Sola is a New York-based musician originally from Houston, Texas. Learn more about her story here!
What influenced you to become a musician?
I’ve always been in love with music. I grew up in the church choir and performing in musical theater productions super young, and there was nothing I loved more than performing. My older sisters influenced me a ton since we all did musical theater shows together and sang around the house 24/7. I knew at the age of 8 that I wanted to be a musician, from the moment I auditioned for the elementary school talent show with “Breaking Free” from High School Musical lol. I sang the duet as a solo! Growing up watching MTV music videos before school every morning, and tuning into VH1 to see artists performing on screen just fascinated me, and I wanted so badly to be doing what I saw on TV.
Has studying at NYU made you think about your creative approach to making music different vs. before you started college?
Absolutely. The reason why I didn’t release any music before college was because I was terrified of looking back on my older music and not being proud of it. In high school, I wrote music and performed any chance that I got, but I knew I wanted to wait to release any of my own music until I could make something truly great. Coming to NYU completely changed my entire creative process. Through studying Music Business at NYU and joining my a cappella group The Vocaholics, I was able to build a network for myself and my music. My creative approach to music is much more collaborative now, as my best friends are also my band mates, production team, and some of the most talented musicians I know. I love to bounce ideas off of them, and get feedback on my music as well!
How would you describe your creative process for songwriting?
For me, songwriting is very sporadic LOL. Usually, the lyrics come to me first, whether I’m on the subway, literally in bed about to fall asleep (that’s how Nightmares, one of the songs on my EP came to me), or bawling my eyes out from stress. I usually take notes on my phone or write down lyrics or one-liners that come to me when I have a pen and paper. Then I sit at my keyboard and mess around with chords until I like what I hear. I play around with different tones and themes in my music because I feel like it’s more interesting to hear, and for me to sing and perform!
What inspired your most recent song Unpredictable?
I love this question because so many people think Unpredictable is about a breakup or romantic interest, but in reality, Unpredictable is about code-switching. I wrote this song to describe the ways in which I used to completely alter who I was to appeal to certain audiences when I was younger, which was necessary to survive in a predominantly white environment. I tried so hard for years to make myself more palatable for the audiences I was surrounded by, and this song is about realizing how far I’ve come, and how far I still have to go with code-switching. Because it’s something I find myself still doing to this day. Unpredictable was inspired by how I continue to surprise myself in certain situations, hell even to myself I’m unpredictable, but I’m aware of it and it made for a bomb ass song haha!
If you could open a concert for any musician, who would it be?
If I could open for any musician in the world, obviously the dream would be Queen Beyoncé. She has always been my number one all-time favorite artist, and as much as I would love to open for her, I’d probably just faint at the opportunity lol. I’m also obsessed with Yebba. She’s one of my favorite vocalists, and opening a show for her would be insane. Her music is so incredibly beautiful and different, and the world needs to start recognizing her talent!
What has been your favorite memory so far as a musician?
So far as a musician, my favorite memory was selling out the Mercury Lounge in New York this past summer. I played the gig with two other incredible bands, CityWide and PitCrew, and we marketed the show like crazy. When I started playing gigs in New York in March, I told myself and my band that by the end of the summer, my goal was to play Mercury Lounge. The fact that not only did I play the venue, I sold out, selling over 250 tickets, was absolutely unreal. There was a literal line outside of the venue! It was my proudest moment to date, and I had the most fun I’ve ever had on stage when I was playing that show.
How would you describe the NY music scene?
The New York music scene is very unique. I can honestly say that I’ve seen some of the most talented musicians play at bars, coffee shops, clubs, everywhere. The city is bursting with talent, and it can be difficult to get your start, but what I’ve learned from playing so many venues is that once you’ve played a couple, you’re set. It’s interesting because there are unlimited places to perform, and most places are open to all different kinds of music. When it comes to music in the city, the opportunities are endless for creative collaborations as well, which I’m so grateful for.
What is a project you’re looking forward to in the future?
Currently, I’m writing my first album! I’m working on a collection of songs for a longer project than my debut EP, and …. It’s gonna be good. I’m so excited to discover more about myself through this project, and I find that I learn more about who I am with every lyric I write. It’s such a cathartic feeling. I’m looking forward to my EP being available for everyone to listen to, and I can’t wait to perform it as well. Now it’s on to the next project!
Listen to Sola's EP Everything in Between out now!
Find Sola Here