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ON THE RADAR: SOLANA Supplies Summer Sunshine

Photo by Adam Foster Jacobs

Discovering new music, especially during “Stay At Home,” has some great perks. For one, you have all the time in world to click, listen, and absorb. With this added time and focus on the online world, we can also dig deeper into Minnesota music and recognize the abundance of talent in our state.

Alex Richter, aka SOLANA, continues to provide a ray of sunshine during this time, both literally and figuratively.

Photo by Adam Foster Jacobs

BEGINNINGS

Starting out as a bass player in a band in high school, Alex was playing rock music for years until they broke up. He has always loved hip hop and R&B and used the opportunity to make his own music based on his ideal musical tastes. The last four years Alex has explored those R&B flavors. The base of his music has remained a drum machine and with heavy backbeats.

“I really value the vocals, lyrics, and vocal melody, which is usually the crux of the songs I make. I’m really influenced by romance, whatever it is, being in love or having a crush and everything in between. That tends to be the content,” Alex says.

Photo by Sean Donohue

ADDING IN DANCE

Two years ago, Alex attended a University of Minnesota event with The Dance Collective. The performance impressed him and he ended up meeting a couple of the artists. He was working on a song at the time and asked if they would be interested in working on a music video with him. There was a mutual excitement for the project, which led to Alex and the Dance Collective to collaborate on multiple music videos.

The thought behind the collaboration came from scrolling through YouTube and realizing people would most likely rather see a bunch of pretty girls dancing around than himself. The concept represents his music and artistically sets SOLANA apart from other R&B videos. 

INFLUENCES AND NAMING HIS PROJECT

It was a trip to a little town just north of San Diego called Solana Beach that inspired his name. Being influenced by Canadian rapper PARTYNEXTDOOR, he capitalized his own name to make it stand out and look more like a logo.

His biggest influence has been Drake, although not really his rap music. In his earlier days. Drake made mellow R&B songs with descriptive lyrics about a certain car or specific movie theater. Although he couldn’t entirely relate to them, Alex felt it was authentic. He was drawn to this, along with Drake’s chords and the tone of his synthesizers. Anderson .Paak continues to influence him as well.

Photo by Francisco Sanchez

“WITH YOU”

“With You,” which was going to be saved for the summer, represents a new shift in SOLANA’s music. This breezy, golden ray of sunshine is acoustically centered and features Alex driving around California soaking up the summer. With the coronavirus situation and everything being cancelled, stuck at home like everyone else, he wanted to release something positive, upbeat, with a bright feeling.

The song was co-produced by McNally Smith graduate and now West Coast resident Brandon Buttner. Brandon’s vocal production and work with top artists Alicia Keys and Marshmello resulted in a fast process for building the song. The southern California vibe permeates the song.

“With You” continues the romantic theme that SOLANA crafts into his music. The song is a reminder to embrace our partners and appreciate that we have someone with us through life. That reminder is especially important during this COVID times.

DISCOVER MORE

You can find SOLANA on a variety of platforms. Streamable on Spotify, watchable on YouTube, and purchase-able on Apple Music. To learn more about his future endeavors you can follow him on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Smouse
Author: Smouse

Having spent 13 years recording and producing Minnesota artists, along with running a small record label, Smouse is a passionate advocate of musicians and artists in Minnesota.

Written by Smouse

Having spent 13 years recording and producing Minnesota artists, along with running a small record label, Smouse is a passionate advocate of musicians and artists in Minnesota.

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