“That’s kind of why my music is kind of genreless cause we really don’t put it in a box.”
Juno Award-nominated rapper, singer and songwriter SonReal has just released the music video to his song “Hot Air Balloon.” The singer doesn’t stop there he is also the writer for hit song “Can I Get A Witness” and his new EP The Name.
We got a chance to talk to the rapper as he dishes on how he got into music, inspiration behind some of his hits, what fans can expect from him soon and more!
Can you tell me a little bit about what got you into making music?
I started when I was about 15 years old. I was just a kid and I loved skateboarding at the skate park. All the older skateboarders listened to rap music and they just kind of inspired me to want to do it, they all rapped and the type of clothes they were wearing. I started watching all these skateboard videos and my favorite skateboarders would always skateboard to rap music and hip hop music and that’s how I discovered artist like Nas, Method Man and all sorts of stuff and I got really into rap. I guess I started fiddling around and I went and bought a microphone.
Would you say that that kind of inspired your genre? I really like it cause it’s rap and also upbeat. It’s different.
Yeah, I mean it inspired the genre for sure. I started with rap music and I fell in love with that and through that I pretty much fell in love with all sorts of types of music. I love everything from Pink Floyd to Stevie Wonder, Graham Nash, The Beatles, James Taylor and all sorts of stuff. I wanted my music to reflect what I’m into and what I fell in love with. I really don’t put a box around my genre or anything like that. I just try to make the best music I can make, whatever type of music that even is.
So you recently released an EP called The Name. Can you talk about how creating that was?
Creating it was incredible! I got to work with some of my closest producers and some of the greatest people I’ve got a chance to work with. I worked on the EP with people like Rocky who has produced Kendrick Lamar’s “I” and other songs from Kendrick. I got to work with a guy named Rush who works really closely with RedOne; they did so much of the Lady Gaga songs and all that. I really worked with producers that did pop music, rap music, soul music all sorts of stuff. That’s kind of why my music is kind of genreless cause we really don’t put it in a box. When we got in studio making the EP we just kind of wanted to make something that didn’t sound like we were following what’s hot right now we wanted to create our own trend we wanted to make our own way of music. That’s like how songs like “Hot Air Balloon” came to be like if you listen to that song it’s inspired by like Jackson 5 and Queen and all sorts of stuff. It’s mixed with pop music and rap music and all that kind of stuff. We’re really proud of the music we made on that EP and I think it all came organically and it was all kind of fearless of not having to fit in and all that kind of stuff.
Off that EP you had a big hit with “Can I Get A Witness?” Can you explain how creating that song was?
Yeah! “Can I Get a Witness” was crazy to do because I met the producers for the first time and he’s from Holland. There was even like a language barrier and all that stuff when we first got in there and we didn’t know each other at all and he started playing the keys for “Can I Get a Witness” and I kind of thought it sounded like circus music and I really wasn’t that into it, but he was like, “No, trust me you must do this! It’s going to be trendy. You must do it!” and he really pushed me to do it. I basically kind of just free styled the song and I think we had the whole song done in about an hour and a half. We actually worked on it for about 5 months after that just tweaking everything and getting the song to a place where we really felt it was a hit song and a strong single to lead with. The song happened really organically and if you can believe it most of the lyrics in that song aren’t written down or anything. Yeah I’m really proud of that one and I don’t think we followed anybody on that song and I don’t think it sounds like anything else. I’m really proud of it.
You also had a very successful tour this year can you tell me how that experience was?
It was crazy! I hadn’t toured in Canada for a while and I’m from Canada. I’m from Vancouver B.C. and we went and did some East Coast dates like way on the other side of Canada it’s a market I have never even been to before. It was bizarre to be honest. People were singing every single word to the songs. We start with an intro song, a song named “Soho,” that was on the EP and my guitar player would start playing and it was kind of like a flip of the song, so it doesn’t really sound like the song and the whole crowd would be singing before I even got on stage and all that. It’s just a really cool experience and I got to connect with my fans more. One thing that a lot of people don’t understand is that connecting with your fans and understanding your fans helps you make better music and helps you be inspired to create new stuff, and I’m forever grateful to that.
I got a chance to hear your song “Hot Air Balloon,” can you tell me a bit about the inspiration for that song?
The inspiration behind the song, I remember when we came up with the idea and we started creating it we were listening to Queen’s “Bicycle” and we just kept on playing it over and over again. We just thought it was such a cool song and the symbolism in the song just a bicycle, it was so simple and I just loved it and I kind of wanted to do something that was inspired by that. My ‘bicycle’ was a hot air balloon and I wanted that to be the metaphor for a relationship gone bad. I wanted to tell a story that wasn’t my own and just kind of have fun with the song and not really care about structure too much and not care about the genre or anything like that and we made a song I’m proud of.
I also saw your music video for “Hot Air Balloon” and I thought it was great. It was so funny and unique and even somewhat theatrical. Can you tell me about the thought process behind it?
It was directed by a guy named Peter Huang and basically we just wanted to make something that was like a take on Scream and Scary Movie stuff that was kind of funny, but also like a horror film. We wanted it to be drastic, but also harder and we wanted to do something that was kind of juxtaposition to the song. The song is really bright colorful and kind of a poppy record and we wanted to do something to where when you saw it you’re kind of almost like a bit uncomfortable. That’s something Peter Huang does really well with his videos like he takes you somewhere else with the song than somebody else might take the song and that’s what makes his stuff so creative. We had a lot of fun shooting it and yeah I’m very proud of it.
Lastly, what can fans expect to see from you soon?
I’ve got another video coming for a song off the EP called “No Warm Up” and we’ve got the entire No Warm Up tour done and I’m gonna be announcing soon on my Instagram and all over my social medias. I’ve just got a lot of new music. I’ve got an entire album done right now and we’re gonna start rolling out some songs off of it and I think my fans can expect to see a new side of me. I’ve been through a lot this year; being on the road and all sorts of stuff that we’ve been through has inspired my new music and my new ways. I want to give the fans a bigger piece of what I’m doing and a bigger piece of me on this new music and I think we’re gonna open up a new chapter here soon and show the world just how musical and how much of a writer I am.
Check out the music video to “Hot Air Balloon” below!