They say the best music comes from artists who have experienced life. Singer/songwriter Solo D appears to be well ahead of that curve as he gets ready to release his first EP early next year.
Born in Brazil, the now 28 year-old Saulo Davis (aka Solo D) arrived in Canada at age two after spending his first years in a Brazilian orphanage. Speaking no English, he was introduced to his new mother with little fanfare.
“My new mom had literally just completed the Vancouver marathon and jumped on a plane to Brazil,” recalls Davis. “They put me on her lap and said ‘there is your new son’. I only spoke Portuguese so she really just had to go off a mother’s intuition.”
Arriving at the airport back in Canada to begin his new life, he was quickly introduced to his new grandfather who, like his mother, soon became an inspiration.
“I remember walking off the plane and just sitting on my grandfather’s lap and feeling comfortable with that,” says Davis. “Growing up in a single parent household he became a really awesome influence. He was a very generous, kind-hearted man and I looked up to him and the family he created.”
Encouraged by his new family, Davis first found his love for music at age 13 when he joined the Vancouver Outreach Gospel Choir.
“I was with the choir for seven years where I had tons of fun and learned a lot. I was inspired by some of the other members of the choir, especially choir director Checo Tohomaso , to begin writing my own material at that time as well.”
With a classical training that also included studying with The Royal Conservatory at the Shadbolt Centre in Burnaby, Davis now finds himself with a more contemporary sound that finds its inspiration from a wide range of influences.
“Meatloaf, Queen and a number of R&B artists have all influenced me,” he says. “Bob Dylan has been an influence in terms of his lyrics, I love the way he puts words together. I think it is vital to learn from as many people as you can be open to new things.”
Familial and musical influences aside, Davis also draws on his experiences as a gay man and a recovering alcoholic.
A gradual coming out process that started at age 17, it took a couple of years for him to tell all his family and friends that he was gay. But while he is no longer in the closet, he makes it clear that he and his music are not completely defined by being gay.
“Coming out was one of the greatest things in my life, but every person is an individual and it [being gay] shouldn’t be the defining factor of who a person is,” he explains. “It plays a part … and I won’t shy away from it, but my music is about reaching out to everyone.”
Only six months sober, Davis also doesn’t shy away from talking about overcoming his battle with the bottle.
“There was a period of my life when drinking took control of my life,” admits Davis. “It was definitely getting out of control and I had lost the ability to make good decisions when I was drinking and I needed to make changes.”
Those changes included surrounding himself with a strong support group that has helped immerse him into his music and with his new album set to release early next year on Hammer Records, he is excited by the possibilities it will bring.
“One of the great things about this year has been the self-discovery,” says Davis. “I am high-energy, and while I am professional, I like to have lots of fun. That journey of self-discovery comes through in this album and I’m excited to see where we go from here.”