Queen's University — Since 1873
16th March 2012

‘Need to feel good’

Eric Soloman aims to create music that provides an experience for fans

Eric Solomon says he prays before performing to help make his shows an experience.
Eric Solomon says he prays before performing to help make his shows an experience. (Supplied)

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Canadian electro-pop artist Eric Solomon is the kind of person you can fall into conversation with, just like that. If your first impression of the man is like mine, it’ll be an accurate reflection of his music.

“I have always found inspiration in Prince,” Solomon said, “because he’s a spectacle and charisma just oozes from the man.”

For the Vancouver-based singer, entertaining people with electrifying dance beats is his personal mission.

“I obviously have a lot to say, but for now I want to focus on making music for those people who need to feel good,” he explains. “The last thing people want to hear about is my worries about the world, people hear it all the time. I love music that’s energetic and makes people party and get stupid.

“I want people to leave my shows with an experience, so I have a prayer before a performance — let me connect with every single person in this room tonight.”

Solomon’s Twitter and Facebook accounts are constantly updated by the artist himself, letting fans in on his hectic touring life or odd musings.

“I don’t have people who run my social media or tweets or anything like that,” Solomon said. “Fans are smart, they can always tell if it’s really you behind the keyboard and I love being able to reach out to my fans so I’m always going to make sure I’m personally involved.”

Fame and fandom, however, were never on the radar for Solomon when he embarked on a musical career as an independent artist three years ago.

“I’ve always loved music as a private sort of dream,” he said, “but as I started playing more shows and fans started coming in, I developed such a loving relationship with people who love my music, it’s just the most beautiful thing.”

Solomon has even been known to send “Happy Birthday” numbers and other special messages to his fans.

“Oh you know, some one says to you, ‘my mom won’t let me come to the show’ and you just want to do something special to appreciate those people who take the time to listen to your music.

“But man, do I hate that ‘Happy Birthday’ song,” he said. “I don’t know what happens, but as soon as people sing it they become these sing-along drones. I’m going to make it my life goal to rewrite that song.”

Though audiences know him for his party anthems and happy-go-lucky attitude, Solomon’s childhood was unexpectedly tumultuous.

“Basically I was raised in the African Congo until I was a little boy and civil war suddenly broke out, and I got pulled away from my family and was put on the last seat of the plane leaving for Montreal,” Solomon said. “I stayed with my mom’s family here in Canada for the rest of my upbringing and I couldn’t even talk to anyone at first … but I think that’s where music really came to me for the first time, it was like my first language here.”

Solomon then left Montreal to travel across Asia for five years, playing covers in live venues but not yet his original songs.

“One day, I just decided to quit that and go to Vancouver where I could build my career as an independent artist more easily than anywhere else in the world,” he said. “But I think I’ve definitely picked up a broad palette for different musical tastes from my experiences travelling around the world … so I can see that later in my career, I will experiment with mixing sounds that don’t really go together.

“I think I can incorporate banjo into dance music, that’d be really cool,” Solomon said, only half-joking.

Eric Solomon plays Ale House on March 21 at 8 p.m.

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