Beatboxer turned electronic singer/songwriter SK Shlomo aka Simon Shlomo Kahn has shared his debut album Surrenderwith us listen to it below. Having previously worked with the likes of Björk, Damon Albarn, Lily Allen etc, his new solo work released this Friday was conceived via a Pledge campaign. Influenced by layered ‘dark’ electronic pop sounds, each song is a personal account of his struggles with PTSD and depression. He says
“This album is a super personal journey. I found myself tackling emotional issues in musical form, from overcoming grief, addiction and suicidal depression to finding a rhythm and voice in celebrating the beauty in life.”
He launches the self-produced album Surrender on the 29th March 2019 with a special album launch party at East London’s Oslo Hackney.
As Shlomo, he burst in to the mainstream collaborating with Björk and performed with famous fans from Damon Albarn, Lily Allen and Jarvis Cocker to Imogen Heap, Martha Wainwright and Rudimental. As the first ever World Looping Champion, he taught his friend Ed Sheeran some tricks. He’s been Artist in Residence at London’s Southbank Centre for years, played the main stages at Glastonbury more times than he remembers, won rave reviews for his autobiographical one-man shows and even had a feature film made about him. “I’d always been incredibly driven,” says the London-born musician, now back as solo artist SK Shlomo, “but ultimately that was at the expense of my mental health.”
Behind his reinvention lies a realisation – that throughout his 20s, despite composing and producing for other artists, as well as for film and commercials, he had resisted becoming the solo recording artist he desperately wanted to be for fear of failure. Last summer, determined to change, he set himself a challenge – to write a song every day for a month. For the first five days, he delivered. Then things ground to a painful halt, triggering a mental breakdown which led to six months in therapy. Diagnosed with PTSD, he was forced to confront his past.
“Talking about a major trauma from my childhood was a huge turning point,” he says.
“That’s when I realised what this album was about. It’s called Surrender because that’s all the traumatised me could ever do – let go and trust. It’s empowering, stopping trying to control everything around you.”
Under his new moniker SK Shlomo, Simon found himself taking a ‘dark pop’ direction after listening to lots of Caribou, Jamie xx, SOHN, FKA Twigs, JJames Blake and Massive Attack.
“None of my achievements in music arrived the traditional way,” he says. “Appearing on Jools Holland at the start of my career was about it. I always strived to do everything differently, to create my own path. But I’ve realised that the biggest challenge for me is to stand up on stage and simply be myself. No clever machines, no fancy techniques, no persona. This is the real me, naked so to speak. It’s the scariest, most exciting thing I’ve ever tried.”
Since opening up about his struggles with depression during his successful album crowdfunding campaign, SK Shlomo’s life has transformed. He has been asked to speak on multiple music industry panels about mental health, launched his first tour in 5 years and his monthly live streams #WEARELISTENING have snowballed, featuring guests like Jason Mraz, Kodaline and Bill Bailey talking openly about mental health and creativity.
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