Real Music w/ SK Shlomo
Some real talk today from singer songwriter SK Shlomo who is delving in to a new musical chapter with true honesty about his life journey so far.
SB (StarBeat): Bio Sheet: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
SK (SK Shlomo): I’m SK Shlomo – I first got known as a world record breaking beatboxer and winner of the World Looping Championships. After collaborating with Bjork, Ed Sheeran and Damon Albarn, and 2 years off the road battling my mental health I finally ended a decade of procrastination to make my solo album. I’ve now metamorphosised into an electronic singer-songwriter blending my beatboxing with epic synths, crushingly honest lyrics and lush electronic layers.
SB: New Release: What’s the album about?
SK: The album is called Surrender and is out on March 29th – it’s a record about recovery, about finding beauty in the darkness of depression and isolation. I’ve struggled with depression for most of my adult life but I had never been brave enough to speak up about it until things got really bad a couple of years ago and I was fantasising about ending my life. This record is a document of that journey and subsequent rebuilding of myself. The Times called the single “Gloriously melancholic” and Gaby Roslin called it “So haunting… it’s beautiful” on her BBC radio show so I’m overjoyed that the darker side of my work is being recognised and embraced.
SB: Softness: How have the public reacted to you displaying your vulnerability like that?
SK: The response has been overwhelming. I posted a video ‘coming out’ about my mental health to launch my album crowdfunding campaign. Most of my family, friends and certainly my fans had no idea what I’d been battling. This was a huge step to take – and people immediately started reaching out to me in the hundreds from around the world, sharing their own journeys and offering support. My life has transformed – people talk to me differently now – they looked me in the eye. They tell me what they are going through.
I feel more real, more connected and so much less alone.
SB: Live: Tell us about your livestream series – you had Jason Mraz as a guest?
SK: It was in reaction to a brutal trolling I received on Twitter attacking my mental health. I decided to create #WEARELISTENING – a series of “real talk” live streams inviting guests to open up frankly about real life mental health. The first live stream with Jason Mraz was watched live by over 95,000 people around the planet and since then I’ve had Bill Bailey, Kodaline and loads of others open up about their own journey. It has been so empowering
SB: Travel: Are you taking the record on tour?
SK: Yep – starting in February I’m doing a sort of ‘double tour’ doing my family theatre show “Shlomo’s Beatbox Adventure For Kids” by day, and by night I’m doing my solo electronic live looping album show. I can’t wait to get out on the road again.
SB: Play: How does it work live?
SK: I spent my whole career as a live artist, refusing to release a record citing the excuse that beatboxing was a live art form. It meant I was playing on these mega huge stages at festivals like Glastonbury and the other acts on those stages would be turning up in a tour bus with these ultra expensive productions and crews… They had most definitely been selling a whole bunch of records, whilst I’d rock up with my mic and my loop station and get the whole place jumping by myself. Now I’m super excited to combine my live looping skills with my new songs, stand up and tell my story, and sing my songs with a depth and truth I’d never had the guts to offer before.
Pre-order my album and help raise funds for an amazing mental health charity: skshlomo.com/pledge
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