One bedroom has become distinctly recognisable this year. Featuring a bespectacled figure performing extremely close up against a smoked out backdrop, a series of tracks posted by London based SOLOMON rattled at lightning speed across TikTok’s algorithm, eventually landing in increasingly influential hands. Despite only just kicking off, his incredibly delicate guitar music has already been featured by Brockhampton, Ice Spice and Kojey Radical.
Born and raised in Kensal Rise, north west London, SOLOMON is the vibe crafter behind one of this year’s most picked-up upon TikTok formats. Him, his bedroom and his guitar, all self-shot atop an unmistakable and very warm blue and red tone. To date, his carefully curated collection of original tracks and covers has picked up close to 12 million likes.
“You post and post and post and don’t know what will happen, but you might get one video that goes crazy. Once you do, it’s how you work with that and utilize it,” he explains of the process, and how things have evolved since uploading his first video onto the platform back in December 2020.
Set uniquely aside from his generation of electronic super producers, hyper-pop wizards and UK drillers, SOLOMON is throwing it back to the age of authentically bare boned songwriting. It’s one man and his guitar, conveying immediate emotion and telling stories. A true 21st century, of the moment songwriter, undertaking an artistic procedure that comes incredibly natural to him.
“People used to say to me ‘Guitar seems like an extension of you’ and I definitely see what they meant. It feels like a way I can articulate myself,” he says.
In its earliest stages, SOLOMON’s musical journey began with the keys, aged seven. “Then two years later I got swept off my feet by the guitar,” he says. Then came the influences: “Paolo Nutini. Jack Johnson. James Morrison. John Mayer. All guys with guitars. That was the foundation of everything. I got more into hip hop and R&B as I got older through secondary school. That played a massive part in my songwriting and lyricism and flows in that sense.”
Today these two influences combine to create the candle-lit, R&B toned sound heard on breakthrough single “listen up”, Since dropping in October, the track has racked up 3 million plays on Spotify and countless engagements on TikTok. “If I boil down and dig deep, that song isn’t alien. It’s something I can relate to,” he says of the track’s lyrical lean into toxicated love.
SOLOMON has been writing his own music long before “Listen Up” flew across the stratosphere. One of his earliest tracks – a song named “Bleed” – is on the radar for a future release. Performed on live streams, the track is already a firm fan favourite. Which is incredible considering SOLOMON wrote the track when he was 16.
“That track was my first look into something happening to me, and articulating it in the form of song. When that happens it usually pours out. I don’t even need to write. ‘Bleed’ was my first instance of that.”
Meanwhile “Phases” is the track responsible for sending SOLOMON’s music into far flung corners of the industry. Hugely hyped up-and-comer Ice Spice sampled the track in a freestyle for On The Radar, which ended up having a play on Drake’s OVO Sound radio show. UK rap luminary Kojey Radical also heard a version of the track via TikTok, sent SOLOMON a comment and then the two agreed to hook up, resulting in Kojey recording a verse for the track. Meanwhile Brockhampton tapped SOLOMON’s track “Robbery” for “Listerine” from their recent final album.
“It’s literally all just the ether that is TikTok. It floats around and lands in other people’s laps. I like it that way. I like when it can connect you to someone who you had no idea you would connect with,” SOLOMON says.
Looking toward future ambitions, SOLOMON has an innate desire to return to the concept that started in his bedroom. “I want to give people an escape. The whole point of immersion is you can step into a world, and leave this one. I like to use music as a means of getting away from all the real life stuff,” he says. There’s one thread through it all. “Every song, no matter what style it is – and I have many styles to come – I want the thread to be my voice and guitar.”
“I feel like I haven’t started yet. I’m gearing up,” he continues. “I have loads of demos ready. It’s building them up to a quality where they sound amazing. I want them to be cohesive and tied together, even visually. I want it to be movie-esque or like a series, where it’s all a journey.”