In August 2022, Soulaar was introduced as the pioneer talent from Ejoya’s artist development program. On the announcement video which featured an unreleased track, glimpses of an artiste confident in his ability to thrive on eccentric beats are evident. A year later, the stars have aligned and Söulaar’s season is in full bloom. His debut project, “Cosmic – EP” is out. This body of work explores different shades of love and relationships, blending elements from RnB, Amapiano and Pop music.
The EP opens with instrumentations that evoke a cosmic journey – a sensation that Söulaar aimed to capture on this project. This fascination with “celestial” sounds aligns seamlessly with the artist’s name, a nod to both the soul and the solar system. The resulting music is reminiscent of new generation vanguards, Rema and Victony.
The Hopeless Romantic
Through the project, we encounter Söulaar as a hopeless romantic, falling headfirst regardless of the relationship status of his love interest. Most of the tracks describe intricate situationships and love triangles with Söulaar vying to be the top pick . On “Company,” Söulaar kicks off the proposition that runs through most of the project – His desire to be with His lover. The sentiment is the same on “Stand By You” where the artiste pledges his fidelity.
As the tempo intensifies on “Balance,” the artiste’s resolve also switches to one of superficial affection. “I no ready to marry,” he confesses on the NYRP & Black Culture-produced track. This progression continues into the brilliant, “Tension” which reminds of Victony’s efforts on Savage’s “Rosemary.” On the hook, however, you can hear influences of the legendary, Wande Coal (Think “You Bad,” “Ten Ten”).
Amapiano and Afrobeats mix seamlessly on “Faraway” as Söulaar recoils back to his hopeless romantic self. The project closes with “Need Nobody,” a soulful plea for love delivered with RnB inflections.
Personally, I think Söulaar’s music is easy on the ears. More importantly, the artiste, in collaboration with his producers are able to create and pick beats that perfectly complement his ideas and expression. This is embodied aptly on a track like “Tension.” The song starts off with a synth loop that persists into the first verse, accompanied by slick guitars, suspenseful bass & soft percussions. When the beat eventually drops on the hook, you can hear how that whole build-up accentuates the “tension” that Söulaar is expressing with his lyrics and melodies.
The “Söulaar” brand is also an interesting point of consideration. A coherent thread is evident, weaving from the artist’s name to the project title and its accompanying artwork. The “soul” and recurring allusions to astrology stand as pivotal elements of the brand, effectively mirrored in the sonic tapestry of the project.
Additionally, the songwriting through the project is sublime. The ideas are clearly expressed and also tie back to the central theme of the EP. This is a coherent project. Nigerian audiences can be discerning when artists, (like Wizkid, Asake, and Omah Lay,) consistently stick to a specific “template” in terms of both lyrics and sound. However, versatility and depth can exist within a subject matter and musical style. Cosmic EP is a testament to this fact as Söulaar explores different dimensions of “love and relationships.”
With that said, it will be great to see Söulaar experiment expansively on future projects and releases. Nonetheless, this is a solid debut from an exciting artiste, delivered with skill and intention.