Artist Interview: Sol Development

Sol Development

SOL Development, a hip-hop/jazz/soul ensemble based out of Oakland, California, describes their music as the soundtrack to the movement for justice, freedom, and hope. Their jazzy, souful tracks are punctuated by sharp lyricism evoking themes that resonate, inspire, and provoke.

Stern Grove Festival commissioned the group to create a new work (titled “Our Joy”) to premiere at their performance at the Grove on August 5, 2018. The group, featuring Karega Bailey, Brittany Tanner, Lauren Adams, and Felicia Gangloff-Bailey, shared some of their thoughts with us about creating this new work.

How would you describe your music?

Our music can be best be described as Black American Music or BAM.

How does living in the Bay Area shape or affect your music?

The Bay Area has shaped our showmanship greatly, in that when we deliver our liberating truth, we know that there are people out in the audience who the message resonates with. However, what’s most powerful is that the audience doesn’t look one way. Multiple races, multiple presentations, multiple cultures, and multiple generations are present in our audience, and they all feel it. And because they feel it, we feel it. And we carry a little bit of Oakland with us wherever we go.

Tell us a bit about your creative process.

Our inspiration can come from so many different experiences. A conversation amongst one another, a conversation with an elder, or Lauren or Felicia may come up with a melody on the piano and the crew will begin to fill in the words

Our process often begins on piano, or someone in the crew might have some lyrics they want to share and we begin to add to it.

The hardest part about creating something new is knowing when it’s done. Artists, sometimes, have difficulty in the post-production portion because we always hear what could be done different, or better.

Read more about SOL Development in their interview with KQED.


Interplay – Hieroglyphics

Hieroglyphics logo

Hieroglyphics is an Oakland-based musical collective of underground hip-hop artists whose individual careers skyrocketed in the early 90’s, but later came together to form their own group and hip hop recording label to take control of their careers. Since its evolution in 1997, Hieroglyphics has matured into a preeminent force in the american hip hop scene and is one of the most prolific groups that hails from the Bay Area. As a participating act in this season’s local artist commission series, members of the 9-piece Hiero crew came together to create a new song inspired by the theme “Interplay: In Concert with Nature”. The piece will debut this Sunday, July 3, on stage at Stern Grove Festival.

We were invited to visit and interview original Hiero members Casual and Phesto Dee (also of Souls of Mischief) at their Oakland warehouse and recording space. Listen below for their perspectives on being an artist in the Bay Area, performing at Stern Grove Festival, and what words of advice they have for young musicians.