." For some reason SonnyBoy's version of this 1980's hit song by the group "Culture Club" reminded me of that story (and now I forgot what else I wanted to say about the song, so I guess you will simply have to listen to it for yourself.)
Check out the video at: http://www.sonnyboymusic.com

4. She Like Rock N Roll 3:30
Do you like D'Angelo? Do you like a heavy/greasy/funky organ, a' la Booker T. & the MG's? (then you will love this song.) This song is nothing short of a full out assault using a certain kind of Black music tradition that is one part "southern soul"," two parts stone cold funk. Put it all together and get ready to take off in a rocket ship.

5. Special Friend 4:25
Starts out like a Hendrix style slow jam and then morphs into a Maxwell style slow jam, with an occasional nod to the Isley Brothers. An entire album of songs like this would be the stuff of the wett dreams of 25 - 55 year old females all over the world. It's also the stuff of the wett dreams of marketing executives, because they could make a whole lot of money off of an entire album of songs like this, after all isn't it 25 - 55 females who spend most of the money in our society?

6. Shake That Thing 3:16
What we get here is a pop/rock/funk song that is seemingly far more inspired by Gnarls Barkley, than by Charles Barkley. This is a fun dance track where one is urged over and over to "shake that thang." It's a great song and I dare you not to get up and "shake that thang," when you hear it.

7. Make you go Crazy 2:52
This song sounds like it would fit in nicely on a Sly & the Family Stone album, if a brand new Sly and the Family Stone album could be made in 2010. It's a near perfect blend of rock/pop/funk/soul. (with a little scat singing thrown in)

8. Another Galaxy 4:09
Starts out like a Hendrix/Sun Ra inspired song and then quickly morphs into a Prince like slow jam and then back to Hendrix & Sun Ra again. In other words this song is an artistic masterpiece

9. Barfly Theory 3:13
The title track of the album. We are all over the age of 21 here and we all certainly know what a "barfly" is. This song is all about an "intoxicated conversation." (LOL)

10. Strange People 3:01
I dunno what to make of this song. It seems to want to be a spoken word tune, but there is some heavy instrumentation here. I think that he wanted to make a serious statement here, but stops short for reasons unknown to me. Maybe he should have just simply said what was on his mind with clarity and called it a day?

11. Im Soul Music 3:21
Despite the title this seems to be a reggae inspired song. I don't like reggae, but you might?

12. Good Love 3:33
This songs starts out sounding like "Smokey Harlem Jazz Bar in 1953." It morphs into something that I might describe as "Minneapolis Glam Slam 1983." If you think that sounds like it would be an interesting trip to take, then you will love this song. (I know that I did)

13. Ashamed of Myself 4:06
This song absolutely reminds me of a Hendrix slow jam like "Angel." What a perfect way to end a great album.

So out of the 13 songs on "Barfly Theory" I found10 of them to be compelling. At the end of the day that is an unusual batting average for albums produced in 2010 and I have no problem recommending that you add this high quality piece of visionary art, from an artist who has independently produced 4 watershed albums over the past decade.

The real prognosis for the "Barfly Theory" by SonnyBoy has less to do with the actual quality of the album itself. And has much more top do with if the "core audience" for this album is even awake in 2010. Or "are the kind of people who normally buy cutting edge/compelling music even paying attention to music anymore?


Bob Davis
Co-Founder www.soul-patrol.com
Blues, Hip Hop and Soul Music Director www.radioio.com

--Bob Davis
Co-Founder www.soul-patrol.com
Blues, Hip Hop and Soul Music Director www.radioio.com
- Soul Patrol

"Big Boys Interview with ArtSoul Entertainment arti"

Monday afternoon, I received a call from ArtSoul Entertainment artist SonnyBoy, to hear the new music he`ll be releasing sometime in the spring. At 3 p.m. I took a crowded sub way to Bedsty, Brooklyn walking down a very quit block, knocked on the door and entered this 70`s style apartment smelling of incense. Shel/ Sonnyboy greeted me at the door, where he was laboring over a laptop, talking on the phone with his Web designers, Nat Nedmonds.

The next two hours took me from his room to a truck Shel referred to as " Mary Jane," where we listened to one set of songs; into his studio were he played a Rhodes piano, he played cuts by his new protege, Sola Rey; and into the main studio room, where more song from " Bar Fly Theory," the album that we been hearing about for 2 years, boomed through the speakers as we sat in this very small sound room studio.

Needless to say, it was an amazing experience. After the jump, a few tidbits, including Shel`s promise of a The NY Under Ground Soul Tour in Europe and the US.

Sonnyboy will release not one, but 2 albums in the new year. He`s been working with an high profile attorney negotiating with "major retailers" to distribute the music in physical form, and a new website will also provide an opportunity to buy the new album. "The music business is changing," he said several times throughout the day.

He`s found his way back to the sound of " Afro Soul" the first Album from Sonnyboy. The new album titled "BarFly Theory," is an electro-flavored solo effort recorded at ArtSoul Studio. Shel experimented with Digital Performer and "new ways of recording" on these trippy, experimental Soul, Funk, R&B songs. One features a G Little rap; another is a mid tempo soul song that has a Maxwell flavor to it.

In the 2 years we haven`t heard from Sonnyboy, he`s written over a 100 new songs. " I need ammo for the mean streets he said... I am also working on a jazz album, the tracks are Mile Davis funk like, co produced by Mark Bass on bass Shel playing keys and drums, and a number of well none horn players. The songs are very psychedelic trip Hop Jazz like, "this is music I drink red wine to," Shel said, explaining how sensual music fits in with the New york lounge life style. " You can chill with someone and vibe on the songs. You can really get yo conversation on with a lady."

He his been playing guitar a lot more these days, as he plays a guitar driven song called World Gone Crazy... "Bar FlyTheory" is rooted in very soulful guitar work. Shel said he refocused on his playing while performing live dates with the singer Sola Rey, with the spotlight turned on someone else, I could play solos and rifts and just be one of the brotha`s in the band.
BarFly Theory" is a varied album, featuring cuts recorded over the course of two years, but standout tracks include Satisfy You and " I Want To Be High "Soul Music" which Shel said was partly inspired by Bob Marley.

Barfly Theory is poised to be the album that will introduces Sonnyboy to the world....

Big Boy
- Big Boy Entertainment

"Chronic Magazine talks about Sonnyboy"

By. Shannon Cook

After listening to Sonny Boys latest release, Psycho-Delic-Ghetto-Vibe, you may find yourself asking, how exactly does Sonny Boy manage to pull it off? Remarkably so, Sonny Boy a.k.a Shel Riser, wrote, composed, arranged, mixed and mastered, every song on his album. Playing every instrument on this recording, Sonny Boy manages to encapsulate the sounds of a poignant era in music, he credits Prince for. Psycho-Delic-Ghetto-Vibe revamps the hardcore soul-funkadelic Minneapolis sound that transformed the way people listened to music, back in the day, when songs were created to last, aged gracefully like fine vintage wine, and musicians lived and died for the funk. Prince created that era, good music came out that environment (Minneapolis).

A self-taught musician, Sonny, plays ten instruments including: keyboard piano, drums, organ, guitar, and percussions. Born and raised in Monroe, Louisiana, his love and admiration for music took root at home. His father a straight up soul & blues man was a local DJ known for spinning the classic sounds of Sly Stone, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, B.B. King, and Rick James. Shel explains, My brother and I would wait until he left and wed listen to everything...He had a guitar that he kept under his bed, one day we broke a string, and after that, I just remember him selling the guitar to his cousin. Back then I never knew why I was so broken hearted.

Music was a constant fixture in the Riser home, Shels mother, a devout church going woman, played and sang gospel hymns around the house. Attending church every Sunday was a requirement for Shel and his siblings, For young people (church) is either you singing in the choir or playing in the choir, When the church organ player, spotted young Shel eyeing him as he played, he quickly recruited him as his student. The organ player quit, and he passed the gig onto me Mom was like, Baby you know you all the songs Which meant I had to get up earlier than everyone else for church. Thinking back Shel laughs, at the thought of the organ player planning his escape, and preparing Shel to take his place.

Like food, air and water, music has always been an essential ingredient in Shels life. I had this organ in my room and Id try to play everything on it. The pastor would say, You shouldnt be playing this kind of music! At the time, I was playing Stevie Wonder songs. I thought if somethings wrong with that, Im out. I didnt consciously know it at that time, nor could I understand, how anyone could see Stevie Wonders music as sinful? . Ultimately the Pastors persistent disapproval of secular music pushed Shel further and further away from the church.

Introduced to Jazz and Be Bop, while attending Milwaukees High School for the Performing Arts. The diverse sounds of Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, Led Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendrix were groovy additions to Sonny Boys Soul & Blues repertoire. His exposure to the richness of Jazz, served as catalyst for change. Motivated to delve deeper into his music, Sonny Boy fearlessly developed his sound. Jazz is about playing fluidly, not letting yourself, be held by song structure.
Before landing his first big break playing with Craig Screamer of Mazarati, Sonny Boy played with several bands, attended college for two years, and managed a fast food restaurant. Playing with Screamer, was a consistent gig, which came with a new set of problems and responsibilities, Shel tells, At that time I was just burnt out. Id come to audition in a band, and be told, you got to learn 33 songs in a week. Sonny Boys gig with Screamer eventually opened the door for an even bigger opportunity, playing with the Malia Franklin. It was really a blessing that I was in that scene with the grandmother of P-Funk. Malia introduced Bootsy Collins & George Clinton. As Malias keyboard player, Sonny Boy, faced the ultimate challenge, It was the hardest gig of my life because the musicians I was playing with were the masters of their instrument. The pressure was spread on thick, he explains, I couldnt play anything wrong or else Malia would be all over me. Malia, had earned a fierce reputation, for firing musicians and immediately replacing them, Shel describes, Malia, was like a tyrant with a personality like night/day. She could cuss you out and later offer to make you a plate of food. Looking back, Shel now laughs at the serious case of nerves he caught every night before playing Malias music onstage with the guy that taught Prince in the band. Man, I was so scared to touch my keyboard (laughs). Playing with musicians of such a high caliber meant going there with the music every night. Shel explains, Malia simply made sure that her musicians were on point. Not spared from her wrath, Sonny Boy, recalls I actually got bold one time, on that night Malia had this big guy with her and we just

played a show. She came down stairs yelling at me about something I played, and she put my money on the keyboard, and, that pissed me off, and I through it at her. I just remember her being livid, and then she said, If I didnt love your punk ass I would let Lou kick your ass! His hardest gig to date stands out as the most enlightening one, which he says, prepared him the most. When it came time to audition put together my own band, I was ready. Ready and willing to do it all over again, Shel says, It was really a blessing to be in that musical environment with Malia The Grandmother Of Funk, and being pushed in a boot camp kind of way.

Minneapolis, once a testing ground for Sonny Boy, was suddenly just a safe haven. Over the years, the scene became too small, At that time, I had a little one thing I was doing in a small town (Minneapolis), to move to New York City...Man (sigh), I got here and it was rough, it was like you gotta run, sink or swim. In New York, you really have to understand the business.
Having toured with artists from Princes Paisley Park label, The Parliament Funkadelic, and Mary Harris of Spearhead, Sonny Boy, knew that it was time for a change of pace and scenery.

On his early recordings Sonny Boy strayed away from singing, he admits I never thought of myself as a singer. Others were like you should just assemble your own band. Morris Hayes, (known for his years of touring and recording with Prince and later Maceo Parker) was someone I could trust, whod listen to my stuff, and he really would critique my stuff. Morris words sparked a flame in Shel, when he suddenly asked, Why are you still letting other people sing on your stuff? From that day forward, Shel, stepped out of the shadows and into the forefront, as Sonny Boy (the nickname given to him by his grandmother) freely expressing his innermost feelings through song.

Psychodelic-Ghetto-Vibe, is a beautiful collage of songs that musically deliver layers of diverse sound, funk& soul fused ever so fluid. This album proves that good musicians are alive and kickin, and good music is still being created. Sonny Boys, lyrics amplify the sentiments and concerns of people surviving in the ghetto, who despite having the worst socio-economic status, somehow make a dollar out of a dime. Shel warns, This album is inspired by all things I see happening in the world. Living up to his self proclaimed moniker, The Urban Misfit, Sonny Boy, serves up plentiful portions of food for

thought, without sounding preachy. The albums opener It Dont Matter, sanctions an electrifying soulfunkdafied ride. , Sonny Boys testifies, It dont matter if you player hating, gaming on me/ It dont matter if you really playing, keep it funky/ It dont matter how you do it, you just do your own thing/Got to keep you high.

Josephine Brown, is an ode to the phenomenal girl Shels block who had it all going on back in the day. There was a girl down the block from me who was only eighteen or nineteen, but she wasnt like anyone else and she listened to all kinds of music. It was cool and attractive that she had her own thing going on and was proud of it. Stirring up a sweet seductive groove, tapered off with a slow winding gospel-tinged organ riffs, Josephine professes a backporch, jazz kissed-down home blues sermon bout the young dame, Sonny Boy sings, Made a brotha wanna work a 9 to 5.

A personal favorite I Wanna Be Free is a freedom cry anthem, with an unexpected alternative-rock edge, reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix, and a kin to the global frequency of U2 or Rolling Stones. Sonny Boys dynamic drums sequences, striking chords, and beautiful melodies invite you to sing along. I want to be free Im tired of all the lies/ Wanna see it from the other side/ Cause I know theres a reason why/ And I know you sellin me a lie/ And I know somethings wrong/ I wanna be free

Sonny Boy, garnered rave reviews with his second release Afro Soul, respectively named Minneapolis Best New Unsigned Band from Rollingstone. Wasting no time, he assembled a diverse band, and solidified tour dates throughout Asia, Canada, and Europe. With two successful independent releases to date, on his label Artform Entertainment, he maintains that when it comes to independently releasing projects, The best thing to do is take time to think. Maintaining a level of independence is one thing. To ask another to do business (sighs), Its totally different story, especially when you know with or without their help your fine.

With new developments in technology (digital downloads, myspace, and music/video game licensing opportunities) shaping the way music is marketed, promoted, and distributed to consumers, Shel admits, You have to be a good business person. As technology changes it alters things, and it either gives or takes. Gone are the days when American artists/bands could just backpack it across Europe, find their

market overseas and rack up on record sales. The power shift, has placed a strong hold on the music markets in Holland and Germany, Being an Independent artist overseas is still good, but its changed since corporations have bought further into everythingYou use to be able to tour with no distribution, Its not that way anymore. A lot of artists still have that old interpretation that they just have to do their work here, and that overseas is a safe haven or smaller market.
Nowadays, the grind overseas is more intense for American artists, as record sales are not guaranteed without adamant distribution. Overseas the way that people perceive music is based on their ability to get it. Some people will give you the shallow understanding that music from here is well received all of the time overseas.
This time around, with a sea of promising opportunities surfacing, Shel remains optimistic, yet proceeds with caution when delivering Psycho-delic-ghetto-vibe. Refusing to succumb to the pressures to commercialize his sound or conform to industry standards, he explains, Ive been asked to produce for Hip Hop artists In order for me to produce an artist, they would have to be the right one. Once I work with an artist its like were mused together, then its like were family.
The future looks bright and clear for Sonny Boy, Psycho-delic-ghetto-Vibe created a buzz overseas, following live dates in March 2006 with Martin Luther and Floetry, in Czech Republic and the UK. With new dates already scheduled in Europe for August 2006, its only a matter of time before Sonny Boy brings the Funk to your neck of the woods. Until then he urges listeners to Pray for peace in the world and the day when music can bring people of different worlds together again. - Shannon Cook


In 1995, Shel Riser (SonnyBoy) formed his eponymous multi-piece band in Minneapolis, parlaying his experience playing with the associates of Parliament Funkadelic and Spearhead into a fresh amalgamation of classic soul, rock and funk. He’s remained indie as hell since then, performing, recording and writing on his own terms. Sonny’s latest, Psycho-delic-ghetto-vibe, doesn’t take any calculated risks, but manages to impress on a variety of levels.

With a rich, honest and infectiously warm voice that could melt through the frozen layers of Lake Minnetonka, Sonny echoes the vocal styles of D’Angelo and Prince. In fact, he actually toured with artists from the Former Symbol’s Paisley Park label. His talents on the mic serve as the fulcrum for Psycho; his performances are dutifully expressive, dripping with an
extroverted honesty that reflects his appreciation of the gospel and R&B traditions.

Opener “It Don’t Matter” sets expectations high, with embedded scratch sounds and well-timed organ runs that enhance Sonny’s playful vocals. With “Josephine Brown,” he sings the praises of a woman so fly that she could “make a brother want to work a nine to five.” The track’s agile horns frame the singer’s neo-Fitzgerald scatting perfectly. “Hard Times” showcases
Sonny’s greatest strength: achieving that guttural, almost painful blues sound that usually only comes as a result of endless heartbreak and years of cigarette smoking.

The band’s musicians play at an extremely high level as well. The waltz-leading drums on “I Want To Be Free” make Sonny’s crooning sound like you’re hearing it live. A cranky, wonderful guitar riffs along the distorted bass line in “I Remember.” Sonny’s piano on “Corners Of Your Mind” reminds listeners that Johnny Legend isn’t the only dude that can do it like that.

Psycho is an overwhelmingly valuable album, but there are a few flawed aspects that detract from the experience. Sonny’s cadence can get repetitive at times, and with many of the songs hovering around five minutes or longer, you may want to hit “next” on your player instead of nod your head. Additionally, tracks like “I Want To Be Free” are simply too big for their
britches, and end up sounding a bit like bonus songs from the RENT soundtrack.

Regardless, the album still bursts with good music, and
independently-produced music at that. The band’s done it on their own for a decade, and show no indications of changing their approach. Keep it up, Son!

– Drew Lazor

- Drew Lazor

"Sonnyboy Rocks Franks Lounge!!!!!!"

The After-Show Revue (um, that`s Review)...
It’s almost 2 a.m. I’m home. Blurry-eyed, Chinese-chicken-winged and fried. But mostly, I am sore-throated from whooooping it up for Sonny Boy. To say that they turned tha mutha out, would be an understatement!

Wow! Where to begin…
· With the big, tight sound that made you look around to see who-all-else joined the band from offstage?
· With the infectious hooks that snagged you into thinking you already knew the songs even though you had never heard them before in your life? (Can we say “Snaggle-puss?”)
· With the slick-@ss mid-song breaks done “just so?” (Yeah, done just so yo’ @ss will cheer 3-times louder when the groove returns to yo’ eardrum.)
· With the driving grooves that escalate perfectly, making you nod progressively harder with anticipation only to stop on a dime (to more cheers)?

Sonny Boy! You rocked it! Your tight-@ss grooves, your inter-locked-ness wit each other onstage, your exuberance, your twang-chucka-twan-ka-twang-chop spread thick like Karo dark corn syrup over a biscuit converted Bob Davis’s recent “Just Show Up” admonishment into a mantra! And speaking of conversions, yes! Sheldon Riser took us to church! That voice! The range! His dynamics! His cadence evoked a revival meeting (“Can I get a witness?”) while his especially skilled and adept scat evoked live trombones and horns (“Blow Gabriel, Blow!”) Even his ballad went down sweet and “Cool, Daddy-O!”

And then, there’s Sonny Boy, tha band! Okay, I don’t get out much, I admit it… But I never seen a 6-string BASS… or any bass mastered and broke down like that! Sheldon too, switched guitars and tickled them strings like it was a keyboard, and speaking of keyboards now, we goin’ back to church! The sounds—all of them: Organ, brass, the solos… they rose, they soared, they completely filled the space from back-to-front and from ear-to-ear. On to rhythm guitar who sync’ed the sound, held it together and tight and bobbed in agreement with e’rybody…And y’ain’t got rhythm if y’ain’t got drums! Again, tight as a muh-fuh… They jammed! Even when breaking down the set, they jammed. They love what they do! And we were loving them loving what they do! (Call the CDC! It’s Infectious and spreading.)

Sonny Boy! I was already over budget... (took a cab to be there at 9 p.m. the scheduled showtime—yeah! I kno, don’t you know ______-time? [Fill in the blank with whichever group you want to—cuz you know we’z all guilty of it!]...tipped the driver unusually high cuz I was his last fare for the day and you know, I was feeling pretty good. I was going to see Sonny Boy! And, StJuste rocked the club as a warm up, so you know I had to cop her extended CD-single as well)… But check it?! Once inspired, budget cain’t stop me. And it’s not about “Oh, I can get summa dat (a CD-r copy), off of So-and-so…” It is about being caught up in a moment and surrounded by a sound because I just showed up. It’s showing appreciation and support for the artist. It’s getting that CD autographed… Naw, not cuz you’s a groupie, but cuz ya really dug the sound. And now, it’s personal! And y’caint git more personal than an autograph! (Well, y’can, but c’mon, we’re talking in public, people!!!)
It’s about coming away with a little piece of the night. That night. Last night! When I saw Sonny Boy, Kick-@ss LIVE onstage and in person!

Alas, the clock struck 12 a.m. “Let ‘em play, let ‘em play!” I whined to the em-cee who had just given the band “tha signal.” Introductions ensued, and set break-downs immediately followed. The abrupt ending left me hungry, tho. And that’s when CDs were immediately copped! For those who showed up: Deep and multiple inner-ear-gasms! (Right?!) For those who will show up next time: Make that happen!! I will offer you tha money-back guarantee! (Shoot!!)

(a/k/a J`La) ("Official" S-P`r for approx 3 years, previously a lurker going back 3 more!)

PS Bob and Mike: Great to finally meetcha in persons! (`Bout time, righ-eeee`?) Chief Osceolo: Great to meetcha.
- AKA Jovie

"Sonnyboy" spielt am Freitag im Club Habana"

Amberg. (cza) "Soul at its best" ist angesagt am Freitag, 13. August, wenn im Club Habana Shel Riser alias Sonnyboy, "Minneapolis` Best New Unsigned Band", auftritt. Riser, in Monroe/Lousiana geboren, ist ein Komponist und Multiinstrumentalist, dessen musikalische Wurzeln aus der Tradition von Gospel- und R&B kommen.

Bereits in jungen Jahren lernte er zuerst Klavier, später Orgel spielen und nahm den Weg vieler musikalischen Vorfahren - von der Kirche in die Clubs. In Milwaukee/Wisconsin stellte er sich als Mitglied der Band "Maserati" erstmals einem größeren Publikum vor. Nach Auflösung dieser Band ging Sonnyboy nach New York, begann mit Leuten der Parliament-Funk-Familie zu arbeiten und startete ein Projekt mit Malia Franklin. 1993 gründete er seine eigene Band "Sonnyboy" und begeisterte mit einem Mix aus Soul, Funk, HipHop und Jazz schnell die Zuhörer.

Sein Konzert im Club Habana beginnt um 22 Uhr (Eintritt ab 21 Uhr). Karten für zehn Euro gibt es im Vorverkauf beim Ticket Service der Amberger Zeitung, Mühlgasse 2, Telefon 30 62 30, und bei Cityticket sowie für zwölf Euro an der Abendkasse.

- Club Habana

"Ispy soul review and interview with Shel, Sonnyboy"

It’s just soul music, man. It”s soul music from a lot of different directions. Soul music doesn’t really have, I think, a direction. Soul music is music that people did from struggle and that’s what my music is about. It’s about all of that.” With certain conviction and confidence, that’s how Shel Riser a.k.a. SONNY BOY describes the music from his cd, “URBAN MISFIT”, an ultra-funky mélange of candid social commentary, astute introspection and flat out good times that’s sure to get the body to movin’ and stimulate the mind. The latter is a definite goal in the grand scheme of the talented singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who wrote all the material for this soul-packed project. Poignant tracks like “Devil’s got you high”, and “For the love of money” are reality checks in stark contrast to the bling bling trumpeting prevalent in a great deal of black music and Shel feels is the unfortunate focus of the entertainment industry overall. “The industry and when I say industry I mean the entertainment industry completely because the entertainment industry is the industry that molds our society and tells us what we should believe, how we should look at things, and how we should view ourselves as worthy people, has affected African-American people in such a way and directed our value system to where it has made us become a little less interested in substance and more interested in all the things that are causing us to not have a clear understanding of each other. So I guess what I try to do in those songs is just say well you know if you’re going to take the time to listen to this song, maybe you might want to think about this. If it doesn’t sit with you right now maybe it will sit with you later.” While a good portion of , Urban Misfit, is food for thought there are also nods to the trials of relationships as with “If you lose your faith” and play-time gems like the appropriately titled, “Soul Junky”. The fact of the matter is that every minute of Urban Misfit is a funk and soul -woven tapestry with strands recalling nostalgic thoughts of Sly Stone and early Prince that will throw your groove button into overdrive. This serves as an illustration to the point of which Shel makes perfectly clear. “It’s okay to have fun , but it doesn’t have to cost us our lives to do it.” It should be apparent that the Louisiana native, who now splits his time between New York and Amsterdam, is very much an independent thinker, but as the saying goes, “actions speak louder than words”. Which is why when asked if this project was ever shopped to major labels, the answer is a casual but direct, “No, I’m really not interested in that at all.” Further conversation on the subject reveals that the plan was always to do this on his own, in his own way, and on his own terms. All of the obvious reasons surface in regard to his decision. Retaining freedom and identity plus getting all of what you deserve. But at the core is a reason molded by his experience in the industry which got its start in the form of a brief stint as a teenager with the Minneapolis-based band, Mazarati, which spawned the Prince-penned hit, ”100mph”. “I just think that at some point that black music needs to learn to stand on it’s own. We continue to buy into other entities being able to sell us better than we’re able to sell ourselves. It’s been going on a little too long that way and at some point some people have to make sacrifices and how can I preach that if I don’t make sacrifices on my own. Then not only just making the sacrifice, you have to put something behind it to back it up and that means I should be able to sell the album.” After checking out Urban Misfit you’ll discover for sure that this is not sour grapes from an aspiring artist trying to get his foot in the door, but a bold statement from a solid storyteller and exceptional musician deserving of the spotlight. - Bert Caldwell

"Sweet rocking soul from Sonnyboy."

Sweet rocking soul from Sonny Boy -- an artist with the vocals of D'Angelo and the compressed guitars of Lenny Kravitz -- filtered into a tight style that's all his own! Sonny Boy may not be a household name yet, but this set's a very well-conceived album -- mellow soulful groovers with a nice edge to them, and an approach that sets Sonny apart from the rest of the urban underground. Titles include "Super Flyin", "Devil's Got You High", "Yesterday", "Haters Gone Be Haters", "Soul Junky", "Why You Wanna", and "If You Lose Your Faith". - Dusty Grooves

"Skope Magazine, talks about Sonnyboy!!!"

So the year is now 2003 and it looks like we have a new funk-soul brother. The new Sonny Boy CD, Urban Misfit, is straight groove. At first sight I thought we had another rapper on our hands, but I could not have been more mistaken. The best way to describe the sound on this CD is Rock N’ Soul mixed with some good old funk. It comes together nicely.
Sheldon Riser, a.k.a Sonny Boy, was formerly in the 80’s synth funk band Mazarati. On this album, he does his own mixing and engineering. Sonny Boy has gotten to tour with the likes of Prince and The Parliament Funkadelic. Since Riser’s big move to New York from Minnesota in 1996, Sonny Boy has put out three albums. All three have gained much respect from people all over. As a matter of fact, Sonny Boy has traveled the world - from Indonesia and Canada, to Europe. His time is coming.
I think he has another winner on his hands here. This is the perfect CD to have playing in the background of a party. It would be dope for those looking to drink as well as for those looking to dance and socialize. You just can not deny the soul coming out of this guy. His voice and style are unique. It really is a pleasure listening to this CD.
One of my favorite tracks is “For the Love of Money.” On this track he really addresses the fakeness in life that people put themselves through for the sake of money. It is a powerful piece. The bottom line with Sonny Boy is that this CD has flavor. It is not mainstream and it might not reach MTV, but it is the hottest shit I got in my CD player right now. I believe that if the world did get a little more music like this and not that manufactured stuff, we would be better off. Another dope track is, “Like Collard Greens.” The way his voice and the melody blend together is great. I would definitely be interested in seeing this man live.
So obviously, if you can’t tell, this CD gets two thumbs up from me. It is some good soul with great rhythm. I recommend this CD to all readers.
- Stoli

"Sonnyboy on I Roster"

SonnyBoy aka The Urban Misfit

"When people hear my album, they never believe me when I tell them that I composed, arranged, played all the instruments, recorded, produced, mixed, and co-mastered the album by myself. For live shows, I’ve assembled an incredible live band, but the music from my recordings, that’s me playing the instruments and performing the vocals alone.” - Sonny Boy

In an age where music is processed, pumped with additives, vocals are computer enhanced, and instrumentation comes from drum machines and keyboardist, it's rare to discover a musician who can still compose, record, produce, engineer, mix, master and play every single instrument, creating his own opus. When your training comes from performing and touring with artists from Prince`s Paisley Park record label, The Parliament Funkadelic, and Mary Harris of Spearhead, what else would you expect?

Born in Monroe, Louisiana, the eldest of three siblings, Shel Riser’s aka SonnyBoy’s, early introduction to music came from his father's record collection. "My father was a D.J., a straight up soul and blues man. He had artists like Sly Stone, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, B.B. King, and Rick James in heavy rotation on his turntables," he recalls. "I didn't have formal training so I learned to play by ear and by listening to these albums over and over until I got a whopping for scratching my dad's records."

Like most Soul artists, Shel was raised in the church and you can hear those influences in his music. “My mother and my godmother were church going ladies and part of going to church for young people is either you singing in the choir or learning to play an instrument. I wasn't as much into the singing, but I took to the Hammond B3 organ and drums."

"My musical turning point came when I was about 16 after going to see Roger & Zapp and Prince co-headline a show in Milwaukee, WI. They played instruments in a whole different way from how we did it church and their live performance opened me up to how powerful music is. It was riveting to see how people of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds came together and just to enjoy good music.”

Shel didn't go back to Sunday service to play the hymns, instead he became a one-man band, training himself to play over 10 instruments (keyboard, piano, drums, organ, bass, guitar, percussions, and even vocals). "I studied music in Milwaukee High School of the Performing Arts and got turned onto jazz and bebop which broadened my range of expression. Jazz is about playing fluidly, not letting yourself be held by song structure." He expanded his musical repertoire and musicians like Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, Led Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendricks could be heard drifting from his bedroom alongside the records from his father’s collection.

Soon Shel started playing keyboard locally for various bands in the Minneapolis area under the name SonnyBoy, a nickname given to him by grandmother. His first professional gig was with Craig Screamer of Mazarati which led to a gig with Malia Franklin from Parliament Funkadelic. "I auditioned twice and ended up playing alongside some of Minneapolis's best musicians. It was the hardest gig of my life because the musicians in the band were masters of their instrument. I couldn't play anything wrong or else Malia would be all over me. She was known for her temper and for firing musicians."

With music compositions running constantly through his head, he built a home studio and launched an independent label, Artform Entertainment, and composed, recorded, mixed, and was his own one-man band for three underground independent releases: Afro Soul (1995), Love Child (2001), and Urban Misfit (2003). The music from the Afro Soul earned him the honor from Rollingstone Magazine of Minneapolis' Best New Unsigned Band. Little did they know that the SonnyBoy albums were created by a one-man outfit.

Anxious to take his show on the road, Shel formed a band of musicians from different musical backgrounds, taught them the arrangements, melody, and chords to his catalogue of music and set off for a tour through Asia, Canada and Europe.

Onstage SonnyBoy's ultra-funky mélange will throw your groove button into overdrive, while the candid social commentary and astute introspection will stimulate your mind.

Dubbing himself, The Urban Misfit, Shel simply thinks of his music as a ritualized way combining a ghetto vibe with an eclectic style, thus the title of the album. "Psycho-delic-Ghetto-Vibe represents people trying to maintain their sanity in a dysfunctional environment where they're stripped of their identity. Psycho-delic-Ghetto-Vibe represents people who are surviving in the ghetto, but whose dreams are bigger than their dismal surroundings."

Every minute of the Sonny Boy's newest release, Psycho-delic-Ghetto-Vibe, is a funk and soul-woven tapestry with strands recalling nostalgic thoughts of the music he heard as child filtered into a tight style all his own. "The music I create comes from a lot of different directions, but it's just soul music, man! Music created from deep down inside you doesn't have a category or direction. It's just felt!,” explains Shel when describing his musical style. “Soul Music gets its heart from pain/love, its drive from struggle, and its spirit from rising from the ashes. That's what my music is about."

The first single, "Josephine Brown" was written about a girl who Shel Riser found interesting as a teenager. "There was a girl down the block from me who was only 18 or 19 years old, but she wasn't like the other girls who lived on the block. She didn't dress like anyone else and she listened to all kinds of music. I thought it was cool and attractive that she had her own thing going on and was proud of it. She kinda reminds me of myself." Another album track to highlight is “It Don’t Matter.” "My mom used to always talk about crabs in the bucket, so I wrote "It Don't Matter," about people who are able to crawl out of the barrel and abandon their responsibility to make sure others can get out." "Born To Die," he says was inspired from the streets in New York. "When I see brothers on the corner in the middle of the night and they're 16 or 17 years old. It's like they don't feel like their lives are worth it and they're living only to die."
- I Roster

"AllHipHop interview with Sonnyboy..."

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Sonny Boy: To The Core
By Jarrod Miller-Dean

Those who love music and truly appreciate it can trace their musical roots back to their childhood. Imagine the early memories of rummaging through your parents records, only to be amazed by the intoxicating sounds that came blasting out of the speakers. Rick James, The P-Funk, Bob Marley, Miles Davis, Led Zeppelin the youthful naivety of discovering classic sounds is unforgettable. For Shell Riser, better known as Sonny Boy - a childhood nickname given to him by his grandmother - these are fond memories.
Sonny Boy grew up performing with his church band, and after he saw a performance by the legendary group Zapp, he was inspired to sharpened his skills on various instruments. His diligent practice came into play as the one man band produced wrote and played all of the instruments on his new album Psycho-Delic-Ghetto-Vibe. We recently reminisced with Sonny Boy about his days of digging in the crates and creating his own brand of art.
AllHipHop.com Alternatives: You played all of the instruments on your album. How easy is it to transition between them?

Sonny Boy: It depends on what mood Im in. I may pick up an instrument one day, say, sit and write from the piano. Its a mood thing.

AHHA: What was your affiliation with Princes Paisley Park record label? Did you play with the man in purple himself?

Sonny Boy: No, I didnt necessarily play with Prince, as much as I played with people that worked for him. I played with a group that was on the Paisley Park record label. I came pretty close, but nothing substantial.

AHHA: When you were first coming into your musical career, was there a lot of music that blew you away, making you want to write and compose?

Sonny Boy: I started listening to my dads records. I got my ass whooped a couple of times for scratching them. I would get those records, and I thought it was amazing. Then for me, I was listening to all kinds of music: the P-Funk, Marley, I just got really into the music. I dont know what it was. I had an organ in my room. I would always try to play the song that I was listening to. I had music posters all over my walls. When my father used to lay the albums out, after he was done with them, I would tape the covers to my walls. Man, I had Rick James, Blow Fly, and all kinds of that stuff on my wall.

AHHA: Sounds like you grew up a Soul baby, rummaging through you fathers records. Is that where you first learned to play music?

Sonny Boy: I studied from a jazz pianist. A lot of what I learned came from church. When I really needed to start getting it together, I played with this jazz guy for a few years. Then I started playing around the circuit. Thats how I wound up going to Minneapolis. It was a process.

AHHA: If an album had that kind of an impact on you, I can only imagine the type of effect that a live performance must have had. I read a little something about you seeing the legendary funk group, Zapp.

Sonny Boy: It was my first time seeing a concert as a kid. To see a concert with that many people Again, I was playing in church, but I wasnt playing my instrument the way they were. I was like, Wow! I saw Roger [Roger Troutman], who really didnt get recognized as much as he played an instrument. He was a pretty well rounded musician. I was blown away to see him live in concert. The dude, he was just an excellent musician, so it just blew me away. At the time I was just a piano player, and I just wanted to be good at doing that. At the same time, I had love for all instruments.

AHHA: Did you start trying to change your style by breaking up notes or dabbling with improvisation?

Sonny Boy: I started really trying to mimic anything that I heard. I think that was the breaking point for me. I started playing in bands outside of the church. I would always watch other musicians play and go from there. I think that it was just a matter of being around it.

AHHA: Speaking of musical childhood memories, the opening track, It Dont Matter, has a Fish Bone meets The Time type of funkiness to it.

Sonny Boy: [Laughs] Its good that you get that vibe out of it.

AHHA: One day you sit down at the bass and the next another instrument. What inspires you to make a track?

Sonny Boy: I sit there and vibe. Its really a number of things. With that track, I actually started with the drums first. They were working for me.

AHHA: Are there any misconceptions that people have about seeing you live versus hearing the album?

Sonny Boy: I dont do songs to impress people by playing all of the instruments. You can play all of the instruments and still have a bad song. Upon completing a song, I see if I gave it all that it needed. I like working with other musicians just as well. People get the misconception that its a Prince thing; that its an ego thing about playing all of the instruments.

AHHA: With the ability to play an array of instruments under your belt, whats one instrument that you have yet to learn, or are in the process of learning?

Sonny Boy: Alto Sax. I love horns.

AHHA: Would you say that it comes from a Miles Davis influence?

Sonny Boy: I actually met Miles once. I love Miles. I would say that hes a big influence on me musically. On this record, I took a Miles-type approach, to just even try new things and see if I could make it work. That to me, is the type of songwriter and musician that I like to consider myself. I think that Miles was at a level The guy did a Hip-Hop album, come on.

AHHA: You produced, wrote, and played all of the instruments on the album, which constitutes you doing most of the work. As an artist, do you find it hard to consider an album done?

Sonny Boy: I honestly had a hard time with that on this album, and still kind of do. I think that every real artist does. Youre putting works that you love out to the world. Its very difficult to know that people are going to be sitting and listening in detail. I think that every artist has to stop at one point and be like, Ok, you know what? This is what I have to offer. When the writing was complete, it would take months just to let anybody hear it. Its difficult to let stuff go sometimes.
AHHA: Theres a track on the album titled, Josephine Brown. What was the real Josephine Brown like?

Sonny Boy: The song came from a girl that I knew on my block, [while growing up]. She was interesting to me because in this whole montage of Hip-Hop admiring, she was somebody who could actually think for her self, and be herself. Going to school, kids deal with the whole peer pressure thing. What was interesting was that she was on her own vibe - she was a good-looking girl. Thats where the song came from.

AHHA: On the album, it seems like you really paid attention to detail, but how do you follow up? Do you think of it as, That album is over, time for a clean slate, or Wow, that album was good. How do I follow up?

Sonny Boy: For me, its a clean slate. People thought that the album was great. For me, its just go and get into where I am in my life. Examine the things around me, so I can write and get something thats quality. Thats the first thing. Thats the starting point for myself. I dont think a lot about trying to make something better. I dont think, this album versus that album. You shouldnt get caught up in something like that, because its art. In art, you dont have to or shouldnt worry about that.
Post Your Feedback. - Jarrod Miller-Dean


BarFly Theory, 2010
Psycho.Delic.Ghetto.Vibe 2007
Urban Misfit 2004
Love Child 1998
Afro Soul 1995



"...one of the best unsigned bands to come out of Minneapolis since Prince and The Time." -Rolling Stone Magazine

Not one to be restricted to categorization or industry labels, Sonnyboy is known as an urban misfit on the musical scene. A multi- layered artist whose talents have taken him all over the world, Sonnyboy (legal: Sheldon Shel Riser) is a musician, singer, composer, producer, and band leader. With five independently produced albums to his name, his latest work is The Barfly Theory thirteen tracks of Rock N Soul mixed with some good old funk.

Taken in total, Sonnyboy musical genius reveals a mastery of soul, funk, rock, and hip hop. The listener might recall just a few great artists whose talents Sonnyboy respects: Sly & The Family Stone, Prince, The Isley Brothers, Jamiroquai, Erykah Badu, Maroon 5, and Cee-Lo.

Early on, it was Sonnyboys well known Blues musician uncle, Sonny Green, who inspired him to explore the genre. Born in Monroe, Louisiana and raised in the Baptist churches of Milwaukee, Sonnyboy learned to play multiple instruments at an early age, and did so with a traditional gospel/R&B slant. From Milwaukee, Sonnyboy moved to Minneapolis. With only his guitar and the clothes on his back, Sonnyboy journeyed into what he had been told was forbidden devil music: funk, reggae, rock, and hip hop. And he did so in the middle of the Prince- led Paisley Park music scene.

After a few months in downtown Minneapolis, Sonnyboy earned a reputation as an exceptional musician. He quickly became accepted into the Minneapolis music community and began working with artists on the Paisley Park label, the Parliament Funkadelic family, Mary Harris of Spearhead, and countless other artists. He has come to share the stage with Prince, The Black Crows, The Skatalights, and has performed at venues as prestigious as the world famous Paisley Park Studios.

Sonnyboy was on a fast and at times dangerous track. Also known as a hip hop hippie and an urban poet, he cheated death in a near fatal car crash and found himself back on the streets where he started. From there, he transformed his life. His rededication to music, his renewed energy, and his creative explosion resulted in him writing songs, composing, producing music, and even co-producing his music videos. With a lifestyle reserved for uncommon people (he is a vegetarian, an avid reader, and normally runs 25 miles a week), Sonnyboy established his own record label, Art Form Entertainment (now known as ArtSoul Entertainment). The well-rounded artist and newly made entrepreneur soon gained a reputation of being a workaholic. He got grounded, developed a unique sound, and formed the four member band, Sonnyboy. Soon after, Rolling Stone Magazine acclaimed the group as "...one of the best unsigned bands to come out of Minneapolis since Prince and The Time."

Next: Sonnyboy moved the band to New York and has continued to soar. The band has toured across the country and throughout Europe and has been featured on national television (BETJ, VH1, TVOne). His live performances have been dubbed as high energy FishBone meets James Brown shows. Beyond his talent,

Sonnyboys success can be attributed to his uncommon focus and an artistic integrity that is often lacking in todays corporate music arena. He shares that he just doesnt do music, but that he thinks about the music. He continues, All I want to do is make good music. If I can get your head nodding and coming back for more, then Ive done my job. It all boils down to one question: Is it good music?