Sounds of Soleil: A lifelong New Yorker and a lifetime lover of all things beautiful, Soleil Laurent, 21, has a mission of creating goodness through love and light.
Soleil grew up in an exceptionally musical family. From a very early age she excelled in all the creative activities that she took part in. Soleil began playing the guitar at the age of 17. It has always been evident from the smile on her face that Soleil is very passionate about music.
She is a student at Berklee College of Music in Boston and has performed for notable musical institutions, including: Brooklyn Academy of Music, Blue Notes, Iguana Club, DROM, Knitting Factory, SOBs “Sounds of Brazil”, Le Poisson Rouge, Afro Punk “Battle of the Bands” amongst others.
Traveling to places such as Miami, Los Angeles, Canada, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Jamaica, Soleil is blessed to have been able to travel the world through her musical career.
Her biggest moment was performing over a crowd of thousands in Rwanda, Africa for Kigali Up 2015. Soleil believes strongly in the art of engagement and giving back to the community.
She is also actively involved with the Life for the World School and Orphanage in Haiti, home to 220 children. With her focus to instill conscious messages within her music, Soleil believes that the art of self-love and belief, can and will create a peaceful existence through the world. In its current state of such hardship through violence, challenges through self-acceptance, and being unapologetically you, songs such as “I can’t Breathe,” “America,” “Boss,” and “Free” are just a few of the moving interludes that Soleil has written. All from her sound and voice.[/tab] [tab title=”Q & A” id=”tab-2″]How can you define your love for music?
SL: I define my love for music as passionate, definitely passionate. The relationship I have with music is very deep, understanding, and illustrates a connection. I believe that music shouldn’t be divided into genres based on sound. It should be the artist’s perception of their own life, so each artist’s music should be as unique to them as their personality or sense of style.
What do you want people to take away from your music?
SL: I want people to take the fact that I am a person going through life as well. I do not want to create the illusion of being perfect or having the perfect lifestyle. I want them to see my imperfections, that I too have issues going on in life. I go through the stages: depression, anger, but also happiness, excitement and love. I go through all those things and I want listeners to feel connected and feel that they have a friend.
Why the electric guitar?
SL: My dad chose the electric guitar *LOL*. He thought that it was different and was very persistent in having me learn. I actually had said no to it. “Play guitar Soleil, Play GUITAR!” I couldn’t see what he was trying to tell me. Once I picked it up, I started writing my own lyrics to it. And the energy of the electric guitar is different from the acoustic, it has so much power. The electric guitar becomes your arm, it becomes your personality. It becomes your everything. It connected with me.
How would you describe your journey to music?
SL: My biggest love is performing. I want to continue to perform and play my music. It’s my chance to connect with people. I love being on the stage to see and feel the energy that is being exchanged. I want to perform all over the world. I want to go Egypt! I want to go everywhere and learn all the cultures…and eat the food. *LOL*
Are there any songs that you’ve primarily created in response to what’s going in every day life or the world?
SL: So many! “Little Girl” was a song I wrote about someone I knew during my childhood, who also wanted to be a singer as well. We lost touch after some time and I had found out that she was going to have a baby. She was younger than me at the time, maybe by 2 years. She didn’t have the love the she deserved…not by parents, friends, etc. To see her again pregnant, I wrote the song about holding on for love. Giving love a chance and don’t just give it away because you needed it. It was one of the most meaningful songs I wrote and was real to me. I felt like girls needed to hear that they are princesses, and that their Prince charming will love them right, will respect them right. I actually never recorded it but wrote it last year (2014). I also wrote “I can’t Breathe”, in response to the crimes being committed amongst black communities, such as Eric Garner. “Boss”, was written to be your authentic self and run with it! It’s to encourage women to find their path and stick to their dreams.
(FYI: One of Soleil’s favorite movies is “The Little Mermaid.”)
When you think of the state of music now…what are the things that you appreciate and find most challenging about it, the music industry? Where do you fit in?
SL: I like the confidence that music brings. Everybody is out there doing their thing and to be able to have that strength, especially in Hip Hop, I love that. But what I think is missing is vulnerability. I feel like people need someone (or music) to confide in. I feel like with music, it’s important to be imperfect. Beyond the beat, the poppin’ lyrics, the glam…let’s not forget the music, the message. Listeners want to be able to relate and connect with whom they are listening to. I noticed that when you become an “Idol”, you have to be perfect. And when you become perfect, you cannot be vulnerable…because then you are considered weak. My music represents the real…and the vulnerable. It is truthful, it is music that speaks. I will have the Rock N’ Roll jam but I’ll also have that heartfelt break-up song.
You want to incorporate Hip Hop into your Rock music? How?
SL: I was in a rock band (Quantum Split). I met a producer and we collaborated, merging Rock n’ Roll sounds with Hip Hop beats. I love the merging of the Hip Hop beat with a Rock n’ Roll edge…when it came together, it was crazy! The energy was super high and different. That was exactly what I needed to do. I love the beat, the swag of Hip Hop. I am huge Tupac fan. I grew up in NY and Hip Hip to me is dope! Being able to incorporate my Rock music into my music, is perfect.
What was the most challenging song you had to write? Where did the emotion come from?
SL: FREE. Free was the most difficult song to write because it was the most authentic. I was going through a dark moment, trying to define my direction in life, where I was going to go. As a young woman, you go through these stages: Am I skinny enough? Am I talented enough? And while going through that and having people attest that “You’re not good enough,” FREE is how I set myself apart from that and letting me be who I am. Regardless of all the judgments, the hardest thing you can do is continue to be yourself even with those judgments. It’s also the most rewarding. When I created FREE in the studio, I cried…I balled. The song took me 2 minutes to write.
What is your mantra for life?
SL: I have it already! LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE. That’s it! Everyone is different. Everyone is unique. Everyone believes in different things. My mantra is a BE who you are statement. It’s an acknowledgment of the light inside of you and how special you are as a person.