Cleo Sol: Get Familiar

Things can only get higher for 21-year-old born and bred West-Londoner Cleo Sol, ready to leave a mark on the UK Scene following the release of her debut single “High” featuring Dancehall veteran Gappy Ranks in September. From the days of setting her sights on stardom at her local youth club mixing tracks to being tipped as one of the MOBO’s ‘One to Watch 2011,’ Cleo Sol sits down with SoulCulture to discuss is bring us some sun back onto the map with her new sound.

Known for her tip on the short-lived UK funky circuit on the Perempay & Dee Funky House hit “Time To Let Go” and Tinie Tempah‘s Davinche-produced “Tears” among others,” Cleo Sol brings a fusion of reggae, old school pop and ’70s disco in the summer time lovers anthem “High” and her upcoming debut album. Anticipated for release next year, she describes the projects as, “a mix of all my influences and the music that I listen to and kind of like an open diary of how I’m feeling too.”

“High,” reworked from an old Bob Marley and the Wailers song by Chris Peckings, is about the feeling you get when you first meet someone and “you feel really happy and giddy.” The video catches Cleo in the heart of her home area Ladbroke Grove in the peak of Carnival sun and spirit; “I thought for my first video I’ll keep it as urban, as raw as possible.”

Influenced by her roots coming from a musical family being born to a half Serbian and Spanish mother singer and a Jamaican bassist Dad, Cleo cant help but intertwine all into what she describes her sound as being a “throwback.” “I grew up listening to Stevie Wonder and loads of Reggae music, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott… Rock music, Latin music, Brazilian music; it’s just all my influences and I quite like the ’90s dance style as well, the drums and that,” she says, “so when I say throwback I mean having all of those sounds running through the album.”

But it wasn’t the musical parents of the 21-year-old who pushed her into the direction of realising music was the path for her. “They never actually pushed me into music. I just went to a normal primary school, a normal state secondary school because my mum couldn’t afford any of them music schools but I went to a youth club which helped me so much,” she says.

From her stint at her local youth club where she developed her growing love for singing and recording her own track which she then put onto MySpace, which was famous for discovering the likes of fellow Londoners Adele and Katie Nash.

It was from then on, with the guidance of at the time, up and coming grime producer Davinche – responsible for hits for emcees Bashy and Wretch 32 – Cleo found herself getting heard sooner than she thought.

“At that time I didn’t know who he was. He was like come for a writing session and I was like ‘no!’ because I didn’t know who he was,” she recalls. “But then I researched into him and saw he was doing ‘P’s and Q’s’ with Kano at the time and thought cool, he’s actually a working producer and I went to his studio and since then we been working together.”

After working with Davinche from the age of 18, 2011 became the year for the West London starlet to spread her wings of her own with her official debut single ‘High’; “It feels so good,” she enthuses, receiving consistent support for her music from the likes of BBC Radio 1Xtra since her earlier promo tracks “LoveBass” and “Call for Me.”

Cleo Sol – “LoveBass”:

Fresh off October’s Biggafish tour and preparing to support Miguel live at HMV Forum, London on November 28, the next big thing for this rising star is finishing off her debut album, expected for release in mid 2012.”I’m going to not hold back ’cause it’s my album and it’s me,” she promises.

“As an artist you have to speak on how you’re feeling and I will be as real as possible.”

Cleo Sol online: / @CleoSol / Facebook / YouTube / Soundcloud

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