Secret Stash Records announced on Saturday, June 17, that soul singer Sonny Knight has died at age 69.
Knight enjoyed a late-career revival, thanks to support from local record label and collective Secret Stash and his fiery horn-fueled band the Lakers. In 2013, Sonny Knight and the Lakers released the acclaimed album I'm Still Here, and followed that up with 2016's Sooner or Later.
Earlier this spring, the powerhouse soul singer announced that he would be canceling all of his scheduled tour dates so that he could undergo chemotherapy treatment for cancer. "The last four years of being a part of the Lakers have been the best years of my life," Knight told Andrea Swensson at that time. "It's incredible all the people that have come out and given us so much love and support."
Sonny Knight had enjoyed an earlier recording career in the 1960s and '70s, recording singles as Little Sonny Knight and then as a member of funk group Haze. Knight served in the United States Army, and he later worked as an over-the-road truck driver before revitalizing his music career in 2014.
In its announcement, Secret Stash wrote, "Sonny leaves a legacy of entertainment and a joy for life that won't soon be forgotten by his family, friends, band, and fans."
In May 2017, Knight spoke frankly with Andrea Swensson about his diagnosis, and he also described how the Lakers and Secret Stash had become so close to his heart. "This is my family," Knight said. "I look forward to going to work. Why? Because of our experiences; of what we do in fun times, and the obstacles that we come across. And that's the really fun part, because we find ways to get through them. Out of all the bands I've played in, this is my family, my friends, my circle; people that I can truly say got my back. And it took me a long time to try and learn that. These cats are there for me and I'm good with that."