In 2013, he sold 241K tracks & 11K+ mixtapes with no airplay. 2014 isn’t ready.
If you haven’t heard of SoMo, get familiar. The Texas native has dominated YouTube with his eclectic covers and original music that has reached fans across the US and has already crossed over into Canada. Republic Records recently picked up the fresh face in R&B and has big plans in store for him come 2014.
With R&B already taking a new direction thanks to key players like Robin Thicke and now Justin Bieber, SoMo is adding even more diversity to the game and has taken R&B fans by storm with his 30-city tour. And he hasn’t even reached the radio yet. The Source got the chance to chop it up with the young artist about his achievements thus far and his plans for touring and a debut album.
The Source: How did you feel when you finalized your deal with Republic Records?
SoMo: It was a great feeling man. It was a process getting everything in order. I was lowkey talking to different labels also. But I feel really confortable with my decision and now everything is great.
How long have you been pursuing music?
Professionally about a year and a half. For fun? For at least four years. Before that, it’s always been a passion all my life. It’s been a part of who I am. It was really easy to decide.
I can tell based off your YouTube page that you’re a sensation online. Your single “Ride” has been really successful. Tell me about making that track.
Personally, that’s one of the first songs I wrote. It’s my baby. It’s the first hook I really cmae up with. Everything I write is about a real situation. It’s usually the same girl that a lot of my songs stem from. That song started as a love song it wasn’t typically for a sex anthem or whatever people want to call it. But for me it’s more about the emotional than the physical you know.
So you’re currently on tour?
I’m actually taking a break but the tour will continue on into 2014. I’ve been all over 30 cities nationwide, even Toronto. It was crazy in Toronto. It’s cool to go up there where Drake & The Weeknd are from. But it was crazy to sell out shows and see all my fans from all over.
I’ve noticed that your YouTube page is very eclectic. One of the stand out covers was your cover of “Type of Way” by Rich Homie Quan. So how would you define your sound?
I’m very R&B driven. I love to sing about love, heartache and love-making. But it’s fun. Covers allow me to sing others words. The Rich Homie Quan one is a good example of me just singing some of my favorite songs. Usually I’ll cover songs that are hot or I’ll do throwbacks.
Who are you listening to now that influences you?
Recently I’ve been listening to PARTYNEXTDOOR, Drake, Miguel, Big Sean. I listen to a lot of rap. I connect with a lot of rappers that have melodic influences like Future and Rich Homie Quan. When I listen them, I can sing along in the way that I want to.
It’s amazing to me that you have such a huge fan base but you have barely any radio play at all. How do you think that will impact your future?
I mean radio is radio. I really just can’t wait for more people to hear my music. It is crazy that I’ve gotten to this level without it. Just getting to tour is incredible without having radio success yet. I like to look at YouTube as a good platform for independent artists. It’s like dictating your own success.
Have you been working with any other producers with the songs you have right now?
Yea I’ve worked primarily with Cody Tarpley who’s based in Texas and I’ve also worked with Mick Schultz who produced Jeremih’s first two albums. I wrote probably 30% of the album with Cody Tarpley and Mick Schultz produced the rest. Then I wrote “Ride” and “Hush”.
R&B has obviously changed a lot from ten years ago to today. So how do you feel you’re going to impact the R&B game today?
I feel like R&B now a days is very hip-hop driven with more of the racy lyrics. Not that it’s bad at all, but I feel like I’m kinda bringing back the old school vibe where it’s ok to be a sensitive male and sing about woman in a more respectful manner in terms of love-making and stuff like that. I try to be the gentleman, bad boy.
Do you feel like that image is going to work?
Oh yeah, that’s just who I am! So I hope it works.
With your hip-hop influences, do you feel like one day you can successfully crossover into the hip-hop scene?
I definitely think I can crossover easy. I’m coming in more R&B than I am pop. So I don’t think I have escape the teeny-bopper image like Justin Bieber did. We could put rappers like Big Sean or Kendrick on one of my songs easily.
– Tony Centeno (@_tonyMC)