Photos by Sidney Spear for Bullet Music
On Nov. 1 in a nearly packed Center Stage, SoMo takes his stand on the inaugural night of his "Less Stress, More Love" tour.
SoMo entered the music scene in a digital renaissance when the likes of Justin Bieber and Austin Mahone but SoMo's star's was a bit of a slow burn; which has resulted in more consistency in his body of work. And at the age of 29, he is definitely more seasoned than his contemporaries from his production and song choices to his performance and musicianship.
Minutes before taking stage, SoMo uses some of his precious prep time to discuss his life. The Texas native grew up on 90's R&B, a standout from the tejano and country western music associated with the state. While his singing vocals are very clear and articulate, I can detect a southern drawl and some latent conservatism in his everyday speaking voice.
"One of my biggest inspirations is Musiq Soulchild," he chimes in casually as we we hang among a group of his friends on the tour bus. Musiq Soulchild who is more recently known as the "The Husel", a new rap persona he adopted in 2014 in light of recent R&B developments is an unexpected influence for SoMo who's sensual crooning toes the line perfectly between romantic and raunchy somewhere between Trey Songz and Zayn Malik.
When I ask him what he thinks about Soulchild's recent rap career, he laughs nervously, "I don't know if I can speak on that, but yeah it's great when people try to experiment and take leaps and bounds. You never know what can happen."
He's not entirely wrong, while rap didn't work out for Soulchild, it has been heavily incorporated in modern R&B from production to lyricism and yet where so many artists are trying to follow that trend, SoMo goes left. In this case left is pop. His latest project "My Life II" is a body of Top 40 friendly records, still rooted in R&B but able to put him in that 'Bieber' conversation. He denies any strategy behind the project however.
"With My Life II, I was just trying to tell a cohesive story about things I was going through. Whatever I write when I'm collaborating or in the studio is just how I like to let things go and if it feels like SoMo than I put it out."
The crowd responds well to some of his older work but it's his newest single, "First" that really drew them here.
The song is a collaboration between SoMo, veteran producer Tricky Stewart, and newcomers K Major & Pierre. If it's any indication of a new album he doesn't say but with a tour that is going on through December he must have something on the horizon. He only concedes, "I'm excited to get back to writing. I have some great experiences and little more perspective that I can pinpoint some things I haven't touched on yet and revamp my material to keep it fresh."
SoMo's single, "FIrst" is out now and his "Less Stress, More Love" tour will continue through December 29th, 2016.