Artist Interview with Solene

How did you get into music?

I had always been around awesome music growing up, but I didn’t find my voice until I discovered jazz through games like Fallout and Bioshock.

Then in college I sang with the jazz ensemble. There I was able to really study music and learn about the jazz legends. That experience led to some professional gigs, like fronting big-bands and doing intimate loungey-stuff; out of which, I truly found my love to perform. But then in 2017, I took a little break from singing.

So what sparked your break from music and how did you come back to it?

I’ve always gone back and forth between wanting to pursue my artistic passions and choosing a more stable, conventional career—which is why I left music to focus on psychology. So I liked being a psych major, but I didn’t feel like I was feeding my soul.

Feeling this discontent and inner-turmoil, I left psychology behind to work in the marijuana industry. Which was awesome! I eventually found myself managing a cannabis smoking lounge here in San Francisco, including hosting open-mic nights. People would ask me to sing and loved hearing me, which made me super happy! I love to perform, and that passion was being reignited. I began feeling like I didn’t want to hire the talent—I wanted to be the talent.

But the day Mac Miller died is when I decided. He was one of my biggest and longest running inspirations. Suddenly he was gone, and I was reminded of life’s impermanence. I couldn’t let life to slip away, dwelling over “what could have been.” That is just something so important to me, and I don’t want to lose that. So I decided to take the plunge and just do it! We manifest our own destinies.

Where were you growing up, and what were your childhood dreams?

I was born in LA, but we moved all over Southern California, and briefly Miami. Of course, I also spent 5 years in living England. All that traveling really opens mind, especially when you’re young. Most of my life I had wanted to be a fashion designer. I was always drawing, creating these manga girls with these detailed, unique and awesome outfits inspired by Japanese culture. Think Gwen Stefani’s “Harajuku Lovers” wardrobe. Fashion design seemed like the obvious choice at the time—but I wasn’t prepared for how painfully slow I am at cutting patterns!

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Well I’m trained as a jazz singer, so I take a lot of vocal inspiration from Ella Fitzgerald (I love her deep, rich voice!) and Billie Holiday. Erykah Badu too. In terms of the music: J Dilla, Mac Miller, and Mick Jenkins have my heart. Those cats are the innovators, blurring genres to make new art; funk, soul, jazz, and hip-hop all fused cool harmony. That’s what I’m out here doing. I’m creating something fresh, not creating a genre, but an attitude.

Could you break down costs for recording artists?

Album/EP total costs: Minimum $1,000, but be prepared to go over!

Album Distribution: $70+ Also depends if you pay once or yearly

Buying beats: $40 to 400+ for exclusive licenses

Approx. $100/hr: Studio and mixing time

Approx. $150/hr: Album art, marketing, music videos

What other advice can you offer to emerging artists?

Don’t be scared! If you are persistent, then you’ll find your way. Working on your craft every day.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to people. You will be surprised who’s willing to help you.

Make music that you would enjoy, not what you think others want, because if you don’t like it then why should someone else.

Just be yourself, because being the real you is the greatest gift you can give to the world!

The goal is to succeed without having to sacrifice who you are as an artist!

What does success look like to you?

Doing what I love, feeding my soul, for a living and being happy while I do it.

Finally how is your music coming along, and what can we expect from you in 2019?

I just released my first single “Downer Vibe” (can listen here) and so far the reception has been super great! People really connect with the lyrics. It’s one of those songs that you can’t help but get stuck in your head! My next single, “Honey Drop”, comes out next month. It’s a powerful funk and soul track about the kinda love that unites souls. The main goal is to have an EP out by summertime. Beyond that, I have lots of collaborations with other lo-fi and hip hop artist in the works. There’s plenty of content coming this year! I’m just getting started.


  • Gordon says:
    Apr 3 at 03:03

    Beautiful !! Always persist in your dreams no matter what. Can’t wait to see you at the top and on one of them billboards. Go Solene !!

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