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April 17, 2014 | 12:00 a.m. CST
SoMo’s newest hit single, “Ride,” is a smooth and snappy R&B confection. Accompanied by a risqué music video of gleaming bodies and modern beach houses, you might suspect this music came from Miami or Los Angeles. Instead, it hails from the dusty midway point: Austin, Texas.
SoMo (whose full name is Joseph Somers-Morales) was influenced by the vibrant musical landscape of Austin, one of the premier alternative rock scenes in the U.S. But the melodies he heard at his home were even more instrumental to his development as an artist. SoMo’s father was a professional musician and saxophonist in a jazz group called Duck Soup. “There was always music in our house,” he recalls. “My father was something of a virtuoso in several instruments, and he was a big influence on me when I was younger.”
Where: The Blue Note
When: April 24, 8 p.m.
Despite being surrounded by jazz and rock, it was hip-hop and R&B that sparked SoMo’s true enthusiasm. “I’m definitely R&B-driven,” he says. “I like the old-school ’90s hip-hop and pop elements.”
Like so many modern pop startups, SoMo found his initial success online. His YouTube channel, TheMrSoMo, generated immense hype in 2011 when he produced a medley of Drake songs based on the rapper’s Take Care album. Putting a more sensual and glossy take on all of the album’s tracks helped the video garner almost 4 million views, and soon SoMo’s channel became one of the go-to hip-hop sites on the Internet, and in 2012, SoMo released his first mixtape, “My Life.”
The constant flow of quality material on his channel has ramped up his fanbase. “I first found out about him through a friend who saw him on YouTube, and I just got hooked from then on,” local fan Bri Shumate says. “His sound stands out.”
With his online followers and a just-released self-titled second album, SoMo is poised for success in 2014. He’ll be doing scattered shows and festivals throughout the spring and summer, including Summerfest in Milwaukee before launching a tour this fall.
When questioned about the success of his latest offering, he is determined but modest. “I’ve really gained a wide fanbase all across the country,” SoMo says. “It all started with that first mixtape, and the rest is all fate, as they say.”
"Drake - Take Care (Medley)" by SoMo & Cody Tarpley
"Miguel - Simplethings (Rendition)" by SoMo