Wide Awake

Sonny Fodera

Wide Awake

“I was in the studio five days a week, no other commitments,” Sonny Fodera tells Apple Music. “An album is such a good way to express yourself as an artist. This is my fifth and it feels like I’m only getting started.” The Adelaide-born, London-based producer spent the past decade earning a reputation for seamless mixing in the DJ booth and a producer’s ear that finds emotive resonances in driving house grooves. His fifth album, Wide Awake, largely made during the coronavirus lockdowns of 2020, sees him enlist a sought-after roster of collaborators, including vocalists Ella Eyre and Sinead Harnett, as well as producers MK and Diplo. The result is 14 tracks that segue from the empowering house euphoria of “Nah” to the UK garage swing of “Next 2 U” and the bass-driven thump of “Turn Back Time.” “These are songs that you can listen to anywhere—and musical journeys to take you elsewhere,” Fodera says. Read on for his thoughts on the album, track by track.
“You” (feat. Sam Tompkins) “I'm a massive fan of [Brighton artist] Sam, and we had a date in the diary for so long to collaborate but it kept getting moved. In summer 2021, I decided to just hit him up directly on Instagram and we made it into the studio. We were there with an amazing writer called Jin Jin, who has written for Jax Jones and Jess Glynne, and we all created the track on the day.”
“Angel” (feat. Clementine Douglas) “This was one of the first tracks I made at home when we went into lockdown in the UK. I got sent a few vocals from [Brighton artist] Clementine over email and this one really stood out to me. I just produced a beat around it and we never actually met in person until my own festival with Gorgon City, Back to Love in [London’s] Finsbury Park, where we performed it for the first time this summer.”
“Nah” (with KOLIDESCOPES, feat. Sinead Harnett) “KOLIDESCOPES have an amazing studio in Soho in London, and I got together with the pair of them there pre-lockdown, where we wrote this hook. We immediately realized that it would be perfect for Sinead Harnett to sing, who is a good friend of mine. She also added a few bits to the song, like the middle eight, and totally killed it.”
“So High” (feat. Dan Caplen) “I got sent this song from Dan's team and I loved it. I’ve been such a fan of his voice for a long time, and so it’s amazing to have a track with him on this project. The situation is quite similar to ‘Angel’ because me and Dan had not met when we made the track and it was only at Back to Love that we finally performed it for the first time. The response was incredible and I've been playing it as a highlight at almost every set ever since.”
“Turn Back Time” (with Diplo) “Diplo and I linked up in LA when I was on tour in the States. He had a vocal with Sasha Sloan that he played me and we decided to mess around with it. We began to play it out at our sets and it was getting a massive reaction, but then we went into lockdown. Since it’s called ‘Turn Back Time,’ it felt like the perfect tune to release during the lockdown in November 2020, since the title took on a new resonance. I had to put this on the record now because it fits so nicely with the rest of the project and was one of the first tunes from that period.”
“Something About You” (with Camden Cox and Yeah Boy) “Yeah Boy [a member of KOLIDESCOPES] is from Australia like me, and we've always wanted to get on a track together. I sent him this idea with [London artist] Camden Cox, and he's such a genius on the keys that he came back with this infectious synth line straight away.”
“Wide Awake” (feat. Laura Welsh) “I wrote this with [Staffordshire artist] Laura Welsh and [London artist and producer] Raphaella in an East London studio in 2019. We started jamming and this lovely song just organically came together. It's such a nice moment in the album, and the title really jumped out to me afterwards as the name for the record, since there have been so many nights where we’ve been awake, sitting and thinking about what's gone on in 2020.”
“One Night” (with MK, feat. Raphaella) “This is probably my biggest song I've released with MK. In my sets that I'm playing now, everyone's singing it back, and it feels like a huge moment in my career. I played him a song I already had with Raphaella and he thought it was sick. We then went into his studio and he did some vocal chops and the keys and it all fell into place so quickly.”
“Silhouettes” (feat. Poppy Baskcomb) “I've sent this out to a lot of people and everyone says it is their favorite track on the album. It feels like a very classy vocal. I got sent it from [London artist] Poppy’s camp and it really hit me when I heard it. It's a bit more downtempo as well, like the deep house music I used to make a few years ago. It came together all over lockdown, and it's such a cool tune to have on the album.”
“Stuck in My Head” (with Punctual, feat. Rug Wilson) “This is one of the more head-down, clubby tunes on the record. It was literally stuck in my head for days after I was sent it, and it's nice to have a lot more male vocals on this album, because there's not too many of them on dance records and I think they can really work. Track 10 is where we pick up the album and bring on a club moment for the next few tracks.”
“Last Thought” (with Vintage Culture, feat. MKLA) “I was in Brazil in 2019, playing a stadium tour with Vintage Culture. We decided to do a track together with this vocal from MKLA and we ended up building the idea on a jet while flying to another city. I came back about two months later and did a show in São Paulo where he played back to back with me and then MKLA showed up to sing it too. It was sunrise in the middle of São Paulo, performing this track that we wrote on a plane. It was a beautiful moment.”
“Next 2 U” (feat. Sinead Harnett & Bru-C) “Me and Sinead wrote this in 2019 together in East London. When we wrote it, we felt like it needed a rapper, since this is the first garage record I've made. In lockdown, I was then on Instagram scrolling through and this guy Bru-C kept popping up. He's from the Midlands and I love his flow, so I hit him up and asked him to get on this track. Luckily he said yes straight away. He sent me the vocal and it transformed the track.”
“Selfish” (feat. Kelli-Leigh & YOU) “Me, [London artists] Kelli-Leigh, and YOU got together in a studio in Ladbroke Grove and wrote two songs that day, and this was one of them. It's a duet, which I thought was a really nice touch, and it led me to go for a The xx-meets-house vibe. Kelli-Leigh and YOU both really complement each other musically, so to get them both in a session was perfect.”
“Wired” (with Ella Eyre) “[Manchester songwriter and artist] Jin Jin happened to send me this vocal of Ella Eyre's, and she is someone I've always wanted to work with. It was actually a 115 BPM tune when I got it, but I stretched it out to make it faster and then she rerecorded it in lockdown as it was easing last summer. People really connect with this song and it feels like the perfect mood to finish up the album with.”

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