Sonny J Mason

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Not to be confused with Sonny J, an English singer-songwriter
Sonny J Mason
Birth name Justin Osuji
Also known as Sonny J Mason Osuji, Sonny J Mason Osuji
Born Glasgow, Scotland.
Genres R&B, soul, funk, disco
Occupation(s) Producer, songwriter, vocalist
Instruments D.A.W., drums, bass, guitar
Years active 1998–present
Labels BMG Chrysalis, Innocent Records
Associated acts Miguel Migs, Kimbra, Loveable Rogues, Little Mix, Alex P
Website Sonny J Mason on Twitter
Notable instruments
Vocals

Justin Osuji (born Glasgow, Scotland), best known by his current alias Sonny J Mason, is a Scottish singer, songwriter, and producer[1] whose style combines "hints of R&B, soul, funk and disco."[2] Mason was signed as a singer-songwriter to Virgin Records at age 14,[1] and his first four singles, released under the name Justin, all reached Top 40 positions in the UK Singles Chart in the late 1990s.[3] His debut album Finally was released in 2000 on Innocent Records, and that year he was awarded The Young Scottish Achievers Award from Queen Elizabeth II.[1]

His first album as Sonny J Mason, his Life Is the Music EP, was released in 2008, and he has since appeared as a guest vocalist on tracks by artists such as deep house DJ Miguel Migs. As a producer Mason has remixed or produced tracks for artists such as Faith Evans, Pleasure P, Kimbra, Gabrielle, Loveable Rogues, The Wanted, and Elyar Fox and has co-written music with songwriters and producers such as No I.D., Mike Elizondo, Big Jim, Warren Campbell, Keefus Ciancia, Dee Kay, Karen Poole, Andy Taylor, and Henry Jackman.[1] In 2012 Mason co-wrote the song "Come into My Head" with New Zealand pop artist Kimbra and Keith Ciancia. The song won two awards at The International Songwriting Competition in 2013.[4] In 2012 he co-wrote a song on the Faith Evans' album R&B Divas, which in 2014 was nominated for a Grammy Award. In 2014, he co-wrote a song on Kimbra's album The Golden Echo, also playing drums on the track. The album went on to peak at No. 43 on the The Billboard 200 chart.[5]

Early life[edit]

Justin Osuji was born in Glasgow, Scotland, where he was also raised. He is of Glaswegian and Nigerian heritage.[6] He attended Saint Ninian's Secondary School, and began writing music as a teenager under his full name Justin Osuji, or simply "Justin."[citation needed]

Music career[edit]

1998-2001: As Justin[edit]

Osuji was signed to a recording contract with Virgin Records UK in 1998 at age 14,[1] after appearing on the BBC Television programme, The Fame Game.[citation needed] Virgin recorded several songs he had written, and Osuji began releasing singles on both Streamline Records and Virgin UK under the name Justin. His first four singles all reached Top 40 positions in the UK Singles Chart. The first release was "This Boy" (UK #34) in August 1998.[3] His second single, "Over You" (his biggest hit to date, reaching UK #11), was released in 1999, and taken from his debut album, Finally, released in 2000 on Innocent Records. His third single was "It's All About You" (UK #34), whilst his fourth "Let It Be Me" (UK #15), was a cover version of the song first made famous by The Everly Brothers.[3] At the time he was still in secondary school, and revising for his forthcoming GCSE's.[citation needed]

In 2000 he was awarded 'The Young Scottish Achievers Award', from Queen Elizabeth II, at Edinburgh's, Holyrood Palace.[1]

2002-08: Early production[edit]

By the fall of 2004 he was working as a singer-songwriter and producer under the name Justin Osuji.[7] His style combines "hints of R&B, soul, funk and disco."[2] Working in genres such as grime, hip hop, and R&B, he has utilized the sounds of house as well. Mason has remixed or produced tracks for UK artists such as Craig David, The Sugababes, Richie Dan, Artful Dodger, and So Solid, and has co-written music with producers and songwriters such as Pam Sheyne (Christina Aguilera), Henry Jackman (Seal) and Rick Mitra (Lu Lu, Christina Aguilera).[1]

2008-9: Salted Music releases[edit]

As of 2007 Osuji was based in both London and Los Angeles.[1] He released the solo EP Life Is the Music on August 19, 2008 on Salted Music, a dance music label based in San Francisco and operated by Miguel Migs. Released on both CD and 12" vinyl, Life Is the Music was his first solo release under the name Sonny J. Mason. That year the EP's single "Life Is the Music" was included on the compilation Stereo Sushi, Vol. 14, released on Hed Kandi.[8] About "Life Is the Music," the song "is a midtempo soul stomper with classic hip hop and R&B flavor."[9]

Around 2008 he was collaborating with Andy Taylor of Duran Duran, who described him as "the best part of Michael Jackson, the funkiest part of Prince and the elaborate part of Sly Stone," comparing the sound of their collaborations to Power Station.[6]

He moved to Los Angeles in 2009,[citation needed] and was signed as an artist to Warner Bros by notable record producer Lenny Waronker.[10]

After signing to Salted Music he began appearing as a guest vocalist as Sonny J. Mason, first on "HOT!" by Audioslam in 2009.[11] This was followed in 2010 by "Burnin' Up", released by Miguel Migs on Salted Music.[2] Migs later released a remix of Mason's "Life Is the Music,"[9] and in 2011 Mason contributed vocals to Migs' song "Changin'," which Migs' included on his studio album Outside the Skyline.

2012-14: Recent years[edit]

He moved back to the UK in 2011.[citation needed] In 2012 Mason co-wrote the song "Come into My Head" with New Zealand pop artist Kimbra and Keith Ciancia. The song was released on Vows, a full-length studio album by Kimbra. "Come into My Head" won first place for both performance and music video at The International Songwriting Competition (ISC) in 2013.[4] The song has received positive reviews from critics. Cole Waterman of PopMatters stated that the song has "funk swagger,"[12] and Erin Brady of Interview magazine wrote: "Blending elements of pop and '70s funk with expansive vocals, 'Come Into My Head' ricochets from relative calm to full-blown groove as effortlessly as it does from interior to exterior, imagination to actuality."[13] "Come into My Head" was also featured during the end credits and on the soundtrack for the 2013 film The Heat.

In 2013 Mason released two official remixes: "Change Your Life (Sonny J Mason Radio Mix)" by Little Mix, and "What a Night (ft. Lucky Mason)" by the band Loveable Rogues. Loveable Rogues announced the release of their debut album This and That for August 11, 2014.[14] The album was recorded with Mason.[15] He has also collaborated with artists such as Swedish house DJ and producer Alex P,[16] and has had recent collaborations with musician and songwriter Mike Elizondo and No I.D.. In 2014, he co-wrote a song on Kimbra's album The Golden Echo, also playing drums on the track. The album went on to peak at No. 5 on both the New Zealand Albums chart and the Australia Albums chart. It also reached No. 43 on Billboards The Billboard 200 chart.[5]

Personal life[edit]

As of 2012 Mason was based in London.[9]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Nominated work Category Result
2000 The Young Scottish Achievers Award Justin[1] Artist Won
Scottish Clef Award Justin Artist Nominated
2013 The International
Songwriting Competition
"Come into My Head"[4] Performance Won
Music Video Won
2014 Grammy Awards "Too High For Love" Best R&B album Nominated

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Albums and EPs by Sonny J Mason
Year Album title Release details
2000 Finally
(as Justin)
2008 Life Is the Music - EP
(as Sonny J Mason)
  • Released: Aug 19, 2008
  • Label: self-released
  • Format: CD, digital, 12" vinyl

Singles[edit]

Selected singles by Sonny J Mason
Year Title Chart peaks Album Label, Certifications
UK
1998 "This Boy" (as Justin) 34 N/A Virgin, Streamline
1999 "Over You" (as Justin) 11 Finally Innocent, Virgin
"It's All About You" (as Justin) 34 Innocent
2000 "Let It Be Me" (as Justin) 15 N/A Innocent, Virgin
2008 "Life Is the Music" (as Sonny J. Mason) Life Is the Music Salted Music
2012 "Wake Up" (as Sonny J Mason) Wake Up BMG Chrysalis

Remixes[edit]

Compilations[edit]

  • 2008: Stereo Sushi, Vol. 14 (Hed Kandi/Stereo Sushi) - track "Life Is the Music"

Guest appearances[edit]

Selected songs featuring Sonny J Mason as vocalist
Year Single name Primary artist(s) Album Label
2001 "24/7 (Radio Mix)" (ft. Justin) Fixate N/A E-Park
2009 "HOT!" (ft. Sonny J Mason) Audioslam Sound Solution
2010 "Burnin' Up " (ft. Sonny J Mason) Miguel Migs Salted Music
2011 "Changin'" (ft. Sonny J Mason) Outside the Skyline

Production credits[edit]

Selected songs featuring Sonny J Mason as producer or writer
Year Single name Primary artist(s) Album Role
2010 "Burnin' Up" (ft. Sonny J Mason) Miguel Migs N/A Co-writer
2011 "Changin'" Miguel Migs N/A Writer, featured artist
2012 "Come into My Head" Kimbra Vows Co-writer, bass guitar
"Too High for Love" Faith Evans R&B Divas Co-writer (Grammy Nominated) best RnB album 2014.
"Out the Water" Fabio Lendrum N/A Co-writer
2013 "Show Me What You Got" Gabrielle Now and Always:
20 Years of Dreaming
Producer, writer
"What A Night" (No. 9 UK) Loveable Rogues N/A Co-producer
2014 "Glow in the Dark" The Wanted Word of Mouth Co-writer, guitars
"If We're Alright" Co-writer, producer
"Still Here" (Top 5 R&B US) Gene Noble N/A Producer, writer[17]
"A Billion Girls" (No. 11 UK) Elyar Fox N/A Co-writer/producer
"Love in High Places" Kimbra The Golden Echo
(No. 5 NZ, No. 5 AUS, No. 43 US)
Co-writer/drums

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Sonny J Mason". PMP Worldwide. 2007. Retrieved 2014-07-25. 
  2. ^ a b c "SLT031: “Burnin’ Up” – Miguel Migs Feat. Sonny J Mason". MiguelMigs.com. May 18, 2010. Retrieved 2014-07-25. 
  3. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 294. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  4. ^ a b c "Music News - New Zealand Songwriters Excel In US Based Competition". Muzic.net. May 8, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-25. 
  5. ^ a b "The Golden Echo - Kimbra - Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic. 19 August 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "Andy Taylor (ex-Duran Duran) Interview". This is Not Retro. September 2008. Retrieved 2014-07-06. 
  7. ^ Johnson, Angella (October 2004). "She had it all, now she has to fight off the bailiffs". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2014-07-25. 
  8. ^ "LIfe Is the Music". Allmusic. 2008. Retrieved 2014-07-25. 
  9. ^ a b c "LIFE IS THE MUSIC - MIGUEL MIGS REMIX". Decks.de. Retrieved 2014-07-25. 
  10. ^ http://pesasummit.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/ahw-bio.pdf
  11. ^ "Sonny J. Mason". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-07-25. 
  12. ^ Waterman, Cole (22 July 2012). "Kimbra: Vows - PopMatters". PopMatters. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  13. ^ Brady, Erin. "Exclusive Video Premiere: 'Come Into My Head,' Kimbra". Interview. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  14. ^ "Loveable Rogues announce debut album ‘This and That’ out August 11th". The Celeb Culture. July 4, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-25. 
  15. ^ Grant, Wynona (July 14, 2014). "Loveable Rogues Set To Release Début Album". Fortitude Magazine. Retrieved 2014-07-25. 
  16. ^ "Alex P". PlayHouseParties.com. Retrieved 2014-07-25. 
  17. ^ http://www.djbooth.net/index/mobile/album/gene-noble-rebirth-of-gene-noble

External links[edit]