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Monday, May 27, 2024

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Monday, May 27, 2024

J-Sol’s groovy melody: Sips of music, fills cups with love

Recently in Meghalaya for a standout performance at the Jaiñtia Hills Winter Festival, J-Sol shares his musical journey with Aparmita Das. From the poignant ‘Bullet in My Heart’ to the anticipation of his upcoming 2024 EP, delve into the soulful beats of this artiste.

By Aparmita Das

In the bustling hotel lobby, where the air was thick with anticipation and faint strains of music, there stood a tall, dark, and undeniably handsome gentleman. Enveloped in an aura of confidence, he held a bright orange cup in one hand and a cell phone in the other. His eyes were fixed on the glass partition, behind which two tall, fit dancers, Alex Mahezi and Tron, moved to the rhythm of the beats emanating from the speaker. The dancers had been practising for quite some time.

As a few onlookers marvelled at the dance moves, the entrance door swung open. In walked the man with the orange cup, his presence commanding attention. A radiant smile graced his face, casting a warm glow that seemed to light up the room. This person was none other than J-Sol, an artiste in its true sense.

“I hope I didn’t make you wait long,” he uttered with an apologetic smile, unaware that he was not late at all. He was right on time, despite enduring a long journey and surviving on a mere two hours of sleep.

The magnetic pull of the music proved irresistible for J-Sol. In sync with the dancers, he effortlessly melded into the rhythm of his songs, a prelude to his upcoming performance at the Jaiñtia Hills Winter Festival in Ialong later that evening.

Following the rehearsal, J-Sol promptly set down his cup on the table, casually asking the waiter if it could be refilled with warm water. He then eased into a comfortable seat for a candid and open-hearted conversation.

Chatting about his trip to India, he spilled, “It’s been amazing. The trip was quite long with a few delays, stretching it to 30 hours instead of the intended 16. But, truth be told, I’ve had a great time so far.”

The weariness from the extended journey took a backseat as he focused on the positives. “The people are nice; the food is incredible. So I don’t know what else I can ask for,” he added.

J-Sol then went on to open up about an unexpected journey that led him to say “yes” to performance in India. “A few weeks back, one of my keyboardists had a gig in India. I remember telling him, ‘I’ve never been to India before.’ Then, out of the blue, about two weeks later on my birthday, my agent called me. He said, ‘There’s this incredible opportunity that’s just come up.’ Without hesitation, I was all in. I thought, ‘I want to do it. I’d love to do it.’”

“Sure, it hasn’t given us ample time to prepare, and you know me – I like to ensure everything is perfect. But I genuinely relish challenge. This, I feel, is pushing me out of my comfort zone, and I’m thrilled about the prospect of performing for the Indian community,” J-Sol said.

In his early years, J-Sol found himself deeply entrenched in the musical world, particularly within the walls of the church. Describing this period, he shared, “Growing up, I was a preacher’s kid in London, where my dad had his church. Within our musical family, my sister played keyboard, I took on drums, and my other sister lent her vocals. Music has been my constant companion. Since the age of seven, I found myself singing, and simultaneously, playing drums. It’s been a long and musical journey, one that’s woven into the very fabric of my life.”

X-Factor marked a significant turning point in J-Sol’s life, particularly with the poignant song he performed, evoking tears from judges. “It’s a bit blur. I don’t remember much of it,” he recalled. “It was such a moment for me. I just remember opening my eyes and seeing everyone on their feet, the judges tearing up. It was one of those moments when I thought, ‘Wow, what have I just done?’ It felt like I was living out of my body, that kind of experience.”

“I wrote the song through pain, grief, and heartache,” J-Sol continued. “It has been able to resonate with so many people around the world, in places I’ve never been and may never go. I’m happy that I can leave something behind, allowing people to hear something I’ve created and feel heard or feel like they can relate and find comfort.”

The song J-Sol performed was Bullet in My Heart. “That song is so pure. I remember exactly when and how I wrote it. I don’t remember writing a lot of my songs, but that one I remember very well. I remember where I was sitting, what day it was,” he shared with a sense of nostalgia.

“I wrote it at my mom’s funeral, in the evening, in my bedroom. At that time, I didn’t even know how to play the guitar. I learned it on YouTube, just these random chords. I started strumming, and went, ‘Where are you now?’ And then it was just all coming, and the whole song just wrote itself that night. And it’s become one of my biggest songs,” he said.
J-Sol’s exploration of emotions continues in his latest single, Toxic Love. Describing the inspiration behind the song, he unfolded, “I kind of just wrote that from the standpoint of a relationship…where sometimes we don’t put our boundaries.”

Sharing a glimpse of vulnerability, he continued, “I write as an artiste for the people, for the people in situations that I’ve been in, and also about a lot of stuff about my friends and people that are around me.”

He underlined the observational aspect of his songwriting, saying, “Sometimes I’ll be walking in London, and I can see an argument, or I can see someone is sad, and in my head, I’ll make up a reason as to why they’re sad, and I’ll just write a song about that.”

Continuing on this journey of self-expression, J-Sol also shared insights into his forthcoming EP set to launch this year. Building on the narrative of storytelling, he enthused, “It’s filled with honest storytelling. While listening to it on the plane here, I couldn’t help but think that if someone knew me, my friends would recognise each song and exclaim, ‘Oh, my God, he’s talking about that situation.’ Because a lot of it is true. These are situations I’ve been through.”

This forthcoming project not only assures a lush sonic experience but also provides a glimpse into the artiste’s journey. “It’s a promising project. I’m genuinely excited about it,” he asserted, leaving everyone with heightened anticipation for the EP.

J-Sol’s journey in the music industry has been marked by notable collaborations with big artistes, solidifying his status as a significant artiste. While many artistes would love to collaborate with him now, he remains humble, expressing his admiration for those who have inspired him and revealing a list of dream collaborations for the future.

“There are so many people I want to work with—artistes that have been my biggest inspiration. Icons like Usher, a massive inspiration of mine. Boyz II Men, Beyoncé, Craig David. Soul artistes, neo-soul artistes… there are so many artistes,” he shared, painting a picture of the diverse musical landscape that fuels his creative aspirations.

J-Sol’s appreciation for collaboration goes beyond just the result. “I like collaborating with artistes because it allows me to see how they work, and then maybe I can pick bits and bobs and kind of exercise that in the way I write,” he explained. He went on to illustrate the variety in creative processes among artistes, highlighting how one friend freestyles directly into the microphone, while he prefers to write on his phone before heading into the studio.

“I typically spend a day writing and then a day for recording. But then so many people have different styles of writing and recording. And I always like to see it because it’s inspiring to see how other people create their art.”

Beyond his vocal talent, J-Sol showcases his exceptional dancing skills. As the dancers, who were practising earlier, came into focus, J-Sol took the opportunity to introduce them.
“Alex Mahezi,” he gestured, “I’ve known him since I was 15. He did my first-ever show when I was 16 years old in South London. We were talking about it the other day, and I said, ‘Bro, you’ve been with me for my entire career so far.’ He’s a massive part of my growth, my artistry, the visuals. He ensures that everything looks prim and proper. That’s my brother.”

Alex Mahezi

Continuing the introductions, he turned to Tron, the other dancer, saying, “Tron did my video called ‘So High,’ released in March this year. I liked his energy and good vibe on set. He’s a great dancer, and ever since that project, I’ve just brought him on board. It’s all about surrounding myself with people who not only bring talent but also contribute positively to creative energy.”

Tron

When quizzed about the possibility of creating a song inspired by Meghalaya, J-Sol replied with anticipation, “Not yet, but we’ll see when I get back to London. We’ll see what kind of memories flood into my mind and what I can write.” The conversation maintained its momentum, but the artiste had to hit the road to Ialong for his performance, adding an air of excitement to the unfolding narrative.

In a moment of genuine gratitude, J-Sol shared, “Thank you for embracing me, for loving me. I can’t wait to just bear everything I have and leave it all on stage.” Pausing, he took off his glasses and added with cool confidence, “I can’t wait to feel you guys’ energy.”
As J-Sol made his exit, he left an unforgettable imprint on everyone lucky enough to cross paths with him in Meghalaya. His music, undoubtedly top-notch, vibed with the audience.

J-Sol and the orange cup

The orange cup, initially waiting for a warm water refill, sat there untouched. Yet, in a cool twist, J-Sol opted to fill a metaphorical bucket with his love, and kindness, leaving a groove that lingered in the air long after he departed.

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