Monday, February 21, 2011
FROM LIL TORONTO TO LIL WAYNE: SILVER SOLITAIR RAISES HIS VOICE IN AUDIO AND VISUAL, FROM CANADA TO THE WORLD
Once upon a time, Solitair (or "Silver," as his friends would call him) decided to channel his hobby by joining Toronto program "Fresh Art" with Canadian urban house names like Saukrates, Jully Black, and Kardinal Offishall. "I met them before," Silver Solitair explains, "but (because of this program), I developed my love (for hip hop) as a profession." Little did he know he would collaborate with Kardinal Offishall once again as a business partner, let alone a co-founder of the renowned Black Jays Production Team. As a producer, Silver's fame is most notorious for composing Kardinal Offishall's "Bakardi Slang," the hit single from the Konvict Music artists first American release, Fire Starter Vol. 1-Quest for Fire.
This Toronto-bred triple threat has successfully tried his rhythmic hands at being a artist, producer, and songwriter. While he considers producing and "writing the occasional hook" his specialties, he has just touched base with his inner and outer voice after over a decade of producing singles like the Juno-nominated, hip hop oldie "Easy to Slip" (from the Beat Factory compilation album, Rap Essentials 2001). "It depends on what I'm doing," Silver says, shedding light on how he taps into any of those artistic abilities. "It's the freedom of what I'll decide to do that day, but I just recently came into my own with singing and songwriting."
And with this change in attitude came this instinct to change his name. "I kept it as Silver Solitair. The change in direction can be represented by my change in name, (which has also) changed the presentation of my music." And change there was indeed, for lack of a better word. The album The Departure marks Silver's "departure" from conventional hip hop by mashing rock, pop, and alternative genres into his music. His album incorporates collaborations with hip hop name-makers like Lil Wayne, Estelle, Nina Sky, and Kardinal Offishall. "I was never in studio with Lil Wayne, but I did end up using him for my mixtape. I put in my own verse for 'YYZ.' I was blessed to work with Nina Sky in studio, but (our work) didn't come out, because of label disputes."
Adding in that Nina Sky serves as an example of an artist who "deserves to be alot more publicized," Silver empathizes with those who break - and don't break - through this cut-throat music industry. "There are people who work very hard and don't attain success, while some get in great careers in (as little as) a few years." Especially in Canada? "Canada has a chalk full of raw talent but less outlets for urban talent. We still have Flow 93.5, but as for other hip hop outlets, we almost lost community radio stations. To make it internationally - especially without a record label - it's damn impossible for urban artists to make it big, even with radio play. Being an artist in Canada, you must have a love and passion for music (to keep on doing it), because it is harder (here). It's a beautiful struggle, though."
But, is it more difficult to make it in this mainstream music industry today - not only because of more standards or less outlets - but because of hip hop's change for the worse? "I can't say that it's gotten better or worse, only that it's evolved," Silver says. "Commercially, what was considered dope hip hop (in the 90s, etc.) is different from what is considered dope today." Yet despite the significant jump from the more wholesome and less computerized old school hip hop to today's more explicit and techno-based urban "crunk," rap, and R&B beats and lyrics, Silver still believes hip hop serves as "great entertainment (and) overall, (the reflection of culture and personality, etc.) is positive."
Of course, while it may take a ship of Jay Z's and Eminems to impose permanent trends in music, Silver Solitair can do his part in changing hip hop for better - one step at a time. "I was nominated for a Juno in 'R&B Recording of the Year' (alongside Keshia Chante and Karl Wolf) for 'Come True' featuring Kardinal Offishall. The single is available on YouTube and ITunes."
You can find more information on other official Silver Solitair websites: