Raph Solo

‘I Am A Singer Who Just Happens To be Gay’

London-based, hunky pop singer Raph Solo is in the midst of releasing his brand-new single “Star,” a tribute to his “mum,” who he loves more than life itself. It is included in his newest album, “The Anonymous Icon.”

Besides his music, Solo is also a published author, having written a fictional journal-type manuscript called “The Memoirs of Angel King.”

Solo is an incredible person: fun, candid and so sweet. When the conversation ended, I was proud and happy to consider him not only a brilliant person, talented musician and singer, not to mention an extremely hot guy, but a new treasured friend.

I love your music.
Which one do you like the best?

I haven’t heard “Star” yet, so “Glass of Wine.”
A lot of people like that one. I like it too. A

I can tell it’s not your favorite, so tell me, which one is?
“Rich in My Heart” is one of my favorites, because it’s reflective of the life I lead every day. I have a day job in addition to making music, to pay the bills, so while I’m being economical I’m rich in my heart…if you get what I mean. It’s corny, but I like it.

Were you born in London?
I was born in Nigeria, West Africa. My parents are originally Lebanese, so I’m a bit of a mixture.

So your new song “Star” is about your mom? Tell me about it.
It’s a song I wrote a little while ago, and it’s inspired by my mom. Growing up, my mom was quite pretty, so the first verse is inspired by her physical attributes. The second verse is about how she sang songs to me, and also she used to be a great dancer, so I mentioned that. She was very glamorous, kind of like Jackie O. So that was the inspiration for it. Musically it’s an uptempo pop song, and in this song I loved doing harmony. I was inspired by The Carpenters and The Jackson 5, how they used to do their harmonies. So I got a chance to do that when I recorded this song. Musically the cord structure is retro, kind of like the ‘80s. I have my own label called “Angel King Music,” which I set up five years ago as an independent artist.

A lot of British artists seem to have their own record labels, I’ve noticed.
I decided to do it because I could be a little more creative. It’s a little more organic, and something which is true and authentic. I’ve also found that there could be a little bit of prejudice. I wouldn’t classify myself as a gay artist, but as an artist that just happens to be gay.

I saw your naked pictures with you holding a star. I’m not sure regular record labels would go with that.
It is racy, but it’s got a meaning.

I’m just waiting to hear it.
The star is symbolic of soul. Your soul is what you’re born with. So it’s my birthday suit. The reason that it’s for my mom is that she gave birth to me.

I’m curious to know what your mom thinks of it.
Well, she’s OK with it. She prefers the one with the black t-shirt.

I’m sure. Personally, I like it. How many hours do you spend at the gym?
Actually, I go to the gym four times a week. I spend 50 minutes to an hour and 10 minutes. I like working out, because it makes you happy.

When and what made you decide to sing and write your own songs?
Ever since I was young I’ve been singing, but I think I remember writing my first song when I was about seven. It was in the bathroom, and I have a vivid memory of that. When I was 13, I decided that it’s what I wanted to do. Then I taught myself how to play piano, because I wanted to write songs. I started recording when I was a teenager. I pretty much learned everything from experience.

Where do you want to be in 10 years?
I see myself making big movies. I see myself doing tours. I don’t know if that will happen, but it’s what I’d like to do.

Shortly after our conversation I heard his song “Star,” and it became my new favorite!


Photo: Michele Martinoli

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