Robert Hylton

The group’s quiet mastermind, engineering and producing as well as co-writing.  Most of the time, he also thinks he manages the group but we all know that isn’t possible.

Like Sonya, he grew up in Spokane (born in Denver, CO) and eventually lived in Phoenix, AZ, Seattle, WA, and Hong Kong.

Key influences include his parents and sister, Mead High School, Arizona State University, Sequencia, Microsoft, Transpara and others.

Sonya Zilka

The vivacious and uncontrollable lead singer.  Needs management but is indeed unmanageable like any good frontwoman.

Like Robert, she grew up in Spokane, WA (born in Pocatello, ID), and lived in New York, San Francisco and Hong Kong.

Key influences include her parents, University High School, Washington State University, Columbia University, NBC, Citi, EA, and the Gates Foundation.

The Spokanites are Sonya Zilka and Robert Hylton, and if we may be so bold, we think the story about how this ‘band’ formed is a good one.  We are both from Spokane, Washington and amazingly, we met on a bus in Sri Lanka! It was February 2006 and we were supporting Room to Read, a non-profit that builds schools and libraries in developing countries.  It was crazy to think that two people from a small town in the US could find themselves on the same bus almost as far away from Spokane as you can get (literally).  But wait, there’s more...

Only after several hours of annoying our fellow passengers with talk of ‘Spoke-Angeles’ and other dribble did we find out we were both living in Hong Kong at the time and we lived walking distance from each other.  It expanded from there: we had been at the same parties but not met, we had friends in common but never knew each other, Sonya owned a painting that Robert had almost bought during a trip to Vietnam, and so on.  The list is way too long to put here, but to put it simply, fate had intervened and whether or not we liked each other, we had to at least try this out.  The rest is history...

After a fantasy year in Hong Kong that led us on crazy adventures throughout Asia, Sonya joined a new record label (got a new job) and we packed our bags for Seattle where we started our version of ‘settling down.’  Settled we haven’t been, continuing the global nomadic nature of this group by visiting places like Belize, Ireland, India, Argentina, Uruguay, Tibet, Nepal, and even Burley, Idaho.  Speaking of India, while overlooking the Taj Mahal in November 2008, Robert suggested a full-time collaborative relationship with Sonya by proposing marriage with a $39.00 fake diamond - the Spokanites had formed.

And that leads us to now, where the Spokanites have just tied the knot and have taken the show to the world to share the joy with our friends.  We look forward to seeing you all on the road in 2010!