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Q & A with musician Sólskin

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Stroud Times sat down with mesmeric Horsley singer Sólskin to find out her deepest thoughts on music.

What first got you into music? 

I began playing instruments from a very young age, something my parents supported and encouraged. They also had a pretty healthy and eclectic vinyl collection, so I was exposed to all different genres but it was when I discovered Bob Marley and the Wailers ‘Legend` album that my love affair with music grew deeper. I would spend hours in my bedroom alone listening to tapes, paying attention to lyrics, singing along and discovering what I loved musically.  

IMG 0902 | Q & A with musician Sólskin
Sólskin with dog Fig Pic: Inbar Jeffery

Who inspired you to make music? 

Bristol was a very musically inspirational place to grow up. We had excellent pirate radio stations that I would  often record tracks I liked onto tape and then create my own mix tapes. The nightlife was buzzing with top  DJs, MCs and blues clubs till the early hours. It’s no surprise that a number of great artists have come out of Bristol, it was a raw, and creative place to grow up. 

I was shy as teen so kept it quiet that I wanted to make my own music. One day I confessed to my step  father- a highlife musician, he said to me; “if you want to make music..get on with it”, he gave me a gentle  shove into his home recording studio and I laid down my first track which secured me a place at music  college in London. The best part of my London life revolved around making music, gigging and working in a  second hand vinyl shop on the Essex Road, I felt like a kid in a sweet shop. 

4FEAA244 CBA6 49CE A5AB 0E3D85A8AACA | Q & A with musician Sólskin
Sólskin Pic: Verity Rivers

How would you describe the music that you typically create? 

I would describe my music as lyrical, poetic, heartfelt and honest with a dose of Bristol edge.

What is your creative process like? 

First comes an experience and an emotion which sparks the inspiration of a creative process which can change from song to song. Often a lyric will come, followed by a melody followed by the music. Although, I was playing the guitar riff for ‘I AM WITCH’ for about a year before the lyrics dropped in one night.

Who would you most like to collaborate with? 

I love sonically textural and interesting pieces, I studied sonic art at Middlesex university and really enjoyed  creating electroacoustic soundscapes with layered field recordings, and fusing folk and electronic, so to collaborate with artist Bibio or composer Charlotte Harding would be really ace.

I worked a lot with local musician and genius sound designer Tim York which was a brilliant and fun experience. More recently I’ve been working with music producer Mark Saunders who worked on ‘Maxinquaye’ with fellow Bristolian Tricky and Neneh Cherry on her ‘Raw Like Sushi’ album, both these artists I admire and grew up listening too. I have fond memories of singing ‘Buffalo Stance’ on the streets with friends back in the day. Working with Mark has been a dream collaboration in itself. 

IMG 0727 | Q & A with musician Sólskin
Sólskin Pic: Inbar Jeffery

If you could go open a show for any artist who would it be? 

This is almost impossible to answer, where to begin!?  

If i could go back in time I’d say Nick Drake, Terry Callier, Richie Havens, or Pentangle.  I asked my boys who they’d like to see me open for they said Stormzy. 

Present day, I’ll say Sigur Rós or Aldous Harding. 

IMG 2040 | Q & A with musician Sólskin
Sólskin Pic: Mark Saunders

What is one message you would give to your fans? 

Remember the enchantment of life. 

What is the most useless talent you have? 

I can blow bubbles with my tongue

Do you sing in the shower? What songs?  

Yes! traditional folk songs, Suzanne Vega or my own songs mostly.

What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career? 

Probably painting, I love life drawing, the feminine form especially and colours. 

IMG 0900 | Q & A with musician Sólskin
Sólskin Pic: Inbar Jeffery

Where have you performed? What are your favourite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows? 

I’ve performed in a number of venues in London, I loved playing at the Green Note in Camden, The Spitz in the East end and the quirky 12 bar on Denmark Street. I love playing at the Prince Albert in Stroud, the sound is  great and the vibe is always warm and attentive. 

I’m awaiting confirmation on a couple of dates for upcoming shows. Confirmed for next year I’m performing  at the local Horsley festival in February and the ‘Solskin – ways of old’ festival (yes a festival by the same  name;) in the Peak District in June.  

How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?  

The internet has massively impacted the music business. It’s empowering in some ways for independent  artists however as a result it has become a really saturated industry, so to make a mark and be heard can be  challenging. 

ADD311DF A2F9 4DB2 AD2C AC595781445F | Q & A with musician Sólskin
Sólskin Pic: Verity Rivers

What is your favourite song to perform? 

I love to perform all my songs for different reasons, they all hold a different emotion from a different time in  my life, it feels liberating and healing to tap back into the emotion and release it through song.  I often open my set with ‘We Are One’ because it opens my heart and connects me with the audience. 

Which famous musicians do you admire?  

Nina Simone, I feel every word she sings. I love the song writing of Suzanne Vega & Joni Mitchel, the delivery  of Tina Turner, the uniqueness of Kate Bush and Bjork, the energy of Queen Omega, the tone of Sandy  Denny and Aldous Harding, the bold & courageous Sinead O’Connor, the captivating lyrical beauty and  intricate guitar playing of Nick Drake, the poetically touching Leonard Cohen, the breath-taking and moving  Sheku Kanneh-Mason on cello. My first and ongoing love, Bob Marley. 

What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into? 

I was often in trouble at school, my parents were called in a number of times however, my older sister was even more troublesome so whilst all the focus was on her, I’d slip out the back door and continue my rebellion.  

What is the best advice you’ve been given? 

Feel the fear and do it anyway. 

What’s next for you? 

Next for me is focusing on funding so I can release my just over half-finished album in 2024.

For more on Sólskin, click HERE and HERE

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