Legendary 90s rock frontwoman has barely aged a day in the 29 years since chart hits – as band reunites for UK tour

HER band’s crunchy indie power pop made fans of some all time music legends like Madonna and Morrissey.

Thirty years after they cut through the bustling Britpop scene of the 90s, Echobelly are back with a tour and a soon to be released new album – their first in seven years.

Sonya Madan is preparing to go out on the road with Echobelly


Sonya Madan is preparing to go out on the road with EchobellyCredit: Getty

Leading the line is Sonya Madan, 56, the lyrical firebrand behind hits like King of the Kerb and Great Things from the group’s sophomore album On.

Along with guitarist and fellow songwriter Glenn Johnasson, she will play 11 dates across the country next month including sold out shows in Bristol and London.

The group appears to have its mojo back and has teased a number of updates from the studio in recent months.

Back in January, Sonya – who looks barely a day older than her 90s pomp – told fans: “Album is mixed. Next step mastering. Photo of us hanging in studio while Chopper makes bass magic.”

While in a personal update the following month she delved into her own past, rummaging through a chest of forgotten treasures.

She said: “Childhood #diaries, student day #photos, #love letters, fan mail and a handwritten note from #Morrissey with his address. Isn’t it a weird feeling when you stumble upon your past? Do you recognise the person you once were?”

The group had the world at their feet in the 90s, but a legal dispute later in the decade derailed their momentum.

Sonya previously detailed how the group’s management thwarted opportunities that were coming their way over in America.

The block cracking the States led to a messy firing that turned into a two-year long court battle.

The debacle allegedly only came to an end when a barrister representing the band informed the other party that there was no money to be gained from continuing with proceedings.

While that was a low point of the decade, there was much for Echobelly to celebrate and be proud of too.


The band were nearly signed by Madonna, who was a massive fan of Sonya’s in particular, and they received high praise from another American powerhouse, R.E.M.

Speaking to LouderSound in 2021, Sonya reflected modestly on having legends as admirers.

She said: “When I think about it now, it’s probably more exciting than it was at the time, because then I kind of just went with the flow, it all seemed to happen naturally. I didn’t grow up being a music aficionado or obsessed with it, so for me it was almost like a slightly out of body experience, kind of aware of it all happening.”

Explaining how they nearly joined forces with queen of pop, Madge, Sonya said: “Madonna was trying to sign us, but we’d just signed a deal with Sony so it was impossible – she wanted us for the American Maverick label.

“It didn’t happen, but she referred to me in a tabloid as a real “star”, which was something rather moving coming from someone like her because whatever you think of her, she is a star.

“And as for REM, they said that we basically inspired them to get back into writing when they heard the Bellyache EP and they wrote Monster after that, which was their biggest selling album, so that again was an amazing thing to hear.”

Closer to home, The Smiths frontman Morrissey held Echobelly in high regard, preferring them to the original Britpop darlings Suede.

“Suede were all the rage at the time,” said Sonya. “And I remember reading an article where a journalist asked him what he thought of them and he said, ‘yes, they write nice songs but Echobelly write great songs’.

“In his autobiography, he says that he loves the band. I’m really moved because I appreciate him as a writer and I know that some of our contemporaries would give a kidney to hear him say these things about them haha!”

The group is best known for its trio of major lable LPs in the 90s – Everyone’s Got One, On and Lustre.

The early 00s saw them take full control by releasing the 2001 record People Are Expensive and 2005’s Gravity Pulls on their own label.

Their latest full length release came in 2017 with Anarchy and Alchemy.

Sonya was one of rock's leading ladies in the 90s


Sonya was one of rock’s leading ladies in the 90sCredit: Getty
Echobelly were highly thought of by Madonna and Morrissey


Echobelly were highly thought of by Madonna and MorrisseyCredit: Getty


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