Sonny Emory

Sonny Emory

 Atlanta, Georgia, USA

The Atlanta based group State of the Art featuring Sonny Emory formerly known as Hypnofunk was officially formed in 1996 by World Renowned Drummer and Grammy Award Winner, Sonny Emory. The music is ultra funky and progressive. Great melodies and solid grooves have captivated audiences worldwide.


Sonny Emory is a native Atlantan who received his first drum set at the age of four. After graduating from Georgia State University with a Bachelor in Jazz Performance, Sonny began his transition to becoming a professional drummer playing with Joe Sample and the Crusaders. With over 20 years of live performance and studio work behind him, Sonny maintains a busy schedule in the music industry and is highly regarded in the business.

Though probably best known for his groundbreaking drumming with Earth, Wind, and Fire; Sonny has performed with a virtual "who's who" in pop, jazz, R&B/Funk, and country music including Stanley Clarke, David Sanborn, Bette Midler, Al Jarreau, Paula Abdul, Jean-Luc Ponty, Boz Scaggs, Ricky Skaggs. He is also known for innovative visual effects during live performances that include exciting stick-twirling and back-sticking techniques. As a World Renowned Drummer and Grammy Award Winner, Sonny is considered to be one of the greatest drummers to have come along in a while. His proficiency and style have awarded him the opportunity to record on platinum status albums such as the B52s' Cosmic Thing and Steely Dan's Grammy award winning Two Against Nature.

Sonny is equally in demand for studio work as for what's delivered during live performances. This former member of the legendary group Earth, Wind, and Fire held down the drum seat for thirteen years. Also, Sonny has additional credits that include Bruce Hornsby, Jennifer Lopez, and Lee Ritenour, to name a few. Sonny has performed as the headliner for opening night at the 28th Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival and leads his own ultra funky progressive aggregation band, State of the Art formerly known as Hypnofunk.

Sonny believes that music is an essential ingredient to a well-rounded education. As a result to his commitment to young people, his endeavors are well-known throughout the Atlanta area. He recently received an 11Alive Community Service Award, a prestigious honor bestowed by a local television station. Sonny continues his commitment to young musicians by sponsoring a drumline makeover for his alma mater, Frederick Douglass High School and Nurturing the Gift Benefit concert to raise awareness to ensure music remains accessible to student musicians.

With a wealth of teaching experience, Sonny is committed to balancing academics and entertainment. He has served as an Adjunct Professor of Applied Percussion at Georgia State University and is currently working with his Alma Mater, Frederick Douglass High School to provide the marching band with new equipment. Additionally, Sonny teaches private lessons to assist students in developing their craft and setting long-term goals in order to be successful in their chosen musical endeavors.

Sonny has performed countless clinics and master classes in academic settings, drum stores, and during national music conferences, both independently and for his endorsers YAMAHA Drums, ZILDJIAN Cymbals. He has held clinics all over the world including Melbourne, Australia and is currently finalizing plans for the beginning phase of Emory Performing Arts Center through an annual drumset specialty music camp for drummers 11 years to adults. This camp provides an opportunity for campers to learn from leader drummers and percussionist in the music industry.

Sonny co-wrote the tune "Crusin", which can be heard on the score to Spike Lee's 1998 film "Get on the Bus". Also, he worked on the "Lethal Weapon II" soundtrack with Eric Clapton and David Sanborn. In 1996, Sonny released "Hypnofunk", a solo project produced by Earth, Wind and Fire's founder, Maurice White. His most recent and sixth solo project is entitled "Live in Session."

Sonny is endorsed by YAMAHA Drums, ZILDJIAN Cymbals and Drumsticks, REMO, Shure Microphones, Meyers Sound Systems, Toca Percussion, and LP Percussions.


Live in Session ~ Released 2007
Produced by: Sonny Emory
Recording Angels

1. On the Spot
2. Scratch
3. Mo Go Go
4. E.S.P.
5. Tin Tin Deo
6. Gap Band Interlude
7. Hypnofunk

Hypnofunk ~ Released 1997
Executive Producer: Maurice White
Producer By: Maurice White & Sonny Emory
Kalimba International

1. Hypnofunk
2. Funky Swang
3. Scratch
4. In the Pocket
6. Steal My Beating Heart
7. Mo Go Go
8. Napoleon's Run
9. Tribal Phunk
10. Mimosa
11. Let Me Talk
12. Allah

The Love Element ~ Released 1998
Executive Producer: Sonny Emory
Producer By: Sonny Emory & Cara Fears
Recording Angels, Inc.

1. 7 Up
2. Inside Your Heart
3. I'm With U (Live in Session)
4. Pretenders
5. The Love Element Interlude
6. Every Lil' Bit
7. T/N/T
8. Hump (Live in Session)
9. Love (We can make it part of Life)
10. Hypnofunk (Live in Session)

ESP ~ Emory - Scott Project
Executive Producer: Sonny Emory
Producer By: Sonny Emory
Recording Angels, Inc.

1. Shining Star
2. E..S.P.
3. Love 2 U
4. Chanel
5. Paradise
6. Be Still My Beating Heart
7. Montreux
8. T-N-T
9. Peace

Yes, the above albums are receiving radio and internet radio airplay.

Set List

We do not have a typical set list because we pull from all of the projects. It depends on the gig.