Sonny Emory (born December 23, 1962) is a freelance touring and studio drummer. He has worked with many famous acts, including Earth, Wind & Fire, Steely Dan, Bruce Hornsby, and the B-52's.
Sonny Emory is a native of Atlanta, Georgia (and a 1980 graduate of Frederick Douglass High School) who received his first drum set at the age of four. After graduating from Georgia State University with a Bachelor in Jazz Performance, Sonny began his transition to becoming a professional drummer playing with Joe Sample and the Crusaders. With over 20 years of live performance and studio work behind him, Sonny maintains a busy schedule in the music industry and is highly regarded in the business.
Years as a professional performer and studio musician
Though probably best known for his groundbreaking drumming with Earth, Wind, and Fire; Sonny has performed with a virtual "who's who" in pop and jazz music including Stanley Clarke, David Sanborn, Bette Midler, Al Jarreau, Paula Abdul, Lee Ritenour, Jean-Luc Ponty, and Boz Scaggs, and even Jennifer Lopez. He is also known for innovative visual effects during live performances that include exciting stick-twirling and back-sticking techniques. As a World Renowned Drummer and Grammy Award Winner, Sonny is considered to be one of the greatest drummers to have come along in a while. His proficiency and style have awarded him the opportunity to record on platinum status albums such as the B-52's' Cosmic Thing and Steely Dan's Grammy award winning Two Against Nature.
Sonny is equally in demand for studio work as for what's delivered during live performances. Sonny has additional credits that include Bruce Hornsby, Jennifer Lopez, and Lee Ritenour. Currently, he is gigging with Bette Midler and Bruce Hornsby & the Noise Makers while working on his own solo album. Recently, Sonny was invited to perform as the headliner for opening night of the 28th Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival. Now, he leads his own ultra funky progressive aggregation, State of the Art formerly known as Hypnofunk.
With a wealth of teaching experience, Sonny is committed to balancing academics and entertainment. He teaches private lessons to assist students in developing their craft and setting long-term goals in order to be successful in their chosen musical endeavors.
Sonny has performed countless clinics and master classes in academic settings, drum stores, and during national music conferences, both independently and for his endorsers YAMAHA Drums, ZILDJIAN Cymbals. He recently performed a clinic in Melbourne, Australia and is currently finalizing plans for the beginning phase of Emory Performing Arts Center through a partnership with Deerwood Academy in Atlanta, Georgia.
Solo recording credits
Sonny co-wrote the tune "Crusin", which can be heard on the score to Spike Lee's 1998 film "Get on the Bus". Also, he worked on the "Lethal Weapon II" soundtrack with Eric Clapton and David Sanborn. In 1996, Sonny released "Hypnofunk", a solo project produced by Earth, Wind and Fire's founder, Maurice White. He is currently putting the finishing touches to his fourth solo project entitled "Love's Pure Light" which is schedule for release June 2005.
Sonny currently endorses YAMAHA Drums, ZILDJIAN Cymbals and Drumsticks, Shure Microphones, Meyers Sound Systems, Toca Percussion, and LP Percussions.