Sonae: Five things I decided in 2015

December 21, 2015

Picking Sonae‘s ‘Top Five…’ wouldn’t help too much because she did not have the capacity to listen to enough albums or see enough films. Maybe she didn’t have much spare time – but 2015 was exciting: her debut album ‘Far Away Is Right Around The Corner’ came out on Monika Enterprise, she went back back to university for doing a Master at the Institute For Popular Music at Folkwang University of Arts, she’s been playing concerts on a regular basis, organising a concert series in Cologne and installing a monthly come-together for female electronic artists. She wrote her first theater score and it’s been her first year with a normal income after 15 years below the breadline. Sonae is sharing 5 important ideas she realized this year, this being the most personal feature that’s ever been published on Sounds Of A Tired City. 

Sonia Güttler aka Sonae

Sonia Güttler aka Sonae


The experiences I enjoyed and the bettering of my life circumstances allowed me to change my view on things and to make decisions. Here are five of them:

Be political

For many years I decided to declare myself as ‘non-political’ but I finally understood that it is not possible to be ‘non-political’. You may disagree in politics. But being human implicates being political, and after accepting this I started taking better care of my political awareness. This in a wider thinking does mean having an open ear for what is going on around the globe – you can’t hide from it anyway. Following the news and trying to understand the understandable – watching adults destroying our planet, killing each other, spreading hate and unreflected positions, yearning for evil values and calling it ‘politics and business’ – first it left me speechless and full of negative judgements for those adults. Why I felt bad. But I realised that I am an adult, too – which in a second step made me aware of my very own responsibilities and of what I can do.

Give away money

Now that I don’t have to worry about our basic needs anymore I understand the neutral nature of money – it is no concrete value itself but only a symbol. Depending on your life circumstances it stands for negative or positive effects its absence or presence means for you. Finally having enough to pay bills, to decide what to eat not only 14 but all days of the month and even having a bit left is an amazing experience – it is no longer connected to worries, I finally can breathe. The meaning of money has changed for me: now it stands for opportunities. I can say ‘Yes’ to people who are not so well off and help organisations asking for money, I can say ‘Yes’ to a wish of my child, I can say ‘Yes’ to artistic ideas and bring up art projects with friends.

Do not accept mass animal farming

When my child was still small we were vegetarians. But she grew up and explained her love for steak and burgers to me, complaining that I never buy meat. And I must admit that I missed Bolognese and chicken myself. We left the veggie path. Not having much money but eating meat (and many other products) is a disaster: you will quickly find out that you are supporting mass animal farming when buying food at a discounter. So this year was my chance: we finally changed our way to buy food.

Give up guestlist and pay entrance fee

Cultural projects are difficult to run, artists and musicians can hardly make a living − we all know that. Working and participating in my music scene I’ve always been able to ask for guestlist, and referring to the fact that e.g. a music author is getting payed 20€ for an album review, I think that’s okay! But I decided to pay entrance fee whenever I go out for myself and I can afford those.

Never stop learning

After graduating as an online editor I was happy to find myself in the luxury position of a freelance journalist in different jobs. Within a year everything found its routine, life was good and floating. My brain started relaxing – but it felt like drying. I got bored. I went back to university, and now I feel hydrated again. I had to learn how important learning is, and how much time it takes as well. I want to continue learning after this second graduation – some books are already waiting for me.




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