The Nigerian-born, Italian trained and Canadian-based singer-songwriter is also a gifted actress, producer, director, and committed activist.
Her 2021 album Reconnect (Slammin Media/Saimy’s Art) – reflecting insights gained during the Covid 19 lockdown – was termed “a musical gift we all need to listen to…. (giving) hope, happiness, and emotional sensations.” Then, as executive producer and director, she made the film TRACE: Tracing African Canadian Extraordinaire. Co-produced with Kennedy Seed, with Government of Canada funding, it celebrates seven African Canadian leaders in various disciplines who have made a strong impact, and premiered in Toronto during Black History Month in 2023. Sonia also wrote, sang and danced to its title song on the video TRACE: Tracing African Canadian Extraordinaire.
As well, the film involved two of Sonia’s initiatives. Her artistic services company, Saimy’s Art, applies her knowledge and expertise to promote the best of African arts and artists. African Women Acting (AWA), the non-profit organization she founded in 2013, works to empower and present African artists, foster African culture, and deal with pressing social issues.
Fluent in English, Italian, French and several African dialects, Sonia grew up in Benin City, Nigeria – a country celebrated in her first album, Nigerian Spirit (2017, distributed by Believe). Influenced by the cultures of her mother’s Bini people, the surrounding Muslim and Christian populations, and the world beyond, she was singing in public by 11. Moving to Italy in her teens, she received a diploma in music performance from Turin’s Centro Jazz and took theatre training.
By 23, she was touring across Italy and Europe. As a singer, she performed alongside African music legends Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Mahotella Queens. As an actress, she toured 14 years with the National Theatre of Turin as the first Black Cinderella, and appeared with other companies, as well as playing leads in film and TV productions including a key role in Louis Nero’s film Il Mistero di Dante. She also scored music for theatre and film, coached and worked with singers and actors on technique, self-promotion and entrepreneurship, and helped introduce Italy to the cinema of her native Nigeria. In Italy she also began her extraordinary work with youth, mainly of African descent. Having taken leadership training that focused on human rights and project development for minorities, she has researched, written, directed, and produced Afrocentric themed plays and concerts to make young people aware and proud of their heritage.
Sonia Aimy continues to inspire others: “It is not how far you go, or how much you do, but how well you understand and appreciate what it takes to live a beautiful life until our call time!”