After honing her skills as a singer/songwriter, the coronavirus pandemic temporarily pulled the plug on the R&B artist’s plans for her new music. Now, she is coming back with a re-worked album and more confidence than ever.
By: Sara Whitman | March 26, 2021
Soleil knows “Whose Side” she is on, and now she’s hoping you’ll be on hers. The soulful R&B singer/songwriter is turning up the amplifier in 2021 after her plans to promote her 2020 debut EP Dawn were halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. This unexpected change of events wasn’t going to throw her off-key, though, as the New York native has been dancing through life’s changes for quite some time.
Soleil discovered her passion for music when she was a child and took after her bass-playing father by picking up her own instrument, the piano, and singing in multiple choirs as she grew up. She continued performing as a hobby when she entered college, and went on to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sociology. She later furthered her education by completing a bootcamp in UX (user experience) design, which led her to hold various jobs in the teaching and tech design industries.
One of those jobs found Soleil living in Germany, where she got to travel through Europe, meet new people, and learn about herself. One of the things she learned during that experience is that she needed music in her life in a more substantial way. “The only thing I wasn’t really doing at that time was music and that really reignited and really made me understand like, ‘Ok, I’m passionate about music like I have to do it … I can’t just not do music and ignore that,’” she recalled.
Soleil is still in the tech industry, although she is now working as a freelancer and owns her own business within the user experience space. As a freelancer, Soleil has been able to find the time to write her own music between jobs, and the result of her work became her EP Dawn. Once the pandemic hit, Soleil found herself with even more time to focus on her artistry, and she used it to rework her EP. Now, she is getting ready to re-release Dawn as an LP (full length album) in mid-2021.
“In a sense [the pandemic] held us back, in a sense it pushed me forward too,” Soleil reflected. “The world had to stop for me to be able to believe in myself and just move forward and be like, ‘This is what you wanna do, like go after it,’” she said about her decision to more seriously focus on her music.
The “Noise” singer added that Dawn didn’t perform as well as her team had hoped it would, but its reach was overall satisfactory considering there was no formal marketing plan for it. Now, she is confident in the future of the lengthened EP. “We’re ready to do it and I’m a lot better than I was and a lot more serious than I ever was before,” she beamed.
Soleil is beyond excited to see her hard work come into fruition. Her latest project is her dynamic music video for “Whose Side?” which debuted on Friday, March 26, 2021. The video, which Soleil co-creative directed with a friend and previous collaborator, parallels the premise of the song, which is about choosing a side and unraveling the multiple layers of a person. The most distinct representation of the song is shown through a “Brady Bunch edit” in which Soleil wears different wigs and makeup looks to represent the various sides of a single person.
While Soleil got the song idea while visiting a friend in Jacksonville, Fla. after he kept jokingly repeating the phrase, “Whose side are you on,” “Whose Side?” is quite representative of her own life and her experience navigating her many talents and interests.
“It’s a blessing and a curse to have so many options and to have a lot of skill sets and be good at different things,” Soleil explained. “At one point I viewed it as more of a curse than a blessing, but I’m a lot you know, my mindset is a lot different now. It’s a blessing because I just know how to use it in ways that benefit me.”
Soleil has clearly had quite the diversified journey to get to where she is today. Through all of her career twists and turns and reignited focus on music, her biggest piece of advice is to “do what you love, man.” And when it comes to her music, she simply wants to connect with her audience. “Music is art,” she said. “I just want people to be able to feel something — no matter what that is. To me, that means it’s meaningful and there’s a connection there, so that’s what’s most important to me.”
Check out Soleil’s full interview above, including a fun speed round to get to know more about Soleil as a person!