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Sonya Waters


Sonya Waters first appeared as the vocalist for ska group The Instigators, putting out a couple 7″ singles on Ripper Records in the early 1980’s before releasing an EP under her own name in 1983. This release got her a lot of attention – eventually leading to an RIANZ award for most promising female vocalist.

“I covered ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ and five originals,” says Waters. “I think I just didn’t know what to do. At the time I was playing in The Bombers [which was] a punk art project – and Big Sideways, a big band – that’s why there’s quite a few different people guesting on that album. I did a few shows, but I was quite keen to go overseas.”

Sonya Waters – from her AudioCulture profile

From there Waters headed overseas; first to Australia (where she played with Jan Preston of Coup d’Etat) and then on to an adventure in England, ‘playing’ with the Thompson Twins, joining Benny Staples in The Woodentops and Jed Town’s ICU before heading to San Francisco for another adventure.

During the 1990’s she was the vocalist and guitarist for US shoegaze group ‘Orange’ before returning to New Zealand to form the indie-pop group Fang with her partner, former Superette bassist (and Arch Hill label boss) Ben Howe.

She contributed vocals to recordings by The Broken Heartbreakers, formed White Swan Black Swan (again with Howe) and then released the ambient electronic solo album ‘The Sheltering Ranges’ in 2021.



  • No Pain 12″ EP (1983, Ripper, RPR006)
  • The Sheltering Ranges (2021, Cudighi Records, CUD34)


Rianz Awards 1983

  • Most Promising Female Vocalist Of The Year Sonya Waters


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