Rapper-singer Ivy Sole just turned 25, so she’s finally realized how little she fully understands about life and her music reflects just how hungry she is to make sense of the world around her. As a Charlotte, NC native and current resident of Philadelphia, Ivy’s sound draws on a diverse set of influences. Sole is the product of the gospel and soul upbringing afforded by her hometown, the mainstream R&B and backpack hip hop of the late 90s and 2000s, and an organic obsession with indie rock that she’s cultivated into a soundscape that's all her own. Sole's debut mixtape project EDENwas released in April 2016 to a welcoming community of hip-hop heads and hipsters alike, and it was ranked #27 on Bandcamp’s Best Albums of 2016 list. In 2017, she released the two-part project EASTand WEST and was featured as Spotify’s Fresh Finds spotlight artist. After 3 projects, two tours, and a lot wisdom gained, the unsigned indie returned full force with her first full-length studio album, OVERGROWN,which released in September.
Originally from Trinidad & Tobago, singer Blossom calls Portland, OR home. She spent her childhood playing in a steel drum band with family members and that set the tone for her taste in instruments & energy that she uses in her music today.
Blossom is an eclectic R&B jazz-singer who today feels right at home on stage. While it took her some time to grow in confidence, since 2014 she has been creating and performing non-stop. The positive effect music has had on her life is something Blossom now strives to share with the youth in her community. The city has recognized her talent and in addition to being constantly sought after for shows she has also received accolades such as being named one of Willamette Week’s best new bands in 2017.
In the last few years she has released multiple collaborative projects. In the summer of 2017 she released a project with producer Hot16 titled Tease. In the summer of 2018 she linked up with Ripley Snell for the dreamy EP Clout Atlas :: Dormiveglia. On her upcoming album, due out Spring 2019, the focus is solely on Blossom and her story. For Blossom this new album is a coming of age story.
The history of pop music is one of reinvention, littered with instances of people who, cutoff from resources, from representation, have turned inward, mined themselves and remadeculture in their own image. Musical-cum-cultural movements like hip-hop, dance music, andpunk all began like that: untutored kids deconstructing the music of the time and reassemblingthe pieces into a world in which they could see themselves.And so the story goes with Parisalexa, Seattle’s premiere triplehyphenate—singer-songwriter-producer—who continues to forge her own brand of R&B tingedpop with the raw materials of the past.Born into an artistically-inclined family, Parisalexa (real name: Paris Alexa Williams)began developing almost immediately. “I started singing...when I was born” she insists,recounting a family story about her ability to hum as an infant. That preternatural hummingturned into singing, then harmonizing with the radio, then writing her own songs and performingthem for friends and family at the hair shop and in living rooms. Her growth was aided by themusic that inundated her young life: her parents’ jazz, R&B and pop records. “My mom says shelistened exclusively to Destiny’s Child when she was pregnant,” she says laughingly.But it was an aunt that set a sixteen-year-old Paris firmly on the path to becoming amusician when she gifted her niece a BOSS RC505 looping station. Initially, the gift was adisappointment--she wanted cash--but at the last minute, Paris decided to bring the station withher on a month-long trip to Denmark, leaving the instruction manual at home. That month, in thecold and dark, she began teaching herself to use it. She learned how to record and layer hervocals and how to create beats using handclaps and pencils on tabletops. Slowly, she taughtherself how to make music that sourced its materials from the traditions of her youth andreshaped them into something new.When she returned from her trip, she began writing songs in earnest. Stints at Berklee andGrammy songwriting camps honed her instinct for song structures and helped her produceslicker, hard-hitting songs, most notably the bouncing kiss-off anthem “Like Mariah.” She alsobegan utilizing songwriting as a way of dealing with the tumult of growing up. “There’s so muchin life that I can’t seem to wrap my head around, and music helps me to come to terms withthem,” she explains.Earlier this year, Parisalexa emerged fully-formed with her debut EP Bloom, whichchronicles the course of a relationship—from its genesis to its greatest heights to its end and theresulting exercise in self-love.
Now, close on Bloom’s heels, comes FLEXA, a four-track mixtape that represents adeparture for Parisalexa in both sound and theme. “When I was writing Bloom, I was in adifferent place,” Paris says. “I was falling in love, and writing my own story, and I wasreferencing a lot of older, more soulful sounds.” If Bloom is about a journey—that of falling inlove and discovering oneself—FLEXA is about what happens once you arrive.Rather that utilizing the warm, downtempo arrangements that illuminated Bloom, FLEXAis all contemporary R&B gloss and trap-inflected austerity. “LV” is all lithe self-aggrandizing;“Ballin” wistfully reflects on the past and dreams of the future; “Like Me Better” is a swaggeringkiss off to a former partner; and on “Hard Way,” Parisalexa oscillates between woozy and pissedoff as she takes an ex to task. According to Paris, “FLEXA was written at a time where I felt likeI knew what I was worth, but other people hadn’t caught up yet. I felt like people wereunderestimating me, so it was my version of bossing up.” She laughs, “I don’t have cars and goldchains, but I’m thankful for what I have and I’m going to let you know what that is.”