Sonnie Richardson, better known by his stage name Sonnie Waves, is adding himself to N.C. Central University’s rich history of musical talents alongside Kim Arrington, Charles Whitfield, Sunshine Anderson, and Patrick “9th Wonder” Douthit.
Richardson, a Raleigh native and criminal justice junior, was previously better known for his electrifying plays on the football field as a wide receiver. Now he has hit the local music scene with the single “Candy” where his raps reveal an intimate connection with a companion. Outside of “Candy,” Richardson’s other singles include “You” and “Love Me.”
Much like the majority of artists in the industry, Richardson uses music as an outlet. The love is deeper than the ability to rap over a beat.
“Music is a passion of mine. It’s a way to express how I feel and what I’m going through,” said Richardson.
After spending two years at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Ariz., Richardson has found a new home at NCCU. Returning to North Carolina was a chance to revitalize his music career by shifting his focus solely on music.
In 2016, he released his first EP “No Going Back,” released exclusively on iTunes. Two years later, he released a series of singles that included the tracks “Break Bread,” “You,” and “Flexing.”
Richardson began his music career at 16, influenced by contemporary artists like Drake, Chris Brown, and Fayetteville, N.C. native J Cole. Sonnie has adapted these artists’ work to create his unique artistic style.
“Their music always makes sense. Their musical style is very diverse,” Richardson said. “Especially Drake, he’s really my all-time favorite.”
Although he used the blueprints of mainstream artists as guidance toward success, Sonnie Waves prides himself on being a person of his own.
“Being yourself is important. Originality is something that a lot of artists lack, and I want to make sure I’m not categorized as one of those artists,” he says.
Videographer Matt Hamilton, who works closely with Richardson to bring all of his ideas to reality, can testify on behalf of Sonnie’s creativity and work ethic.
“The thing I love about working with Sonnie is that he knows what he wants in his projects. He has great ideas, he is good at transferring those ideas into real life, and I bring it all together with the visual production aspect,” Hamilton explained. “The ideas for his visuals are usually brought up by him. However, he works great with any concepts or ideas that I bring to the table as well, which makes projects a fun, collaborative effort.”
Richardson also shared additional information on his music career following with his expectations for the new year. Although he knows it’s all a process, he is still optimistic about his future.
“My goal for 2019 is to expand my fan base as much as possible by increasing my streams throughout all 50 states and possibly more—from local to global,” said Richardson.
You can find Waves’ second solo EP “On My Wave” on Apple Music.