Sonya Waters Profile

Garth Cartwright
27 Jul 2021

Sonya Waters has been making music for over 40 years, ranging from punk to ambient, indie to country, ska through Krautrock, all the time writing her own songs and following her muse. She’s seen little commercial reward for her efforts but has garnered plenty of respect as a pioneering female voice in New Zealand music.

In her time, she has performed at both Sweetwaters and Glastonbury festivals, been part of London’s squat rock and San Francisco’s alt-rock scenes, recorded for Ripper Records and Flying Nun, and fronted a series of constantly innovative bands.

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Sonya Waters at Outsider Sounds, Auckland Fringe Festival, Auckland Town Hall.
Photo credit: Ben Howe
Fang - Man From The South (2002)
Instigators - Hope She's Alright (1982)
Sonya Waters - No Pain, Ripper, 1983
Sonya Waters, Orange, 1991.
Photo credit: Sonya Waters Collection
Sonya Waters - No Pain, Ripper, 1983.
The first lineup of Fang: Sonya Waters, Ben Howe, Andrea Holmes.
Photo credit: Sonya Waters Collection
Instigators, L to R: Sonya Waters, Tom Rothsey, Eddie Olsen.
Photo credit: Sonya Waters Collection
White Swan Black Swan EP (2007).
Sonya Waters performing with the Instigators at Sweetwaters, 1982.
Photo credit: Sonya Waters Collection
Fang - Somewhere Out There (2002).
Orange CD cover, Dewdrops Records, 1994.
Photo credit: Sonya Waters Collection
Fang - Something Good (2004)
White Swan Black Swan - Finger and Nail (2008)
Sonya Waters.
Photo credit: Photo by Bryan Staff
Instigators - Hope She's Alright (Ripper, 1982)
Avoid!avoid: Sonya Waters, Stephen Reay, Brendan Moran.
Photo credit: Publicity image
The Instigators at Sweetwaters, 1982 on the Ariel Railway Stage
Photo credit: Photo by Gordon William Bartram
Fang, 2004.
Photo credit: Sonya Waters Collection
Sonya Waters at Outsider Sounds, Auckland Fringe Festival, Auckland Town Hall.
Photo credit: Ben Howe
White Swan Black Swan: Sonya Waters and Ben Howe.
Photo credit: Kathryn McCool
Sonya Waters in Orange, 1992.
Photo credit: Kim Stringfellow
White Swan Black Swan - I'm Living For You
Fang - Swim Up Stream (2004)
Fang - The Origin of Species (1999)
avoid!avoid - Drones (2016)
Sonya Waters in Orange, 1994.
Photo credit: Kim Stringfellow
Sonya Waters in Orange, 1992.
Photo credit: Kim Stringfellow
White Swan Black Swan (album, 2008)
Sonya Waters, Instigators, early 80s.
Photo credit: Sonya Waters Collection
Sonya Waters performing at City Gallery Wellington, 2020.
Photo credit: Ben Howe
Sonya Waters backstage at Glastonbury Festival with the Woodentops, 1987.
Photo credit: Sonya Waters Collection
Fang - Yellow (2004)
The Instigators.
Photo credit: Sonya Waters Collection
White Swan Black Swan. L to R: Rick McShane, Sonya Waters, Ben Howe, Ben Furniss.
Photo credit: Kathryn McCool
Sonya Waters - No Pain, Ripper, 1983