Souleye is taking his music to the next level on a new album called ‘Wildman’. Merging the worlds of Hip-Hop and EDM, his style continues to evolve. Expressly, he reveals the most important details of the fresh record that is on everyone’s lips at present. Scroll down to discover what he has to say about it in this exclusive interview!
1 – When did you know that pursuing a career in music was the route you wanted to choose?
Music began for me almost accidentally. When I was about 15 years old, I started freestyling at a bonfire, just to entertain my friends. I’d never freestyled before, but the rhymes kept coming and I knew then I was tapping into a part of myself that I didn’t know existed. I realized I had a knack for it and so decided then: it was either the NBA or being a rap artist. I blew out my knee on a snowboard while I was in college, and that left being a rap artist.
My best friend was a huge part of my life and one of our passions was rap. We could listen to rap or freestyle for hours together. Around 2004, I lost him to cancer, and his passing was the fuel to my fire and pushed me to continue on my path as an artist.
2 – Do you feel your music career peaked after your performance at Jam Cruise in 2005?
Winning the Relix magazine Jam Cruise Contest in 2005 was a huge motivator for me and it was also very validating as an artist to be selected out of thousands of contestants. No doubt, that was a big achievement, but no. I don’t feel like that was the peak. In fact, I feel like I haven’t actually peaked yet. I’m just getting warmed up. We put out a new album – Wildman – just a few weeks ago, and I’m already back in the studio. I’m just getting warmed up.
3 – What inspired your new album ‘Wildman’? Where did the title come from?
I based the title of the album off my prior release, ‘Shapeshifting’. That was the album that really began to mark what I felt was a musical maturity. I’ve enjoyed every album I’ve done, but the earlier works are definitely trying to find that voice, hone in on the style and the message. ‘Shapeshifting’ really marked a point where that voice emerged. And now, with ‘Wildman’, I felt that it’s the sound of a mature musician. So, with the title, I wanted to basically speak on the transformation of boy to man and keeping that wild, animal spirit alive. I think that’s something we accomplished on this album, too.
When I started working on ‘Wildman’, my immediate goal was to bridge the gap between Rap and EDM. Over the years, I’ve worked in both styles and my songs draw heavily from both. So for this album, I teamed up with Crush Effect, a producer duo that I felt had the sound and style I was looking for. I knew that if I blended my flavor with theirs, it would create exactly what I was looking for.
It’s rare these days to have a single producer or production team do an entire album from beginning to end, and it’s even rarer in hip-hop and rap. What resulted though, is an album that has a strong sound, a definitive style, and an almost concept-album feel. I really believe ‘Wildman’ is something special.
5 – What was it like working with Alanis on the music video for your hit ”Snow Angel”?
Working with Alanis is unlike working with any other artist. She is so creative and is a pure channel of artistry, and when you add to that, we found how our styles are compatible, and the musical themes we have in common, the writing and recording process was very spontaneous and quick – really quick. Honestly, I think it was about 15 mins start to finish for her to hear the track, have a hook, concept, and a record. It was extremely humbling to witness.
Then when it came time to shoot the video- the hook she wrote, the sound and her style really came through. So the video shoot was amazing. It was like watching the vision she’d had in her lyrics come to life.
6 – Do you have any plans to write new songs with your wife in the near future?
I would love to continue writing music with my wife. She is so much fun to work with and such a creative genius, not to mention her voice is like an angel. And she’s incredibly versatile. Listen to “Snow Angel” and you can hear a haunting quality that carries her vocals through the song. Then, flip a switch and she’s upbeat, optimistic, infectious. I’ve had the privilege of recording with some phenomenal singers and songwriters over the years, but Alanis – it’s almost like there’s nothing she can’t accomplish musically, and it’s inspirational to work with her.
7 – How would you describe the sound of your latest single “Wildman” (ft. Lynx)?
The song “Wildman” is a blend of powerful electronic bassy synths and drums, with a strong hip-hop backbone. It fuses live saxophone and a soft melodic hook from Lynx, the Oregon-based singer-songwriter, who’s someone I’ve recorded with before. So we know one another’s styles and music. What happens in the song is, I feel, that it encourages listeners to think deeply and to break a sweat while working out to it.
8 – Are you planning to release a new video in the remaining months of this year?
Believe it or not, I’m already working on a new album. I’ve got about 8 new tracks, which I am extremely excited about. And I feel that I have matured a lot since finishing Wildman. Once the next album is ready, I’ll begin the creative process of video magic.
So I don’t know that we’ll do another video this year – we dropped what, four or five videos this year? – but definitely you’ll see some new videos in 2018 to go along with the new album.
9 – When was your last performance? Do you have any upcoming shows?
I’ve been so busy recording and shooting videos that honestly, my last performance was at the album release party for Wildman. It was held on Hollywood Blvd at Cinematic Pictures Gallery, and I performed several songs from the album. Being back in front of the crowd really inspired me to get back out there and start performing again.
That takes a little time and effort, so I am currently working on locking in a new booking agent and setting up some shows. I’m always ready to rock a stage. Live performance is a passion of mine and also part of the service I provide. I also love feeling the synergistic energy of performing live, it is one of my favorite things, and I’ve missed being with the fans a whole lot.
Haha! I remember when I met my first manager. I was around 23, and he told me from now on to tell people I was 20 – essentially to lie about my age. I believe that I owe it to the fans to be an honest artist, to share with them a true picture of myself; and well, let’s just say he didn’t manage me for long after that.