The talented R&B vocalist T.Solo from North West London flexes his rap game in the new single, ‘Not Like This’. The track opens with a bold statement, ‘We ain’t here to play no games’ and then closes with a slowed-down version of the track’s trippy hook. With constant drums, producer Chris Xylo creates an energetic and bouncy rhythm. The intermittent piano keys keep the track mellow, which is perfect for T.Solo’s flow.
T.Solo slips a nod to the new label and suggests something else is on the horizon, ‘You say your team makes moves, and you grind all day, but not like this’. This latest track comes together to produce a backdrop for late-night drives in the city, evoking a lavish sunset of purple skies streaked with radiant hues. ‘Not Like This’ leaves curiosity hanging in the air for what’s to come tomorrow.
Breaking down the ‘2 Summers’ short film released on Link Up TV last year and the EP ‘Gone With The Wind, Vol. 1’ produced with Chris Xylo, T.Solo reflects on his musical influences and creative process.
Kaeshelle: ‘Not Like This’ is the first single where we see your rap flow take centre stage over your R&B vocals, what inspired this move?
T.Solo: With music in our country, we like what we like and we gravitate towards what we know. We don’t always go for the most exotic or melody-driven artists. I’m in music because I love it, but it’s a cut-throat business. I want to tour the world and help others to do music too, so I need to be in front of the people. Once you get to the playing field, you can branch out and experiment a bit more. As a new artist on the scene, I’m really studying the business and working on my craft.
Rapping has come to a point where people listen carefully. People say, “Your voice is amazing T.Solo. Oh my gosh, you can really sing.” But when I rap, the audience listens more. I feel like it’s a catalyst for other stuff and the stats have improved! Rapping has always been something I was drawn into but I’m starting to do more of it because it grabs a bigger audience over here. You’re still going to hear me singing hooks for a lot of UK rappers. With ‘Not Like This’, I said, “Let me just do something and throw it out there.”
At the beginning of ‘Not Like This’ you say, ‘we ain’t here to play no games.’ Who is this warning directed at?
Do you know what’s so funny? My older brother called me last week and said, “Who are you angry at?” I said “No one, no one in particular”. But as a musician, you are expected to try and tick the boxes. I don’t look like a singer, I’m 6 ft 4 and I was born in North West London. I grew up on grime, rap, hip-hop and I have a voice. At a young age, my mum put me into singing lessons and it just developed my sound. But I’ve still got a very deep speaking voice.
I’ve had so many meetings, so many independent labels. They said, “Oh, we love this kid. We want to develop him.” But the artists who have done it their own way didn’t meet their criteria before. So, they’re pressurising young kids, younger than me. In the music industry you need to impress, and it seems like there’s one individual who is apparently the guy to make or break you but that’s not the case.
So ‘Not Like This’ is a message for all people, not only myself. Whether that’s music artists, writers, bloggers, influencers, accountants, teachers or whoever, people will always try and tell you what you can do. But you know yourself better than anyone else so keep persevering. They can tell you, “you need to look a certain way”, “you need to sound a certain way.” I’m going to do it my way and show you when I reach the pinnacle. That’s not cocky, it’s humility with a pinch of salt.