Last updated on August 22nd, 2023 at 12:09 pm
Self-proclaimed hip-hop/soul crooner Soultru played his very first Mile of Music with a large schedule of performances over the festival’s four days. The Davenport, Iowa-based artist pulls his influences from growing up around gospel music and listening to Fred Hammond and Smokie Norful. Soultru is part of a growing backbone of an indie music scene in the Quad Cities and a hidden gem for Midwest artists. He was the last person I interviewed before leaving Appleton, and it was easy to witness the joy and gratitude Soultru had for playing so many shows in town.
Music in Minnesota: I think I’m doing my math right in that you’ll end up playing a total of eight times here at Mile of Music. What has the experience been like for you?
Soultru: Oh, man. It’s weird in the best way. The city itself and the energy in the area is so different. It’s just been inspirational for me. We saw the Psycodelics last night, and it was insane. We couldn’t leave the stage. We were just like, “What is going on?” As an artist, there were people that I wanted to see, but I’m doing too much stuff. So we just walked around and experienced it.
MiM: Talk about the Writers Round you got to partake in yesterday.
Soultru: It was a beautiful moment just to be on stage and be African American and just be up there with three women of color. I’d never done one, but I knew about them a little bit. I knew Nikki Morgan and checked out the other artists. Julie Williams’ song “Southern Curls” stood out first. I knew she was mixed, but that song is so good. She didn’t end up playing it, but I’m not mad because I probably would’ve cried.
MiM: As an artist, what value do you get from playing at this festival?
Soultru: The biggest thing is just connecting with people in general. I one hundred percent need it. A lot of the reason I do music is for my own healing and learning, but then at points, there are conversations with people. There’s a lady that was gonna buy a t-shirt today, and she brought someone in her family who was bipolar. She’s buying a shirt for her because my mom’s schizophrenic and bipolar. It always helps me to hear someone share their story and just connect. When my music’s the reason that they said something to me, it makes me feel like I’m not alone. Mental health for me, like anxiety and depression, is a part of me.
MiM: As a fellow Iowan, I’m always drawn to artists that find ways to make that passion work down there; I had to move to pursue my own path. Share a bit about the community in Davenport and what it means to you.
Soultru: It’s awesome. I can’t complain about the people that are fans and friends of mine. And I know pretty much most of the movers and shakers there, but I want to see the world now, you know? I get plenty of support back home. If I ever get rich and can afford to have houses in multiple cities, I don’t know if I can ever leave Davenport. I love traveling and playing.
MiM: I know your family has been a huge supporter of your music growing up. Have you felt the music community here to be another family for you?
Soultru: A hundred percent. Especially other artists, as they’re on the same end of things where you’re at. So when I see the artist badge on someone, I know they know what it’s like. It happened when I was walking up the steps to one of the shows, and out of the blue, we started talking, wanting to catch each other’s set. Even those ten-second interactions feel cool.
MiM: Have you played in Minnesota?
Soultru: I just played Saint Paul at the White Squirrel with Carnage the Executioner. I just saw him play last night. He told me after the show that he was blown away. I thought he was just in his mode. But he said this was one of his best sets ever. They couldn’t get enough. Carnage was the reason I was up there.