Photography: Sophia Carey / @sophiajcarey

If you had to describe your music/style in a sentence, what would you say?
I’d say some sort of combination of these words: dark, alternative, electronic R&B/pop.

Have you always wanted to create music? How did you get into it?
I’ve always wanted to be a music artist and creator. I’ve been told that I sang before I could speak, so I guess that was a sign. Basically, my parents put me in voice lessons and musical theatre starting around age seven/eight, and I haven’t looked back since.

What was the first gig you attended?
The first one I have a proper memory of was when I had just turned 11, and Hannah Montana was just about to debut in the US. She did a free promo tour around the country and played in a standing room only venue in my home city with the Jonas Brothers. It was wild; it was the oldest Jonas’s 17th birthday that day, and they only turned the house lights off for Hannah Montana with just a single spotlight on the stage for her and a backing track, and I was obviously front row centre for it all, haha! What a gig, considering where they all are now and how young we all were.

SOLA Image 2

Can you pinpoint a live gig or a piece of music that initially inspired you?
When I was 19, I went to a Paramore gig as my friend had a spare ticket. I had to go as a bit of nostalgia since I loved Paramore growing up. So I went, and seeing them perform in this arena after having established this successful, lasting career, it just really inspired me; I wanted to do that too. I had never written a song before then because I was too nervous and self-conscious, frankly. But I decided to just go for it after that gig.

What do you think is the overriding influence on your songwriting: other art, emotions, current affairs – or a mixture of all of these?
It’s definitely a mixture of everything. Everything around me informs my writing. Whether it’s a news article that makes me feel a certain way or a personal experience, it’s fair game for me.

Do you have a favourite venue you’ve performed in? If so, what makes it special?
My favourite venue I’ve performed in would probably be the Hard Rock Cafe next to Hyde Park in London. I was supporting Jack Savoretti, Lucy Spraggan, and James Walsh from Starsailor for War Child UK and another charity called Music for Mental Wealth. The staff and crew were incredibly kind and great to work with, it was a perfect opportunity to use my music for something positive, and it just really cemented in my mind that music is one of my ways to give back.

Do you have a favourite song or piece of music to perform? What does it say about you?
My favourite song of mine to perform is my ballad Dear God. I wrote it approaching the second anniversary of my dad passing away, and I was in a really dark place. My country had just elected an orange demagogue, and I couldn’t handle seeing so much pain and violence around the world, in addition to my own personal pain. So I wrote it down. And it helps me vent a little every time I sing it still. I never released it fully, but it’s on SoundCloud, and I would love to hear what people think!

“Music is a form of communication that goes beyond words. It is intimately linked to our basic humanity.” SOLA

How have you been spending lockdown?
A combination of things. I’m starting a podcast network with another local artist called AJ Marks, and so we’ve been (virtually) meeting and recording to work on all of that. I’ve also been spending a lot of time trying to keep up with what’s going on in the news and what’s going on in my home country, the US. I’ve been Zoom-ing people as much as possible to stay connected, which is incredibly important for our shared mental health. I’ve also been trying to write some music too, of course. I’ve been doing lots of co-writing and prepping for my single release for Self-Destructing so that’s been good. I’ve found it’s difficult to concentrate on much of anything when your brain is just trying to make sense of our world, but I’m doing my best to keep moving forward in all this.

Why is music important to you?
Music is a form of communication that goes beyond words and fires up parts of our brains in ways that normal communication just cannot accomplish. It is intimately linked to our basic humanity, and it has the ability to intimately link humanity in ways that few things can. It is a powerful artform, and I’m grateful to be able to create and share that artform.

Can you recommend an artist, band or album that Bido Lito! readers might not have heard?
Emilie Nicolas. She’s a moody, Norwegian R&B artist, and her voice, melodies, and production just always give me the chills, and I love basically everything that she does! Her two most recent singles are fire; definitely give her a listen!

@iamsolamusic
Self-Destructing is out now.

 

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