Eric Solomon was barely a week and a half old when his family relocated from Montreal to Kinshasa in the African Congo. For thirteen years the family flourished there. “It was paradise,” Solomon says, but it didn’t last. “One day I left school and a military man handed me a handwritten, photocopied note saying war was coming.”
Within days civil war broke out, forcing the family into hiding. A week into the violence Solomon’s father received word of an evacuation flight bound for Israel. There was only one seat open and Eric was in it. “I did not see my whole family for a decade. I couldn’t speak to them for a year. I didn’t know if they were dead or alive.”
Solomon returned to Montreal to live with his extended family. It was there he heard music in his head for the first time. “Music is like a first language to me. One day I was walking by a construction site and I heard this melody in my head through the ruckus and the beating of the concrete. It wasn’t a thought. I wasn’t looking for it. It just found me.”
As a teenager Solomon took every opportunity he could to play music, ultimately landing a gig that led to five years of steady touring in Asia. “Playing everywhere,” he says, “six nights a week, five sets a night in Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, The Philippines – I really got my road legs through that.”
It was a comfortable gig, Solomon says, complete with five star luxury accoms and good pay, but to Solomon it just wasn’t real. “I had this huge library of songs, yet every night I’d go downstairs and play covers. I quit to go back to washing dishes and taking the bus to follow my original career.”
Once back in Canada, Solomon moved to Vancouver, “for a girl,” he adds. The relationship didn’t work out, but the musical opportunities came quick and fast. He experimented with different styles, recording environments and players, but never felt quite at home. “I grew up listening to Prince, Michael Jackson, and Stevie Wonder, 80’s funk, synth brass and drum machines; how I started was with me and a keyboard spending hours and hours trying to get the songs out of my head and onto a computer. I’ve gone back to that, to me and what I hear in my head, and that’s a great place to be as an artist.”
A deft blend of 80’s soul, funk, and modern electro and alternative pop, Solomon’s debut EP Antarctica invited comparisons to artists like Calvin Harris and Frankmusik. In June 2010, immediately following its release, Antarctica was featured on the front pages of the iTunes Pop and Electronic sections.
Produced and recorded by Solomon in his studio in Vancouver, and mixed at Hipposonic Studios with Dave ‘Rave’ Ogilvie (NIN, David Bowie), Antarctica was only a sample of what the Vancouver based recording artist is capable of. Beyond being a talented songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist, he’s a gifted self-taught re-mixer. Initially his re-mixes of songs by Owl City, The xx, and Passion Pit’s Moth’s Wings were intended as a technical exercise. “An introduction to the production I was going to use on Antarctica,” he explains, “but we just put them out and BOOM.” Upon their release in early 2010 they attracted immediate attention from many online outlets including Rolling Stone and the highly respected Electro and Pop blogger, Arjan Writes.
Antarctica brought many opportunities with it, Solomon spent the better part of 2010 on the road, appearing at the acclaimed music festivals South By Southwest (Austin, TX), Winter Music Conference (Miami), and CMJ (New York).
Following up on the release of Antarctica, Solomon is now readying his next full length album release. The first single is the catchy "A.L.L.", which quickly became a Top 40 radio hit in Canada upon it’s release. The track was added in over 20 markets in Canada (including every major metropolitan centre), and the accompanying video was added directly into heavy rotation at Much More Music.
It was while starting work on this album that an unexpected opportunity came Eric’s way. MTV Canada produced a reality themed special on him and two of his musician friends called “The Youth Electric”. The hour long episode followed the three friends through live performances and life as an up and coming artist (with all of the requisite dram one has come to expect from MTV). It was an interesting side-note for Eric and one that he wasn’t wholly comfortable with, however the resulting exposure from MTV’s on air advertising certainly served to turn some new eyes his way.
The tail end of 2010 was spent in the studio completing the album and again working with Ogilvie to administer the finishing touches. With a forthcoming mixtape and the full length release scheduled for April 2011 is off to a busy start for Solomon.
“It’s time to take my moment,” he says. “My message is about being true to who you are. The reason why there are so many wars in the world is because people feel they need to steal power from each other because they feel a sense of lack from within. If we were all to do what we love we would feel the self-esteem that would make us give instead of take. I truly believe it’s about perception. That’s what this album is about, and good is coming up.”