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In Conversation: SOLOMON

SOLOMON's music has steadily garnered both critical acclaim and fervent following, and for good reason. His evocative performances are often described as experiences in themself, whether it’s an intimate set on stage or an improv rendition on a New York subway platform. Although the common thread running through SOLOMON’s success is his presence in his music and physical performances, it pales in comparison to lyrical prowess that is often complemented by an acoustic guitar. Despite his rising fame, Solomon remains an artist driven by his passion for music and the desire to connect with his listeners on a personal level.

As an artist, who is SOLOMON?

SOLOMON is a singer/songwriter, producer from London. From the age of 15, I’ve been writing songs in my bedroom with an acoustic guitar.

What was your ‘I want to make music’ moment? If you can’t pick one, tell all of them!

There wasn't a pivotal moment, but more of a gradual shift. I grew up loving art; I would draw (lots of manga) every day and as my love for it grew, I tried to tie it into my love for gaming. I thought it would be cool to get into art and design for the moving image (games, TV, film etc.). I picked up a guitar at age 9, and my Mum showed me my first three chords – the only ones she happened to know, and the rest was history, I didn't stop. My love for art never fully dwindled out either, and even now I draw a lot of my artwork digitally and sketch up visual concepts for the world my music/story will sit in.

Now, I'd love to tie my passion for music to the moving image instead, and score music for games, TV, film, and/or direct my own cinematic works that interweave perfectly with my music. Art was always gonna be at the core, only its form has gradually expanded in different directions.

How do you want people to feel when they listen to your music?

Immersed. I want to create an escape from what people consider the “real world”. Emotionally, the songs may bring relief, tears, joy or energy but my goal isn’t set around a particular emotion; it’s based on sending them ‘elsewhere’.

It’s clear that you love performing, whether it’s in a venue or on your socials. What is it about singing to people that resonates with you?

The fact that it resonates with others is what resonates with me. Songs stemming from a place of pain or heartbreak have the ability to free people from their own.

For me, music is a vice. It’s journalling my thoughts and feelings in physical form. I use creating it as an escape and others use listening to it for the same reason.

Tell me about this New York Subway performance, was it spur of the moment?

Yes! My manager and I had just arrived in New York, and I suggested, if we see a street performer with a guitar, we should tip and ask if I could play a song of my own. A few subway stops later, we get off to change trains and who do we see? A.N.T.S band performing (with Sax, Flute and drums). We introduced ourselves, got chatting with them and they were more than happy to listen and jam along to ‘phases’. Within moments we had gone from strangers to performing together under the streets of New York. Crazy.

The lyrics to Phases feel quite intimate and personal, like a lot of your music (robbery - acoustic voicenote is my favourite!) Is there a story behind it? Is it your story or from someone around you?

It is very personal. I’ve started to notice that a lot of my songs are like letters or messages to someone and that’s probably why they feel so intimate. I see myself as a storyteller, I believe it stems from writing in a way that's so personal and direct – it's like the start of a movie where you're dropped into the middle of a situation, scrambling to piece together what's going on.

In the simplest terms, Phases tells the story of a connection so intense, that it transitions through all these phases of a relationship SO quickly that it's hard to even process what just happened.

Tell us, how did Kojey end up featuring on the song? What was it like for you to know that he wanted to collaborate?

He commented on the original TikTok snippet I posted asking to jump on; he followed through, pulled up to the studio, we ate, chatted and the rest is history! I'm super grateful we met. He’s a great guy and always comes with words of wisdom.

From R&B to Hip-Hop, Lo-fi and even Rock and Folk. You definitely don’t like to put yourself in a box, which I like. Do you have a leading sound/a current favourite genre you like to make music in?

Definitely not, I just love good music. I'd say (up until recording) it all stems from a place of Folk, so I'd write songs with my guitar and play them to people. Genre-wise my songs branch out in any and every direction, but they could all be boiled back down to chords and lyrics with a melody.

The many versions of Listen Up are testament to your versatility (acoustic version/High Contrast remix) and ability to collaborate with artists that have varying sounds. Which version speaks to you the most?

I think most would agree when I say my music shines acoustically. That's where it's born, and it will always be the core.

Do you play any other instruments other than guitar? And is your love for playing on the same level as your singing/songwriting/producing?

I actually started out on piano at age 7. As soon as I picked up the guitar two years later, I dropped keys like a hot potato [laughs], I wish I hadn’t, as it plays massively into my production. I'm yet to really hone in on keys, and bring it up to a level that's much closer to my other skills. It's like learning a whole new dialect to expand the way I interact via the universal language of music.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received as an artist?

Do what makes YOU happy. We live in an opinionated world, and you'll never please everyone, but if you're truly in love with what you do/make, who cares what anyone else thinks? Let people love you for you; not for trying to be what you think people want.

What can we expect from you the rest of 2023?

A LOT of music. I’m super excited to start building a conceptual world and I can't wait to invite people in, as the bigger picture becomes much clearer.

Listen to SOLOMON's new project 'FOR STARTERS', out now on all streaming platforms


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