This April, young boul Ivy Sole kicked off Taurus season with the premiere of her debut album, Eden. In astrology, Ivy’s zodiac is imagined as the cow goddess Hathor, queen of beauty, love, happiness, and all the richness seen in cattle. The image is fitting for Eden, which serves as a 12-track personification of the femcee’s personal search for love, happiness, and fulfillment in her musical and spiritual journey.For those who have yet to listen, know that the natural, grassroots energy conjured by Eden‘s cover art speaks to the young song writer’s organic artistry and raw talent. Akin to rappers like Blu, Lauryn Hill, or Jon Bap, Ivy Sole cleverly combines her signature college-rap vibes, with rhymes about nostalgia, sensuality, and enlightenment. Fans of a more poetic, 90’s inspired sound will enjoy how the artists’ spoken word background heavily flavors her lyricism, making for a final product that’s both cathartic and empathetic; personal, yet relatable.
While other rappers are getting ready for summer16’s playful pop style, Ivy Sole alternatively gives listeners a soundtrack fit for spiritual spring cleaning; something motivational for anyone grinding away, focusing on work, or channeling positive energy towards the next big dream. As the young Taurus celebrates her 23rd birthday and gears up for a new chapter in her life, we were able to catch up for a short but telling interview about Ivy Sole’s new music and future plans!RESPECT: I’ve read some press on Eden that calls it an EP and some that call it an album. What is the truth? What is your official discography so far?
IVY: The truth is it’s the first real project I’ve dropped in my life and if it sounds like an album, it’s because I treated it that way. My official discography starts with Eden.
The last time we spoke, you had just dropped a mixtape, Exquisite Corpse, and you were a part of an arts collective called Third Eye Optiks. Plus, you are currently in two bands, Liberal Arts and IndiGold . What’s the artistic difference between the music you make on our own, and the music you make with your bands- and what’s the status of Liberal Arts right now?
I’m no longer affiliated with Third Eye Optiks, it’s a now defunct collective, although many of us are still pursuing music. As you’ll see on Eden, I’m still collaborating with many of the LA homeys, but as for making projects as a group, I don’t know if that’s in the cards. Indigold came out of this summer, it was supposed to be a side project and turned into a really amazing experience with a really well-received EP. Indigold is the way I make the music that doesn’t fit neatly within the hip hop/soul and allows me to have the collaborative outlet that I love about being in a group/collective.You’re a North Carolina native, educated at UPenn, and residing in Philly now. When you think of your home, what immediately comes to mind?
At first, I’d say my mother & sister, the people who make home what it is. Then, I’d say just the feeling that you get when you’ve been away and you get to return to something or someone. That feeling, to me, is home.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I wanted to be a doctor, mostly because of how lucrative it could be, but I hated physics and lost interest.
You have new footage up of the Eden Release Party. How was that experience for you, and why did you pick Mir Fontane and Sammus as your openers?
The release party was amazing, about 100 of my closest friends & supporters to celebrate the completion of Eden. It was a goal that I’d always had and it felt great to be able to fill a room and really just vibe out. It had a great turnout and people came from out of town to come support, including my mom. The openers were chosen based on preexisting relationships. Mir is a great, talented guy from the southside of Jersey & we met through performing in Philly. Sammus is a fellow femcee and Ivy League grad who’s making some dope moves, and we got connected via her manager.
All Mine has a great King Krule sample from Out Getting Ribs. Are you a big King Krule fan or was that just the producer’s choice? What your favorite King Krule song.
I’m a huge King Krule fan, especially the multiple mediums that accompany his new album A New Place 2 Drown.
You said on The Vow that you daydream about doing shows in different cities. What’s a city you’ve never been to where it would be a dream come true to perform?
I honestly can’t pick one, but I’m really excited at the prospect of performing abroad. I’ve heard that Europe is really good to hip hop artists.You’ve explained before that your spiritual beliefs align more with eastern religion than western religion. Yet, the title Eden obviously references the Bible and Christianity. Plus, on You Don’t Know My Name you end the instrumental with a sample from Genesis 3:18. Can you talk about the spiritual undertones of the album in terms of your personal faith and how it relates to the album’s theme?
I think the answer to that is three-fold. In one respect, Eden is the beginning of a journey for me–musically, creatively, and professionally. Also, the song that follows that sound clip is a retelling of the story of the garden of Eden, so creatively it helps move the project from one topic to the next. And lastly, I think my music will consistently be a meditation on religion & spirituality. On Master Plan, I ask the question, “Is it the master plan or the master’s plan?” and one of the meanings of that line is the uncertainty of knowing whether what you’re doing is just the actions or if it’s a part of some higher being’s plan for your life. I haven’t decided which one I believe just yet lol.
You Don’t Know My Name speaks to your first experience with puppy love, and it’s really cute. How old were you when you had your first crush that you rap about on the song?
YDKMN is actually written from the perspective of a man reflecting on the relationships he’s in or has pursued in the past. The first verse is the present, the second is college, and the third is like middle school.
Love is a reoccurring theme throughout the entire album and you tackle it again and again with songs like Enough, and Lost Without You. Do you believe in soulmates, like there’s one true love for every person?
I don’t believe in soulmates in the traditional sense. I think that in life we find people who match our energy at a specific frequency and whether or not these friendships or relationships last isn’t indicative of a lack of something.
What does Black Sensuality mean to you?
Black sensuality in artistic forms is one of my favorite things in the world. I think reclaiming Black sexuality and the ways its been portrayed as improper or hypersexual and making it more intimate and subdued. I think restraint is a really powerful way to show intimacy and my favorite artists do that well (Prince, Maxwell, Floetry, etc)
Who is Malika?
Malika is a symbol for a beautiful girl, like the type of person that kinda stops the room when they walk in.
What’s the last song you listened to?
Can’t Keep Checking My Phone by Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Specifically what songs on Eden did you produce?
I produced YDKMN and collaborated with CS~W in a very minor capacity on Master Plan & Cloud Kickin’.
How do you spend the majority of your free time?
I’m working full time on music and freelancing as a designer/writer, so most of what would be my free-time, is actually spent on music & whatnot. But before this, I played pick up basketball and spent time outdoors.
How long were you a vegetarian, and why do you practice veganism?
I’m still a vegetarian, haven’t really been able to let go of cheese just yet haha.
What should the fans look out for next?
I’m planning a mini-tour for the fall, I’m definitely excited to get out on the road and connect with people in real time.
What the one thing you particularly want people to notice when they look at your work?
I want them to see that everything I do is genuine & personal.
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