What was the first song you learnt? Rip Rip Woodchip by John Williamson - I had initially started to learn piano at around early primary school age, before taking up the guitar - there must have been songs I learnt on piano but I didn't enjoy the instrument so I've blocked out the details! Rip Rip Woodchip was the first full song on guitar that I learnt, where there were verses, chorus and a bridge etc.
What’s your favourite memory of your early musical life? There's no singular favourite memory for me...I started to learn guitar around year 6 at West Launceston primary school in Tasmania, I was so glad to have quit the piano - my sisters and I were all terrified of our piano teacher. Guitar was much more my thing - I liked the challenge of the left and right hands doing pretty different things. I also loved doing something that wasn't a team sport (even though that was something that I also loved). The guitar was something that allowed me to be in my own space at times, and at others, not.
What made you want to play music in the first place? Having piano lessons was the starting point but the guitar really got me hooked. My folks had made us learn piano but I pushed to move to guitar. Once I'd had lessons in guitar for a bit I started to learn whole albums by ear and eventually started writing my own songs in high school. So much angst! So many hours in my bedroom pressing play, and rewind.
Growing up in the church, there'd be music every Sunday being performed live. I think that was something that influenced me when I was growing up.
How old were you when you started playing? 11
Who were your music heroes/idols back then? Who are they now? I was raised on The Beatles - they were my dad's favourite band and became the family soundtrack especially for road trips. They are still up there for me. In my teen years I loved Pearl Jam, PJ Harvey, Jeff Bucklery, Tori Amos. I currently love Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, D'Angelo - a lot of RnB, new soul etc. Bjork is one of my all time faves.
What was the name of your first band? The Quasi Intermission
Sonia Tsai is a Sydney-based musician from bands Wibes and Sparrow Hill.