On stage, “Sharona Thomas and SOLID Soul” have a calling card a mile high and a mile wide. If there is a venue or an event that wants golden music, they want Sharona. SOLID Soul has been that funky extra something added to her performance. It’s her very own band that formed in January.
Once Thomas graces the stage and begins to vocalize, one quickly realizes there is something special about this amazing artist. She has earned the reputation of being one of the most sought-after female vocalists in the Acadiana area. Thomas is dynamically versatile in various types of musical genres. In raw energy, she dominates the stage. That’s why her current work roster also includes lead vocal roles for the bands, “Gritz ‘N Gravy” and “Basin Street Band.”
As the child of a preacher, her roots are deeply cultivated in Gospel music. But this was after a time spent in a broken foster care program. “I’m from Delaware and the system charged with caring for children failed me. I was separated from my siblings, and I never had a person in my corner,” says Thomas.
After many years of just trying to survive, Thomas was reunited with her real family. Having musically inclined siblings and a father who led a church, Thomas was turned on to the solid soul music of her day. That is evident now, whether she is singing funk, blues, R&B, or even rock. She is a power-lead vocalist who, after moving to Louisiana and calling it home, was quickly invited to sing with such heavy locals as “The Robbie Bush Band,” “Krossfyre,” “GTO and The D Street Brass Band,” “Major Handy and The Louisiana Soul Revue,” and the party band “SOULED OUT.”
In addition, Thomas is a natural fit for the Blue Monday Concert Series. Supporting Acadiana’s aging musicians, Thomas is a mainstay with the Blue Monday Allstar Band. Being part of this philanthropic music project has given Thomas the opportunity to perform and share the stage with such headliners as Marc Broussard, Steve Riley, Yvette Landry, Roddy Romero, Steve Adams, Warren Storm, Ronnie Eades (Muscle Shoals Horns) and Grammy Award winner Lee Allen Zeno, just to name a few.
Her accolades are many. In 2010, Thomas was named “Acadiana’s Next Superstar” by local affiliate FOX 15, KADN/My KLAF and BIG 102.1 FM. In 2019, Thomas performed at Festival International de Louisiane with the Blue Monday Allstar Band and later performed at Festivals Acadiens et Créoles with Major Handy and the Louisiana Soul Revue. Also that year, Thomas performed for the Baton Rouge Blues Gala Awards Ceremony held at the Old Governor’s Mansion. The event honored Blues legends Clarence Williams, Lil’ Buck Sinegal, Rob Payer, Willie Durisseau and Bobby Rush. She recently performed for the Washington D.C. Mardi Gras Ball with the Bayou Boys.
Thomas has been called upon to perform at Lafayette’s premier performing arts venue, Acadiana Center for the Arts, performing for the sold-out CD launch for “The Good Dudes” and for Zeno Fest, the fundraiser for Lee Allen Zeno. Thomas has also sung the National Anthem at the CajunDome for Lafayette’s former professional hockey team, The Ice Gators. In 2020, Thomas was slated to perform again at Festival International de Louisiane and debut at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, but both were canceled due to the COVID pandemic. While COVID prevented her performances at those two events, it didn’t stop her from sharing her gifts.
The talent of Thomas has given her the opportunity to be a frequent recording studio session vocalist at the famed Dockside Studio in Maurice, La. She has recorded with local acts Laura Huval, Julian Primeaux, Greg Gordon, and her own daughter Gabby Rhinehardt. In addition, she has toured throughout Louisiana and Mississippi supporting some of the most sought-after groups along the Gulf Coast. In addition, Thomas was tapped to be part of the Christian Youth Theater (CYT) teaching staff. The CYT gig enables Thomas to teach and encourage young people to let their talent bloom.
COVID also provided Thomas a chance to explore her own music. When SOLID Soul guitar player Tony Goulas took time out to write music during the pandemic, he decided to write a song for Thomas. The result was a single titled, “Lonely Girl.” It has gotten plenty of airplay and radio interviews for the very patient Sharona Thomas, and it could also be a contender for a Grammy nod.
Now, with a song to call her own and a band made up of some of Lafayette’s most talented musicians, Sharona Thomas is at the top of her game. She is an inspiration and a mentor to a younger group of musicians and creatives. And every weekend she has been able to perform live during COVID, she is bringing nothing but joy and soul to the many fans at the place she can now happily calls home.