On his EP Le Garçon, San Diego-born hip hop artist Solomon redefines the overused phrase “genre-bending” by experimenting with a number of diverse styles of words and sound, masterfully weaving them into a coherent, 11-track musical experience.
Le Garçon finds him deftly switching between song and poem, love and anger, sex and isolation — while still exuding the finesse of an artist who has found his voice.
Released Feb. 4, the Le Garçon EP is sure to solidify Solomon’s place in the electronic and hip hop industries. San Diego Gay & Lesbian News spoke with Solomon about the life of an artist and the work that goes into such a heavy album.
To say that you’re busy sounds like an understatement – recording artist, rapper, producer and songwriter – what does a typical day look like for you?
It’s pretty normal. I’m a night owl so most of my studio time is at night, that’s when I can think and be creative. So I normally don’t wake up till around 1 pm or 2 pm. It’s been like that for years. My family and friends think it’s funny, but they understand now. I guess that aspect isn’t really normal.
Did growing up in San Diego have any impact or influence in your music?
No, it didn’t. Maybe certain life experiences or relationships I had but that’s about it. I love San Diego, it’s my hometown and that’s where my heart is. My family is there and I record there, but creatively and culturally I find it very stifling.
What was the first CD you ever bought?
It was Tevin Campbell. That was the first CD I got. But my mom and dad would drop me off at the record store with money and let me wander for hours trying to pick out a CD. Those were the highlights of my childhood. I had a pretty awesome childhood, but nothing was more exciting than going to the record store. I was in San Diego a few weeks ago and found out the huge Sam Goody store in Horton Plaza was torn down. It was really heartbreaking.
Is there a particular song or style that never fails to move you emotionally?
I love really honest songs. Upbeat party songs are great, I guess, but I can never connect with them. It’s great background music I suppose. But nothing I’d listen to for years.
What is your the most important personal satisfaction with being a musician?
The fact that I get to wake up everyday and do what it is I absolutely love. The creative freedom to express myself is a gift. I’m so thankful for that. In the process I’ve learned to really love myself and trust my instincts.
You said Le Garçon might be the darkest, most brooding piece of art you’ve produced. Where were you emotionally/physically/mentally when you began composing this EP? What influenced this work?
Oh my gosh. I mean, yes I went through a breakup, but I noticed how distant and closed off I became. I had a hard time writing songs, because I couldn’t feel anything. I wasn’t sad but I wasn’t happy. I just didn’t feel anything. I was so traumatized I think I turned my emotions off to protect me. So, long story short I had a breakthrough one night and my emotions came back, I wrote, ‘The Way We Were’ and everything started from there. There’s a lot of anger and aggression in this piece that wasn’t in my previous work.
How would you describe the working atmosphere and the people with whom you work?
I love the people I work with. I’ve been working with them for a few years now and we’re like a family. Not in the traditional sense, but I trust them. I think that’s important. You’re coming into the studio starting a new idea and you need to feel comfortable enough to do it in front of them. Everyone else hears the final product, but the people in the studio hear the first step, the second step and so on. And sometimes the first step doesn’t sound that great. So yeah, we’re really supportive of each other and encourage everyone to try new stuff.