Eric Solomon is an immensely talented musician who has a lived a fascinating life. A self-taught wunderkind, Solomon plays numerous instruments.
Solomon's sound absorbs many genres, including street funk, raunch rock, old soul, R&B and neo-jazz. Well-known as a perfectionist, he produces, writes, composes, arranges and performs.
In the following interview, he speaks about growing up in Africa, his journey into a career in music and his album, My Reality.
Q: What made you want to be a musician?
A: My brother, Rom, was my first influence. He was a man of so much style and always around music. He was a DJ at first and used to spin all those funk and soul jams when we were in Africa. He would be get them from the states and everybody would come to him for the latest and the baddest. He then went to University for production and had a bunch of musical equipment in his basement and when I used to get there for vacation, I was blown away at how cool it was.
Q: Did you always want to be a musician?
A: No. I never thought I would and never took music seriously. I remember clearly the day it all switched for me. I was evacuated from Africa couldn't really speak to my parents and find out how they were doing cause the phone lines were messed up due to the war. One day, I was hanging with my cousins and we passed a construction site that was really loud, but through the noise I could clearly hear this symphony. I could hear the stings, and piano, and vocals and whatever else was there. It was incredible because it was like I developed musical antennas all of sudden and I could pick up any frequency that I wanted. Kind of like a musical superpower. I knew at that very moment, that that was what I was put on earth to do. After that I could pick up anything and intuitively play it. I feel blessed.
Q: Is Africa in your music? How?
A: I would say it's in the rhythms but most importantly in my nonjudgment of musical styles. I love mixing different instruments and using them in a way that isn't traditional like the use of the banjo in a rock song like "Build myself again." Cause I grew up to so many different styles. My brother was playing funk, my dad classical and outside you'd hear the African styles, like "Zaiko langa langa"
Q: Who influenced you the most? Not just musically, but in life.
A: That would be Prince. When I was evacuated from Africa at 13 and couldn't speak to my parents, things were rough. It was all so foreign and so sudden in Canada that I started rebelling and hanging out with the wrong crowds... and then I remembered that one moment when I climbed a chair by my brother's turntables back in Zaire when I was 5 or 6 and I put on the album For You by Prince...I felt something so incredible. I remembered that I wanted to be like him and reach the massive success with integrity that he reached, so I changed my whole environment, put up a poster of him in my room and I would burn with this fire to succeed. Till now, I thank him for saving my life and I hope one day I get a chance to tell him face to face.
Q: You have been working on different projects for several years, yet this is your first commercially released album? Why?
A: My friends like to say that that this is my 4th first album. First I did one in my basement and got some attention from Universal who wanted me to redo it in a big studio, so I did, I didn't have an official deal with them at the time, but they kept in close contact, but by the time it was done, my new management took it to Sony US through Richard Marx, who loved it and wanted to redo it again but using top players and studios using Sony backing. So we did that, and then that never