Sonja Kristina: I'm not easily intimidated or overawed by people
Prog speaks to enigmatic Curved Air singer Sonja Kristina to look over her illustrious career as a figurehead of progressive rock
Born Sonja Christina Shaw, Sonja Kristina has been a crucial figure on the progressive rock scene now for close on five decades.
The granddaughter of acclaimed Swedish actress Gerda Lundequist, she first got noticed when playing the role of Crissy in the original West End production of Hair in 1968. Around this time, Kristina was involved in running the famed Troubadour Club in West London, a haven for folk musicians. In 1969, she was brought into the fledgling Curved Air line-up as their vocalist, and over the next few years not only helped to establish the band as one of the most individual and exciting bands on the progressive scene, but she also became a fully-fledged sex symbol.
When Curved Air split up in 1976 after releasing six studio albums, Kristina took various jobs in order to support her young family: she not only returned to Hair when a new production opened, but she also became a croupier at the Playboy Club in London.
Thankfully, she came back to the contemporary music scene in 1980 with the release of a self-titled solo album, showing she had lost none of her talent.
Subsequently, not only has the vocalist continued to put out albums, both under her own name and also as part of the multi-media duo MASK with Marvin Ayres, but she has also been a crucial part of the reunited Curved Air. Since the band returned to action in 2008, they have toured regularly, and also put out two new albums, namely Reborn in 2008 and North Star six years later.
In 2014, Kristina received the Guiding Light accolade at the Progressive Music Awards. Not only did this celebrate her enduring appeal and success, but also underlined her importance as a huge influence on successive generations of talent, including Kate Bush.
Throughout what is now fast approaching 50 years as a major musical force, Sonja Kristina has never bowed to the vagaries of any trend. She has remained true to her own instincts and spirit, and has evolved into one of the most charismatic performers of the last five decades. And yet, she has also been a constantly enigmatic figure, a fact that has helped to encourage a burning fascination about who she really is, and what drives her. Now is the time to find out a little more about the woman behind the star, to debunk some myths and get to the heart of the facts…