Momma raised me like
Sol’s a true shooting star. Raised by teachers to consider himself one, the Seattle wordsmith has toured the States and traveled the globe off the strength of his intellect. His music is a balancing act to behold. Watchful yet warm for someone so tuned to wrongdoings, he can consider the weight of the world with feather-light melody. With Stem royalty splits, he can even empower his loved ones—more on that later.
My godson, nine years old
No track of his embodies balance quite like “Freedom’s Song.” The heartwarming single is addressed to its maker’s nine-year-old godson by name, the future by proxy.
“People don’t know Freedom, but some now know what he means to me,” Sol tells Stem. “My goal for the song was to make it relatable to all mentor-to-mentee, generation-to-generation relationships.”
Sol knew some version of this song would exist since the day he became a godfather. As the two grew together, they grew closer. Shared memories and lots of love spilled out of Sol when he heard the chords that formed “Freedom’s Song,” an immediate trigger to relay the experiences and emotions that stem from a special bond.
“The whole song kind of wrote itself,” he says. “I’ve spent more and more time with Free as he gets older, and he’s entering that eight-to-18 stage that’s so important for young men. You have to be around consistently. Thinking about that turned into that song.”
You’re my hope, you’re my joy
Sol’s mission to move truth forward makes him special, going beyond deft rhymes and colorful arrangements. His music matters because it captures what matters to him. Mayor endorsements, government critiques, fundraisers benefitting police brutality victims—nothing is off the table, however uncomfortable the conversation around it. “Freedom’s Song” brings the focus back to the micro, to his own family.
“Freedom is someone who has experienced more strife than any nine-year-old should have to,” Sol says. “Real, hard things in life. And yet he’s been able to be a happy, good person and continue to be a kid. It inspires me. The way he views the world, his optimism, it’s so thoughtful.”
It’s mutual love—and mutual learning—on “Freedom’s Song.” Nine year olds can teach adults what no amount of schooling could rival, and Sol, wise enough to take note, honors that light.
I’ll give you all the profits
Freedom, too-smart-for-his-own-good smart, caught Sol off guard when he heard how dollars flowed through the music industry.
“He put it together and was like, ‘Oh, if you get paid every time someone streams your song, you owe me money for all the times I’ve listened!'” Sol remembers. “I was like, ‘Nah’ [Laughs]. We were clowning back in forth, but it planted the seed in my mind to help him earn something.”
A fan of his godfather and a numbers natural, Freedom went on to calculate the approximate income earned from his listening habits. Music fun and games didn’t stop there, either. Together, they’d practice lyric exercises, which soon became one of Freedom’s favorite activities.
“He’s really into writing parody songs,” Sol says of Freedom. “He told me he’s already writing a parody song of ‘Freedom’s Song,’ which is kind of like inception at that point because it’s a song about him. All of his parody songs are very funny. He’s obsessed with poop. You don’t have to include that [Laughs].”
After “Freedom’s Song” took shape, Sol soon wondered what could come of the track quite literally belonging to the person who inspired it. He also hoped to help his godson combat the ever-rising costs of college tuition. He found a solution in Stem royalty splits. Freedom is listed as the majority shareholder of the song’s master and composition; every month, money generated by the record rolls right into a college savings fund.
“Freedom has his own account on Stem, where he can access and see the numbers for how the song is doing,” Sol tells us. “The actual money goes into an account he won’t have access to until he’s 18. It’s specifically designated as a college fund. It’s a longer term savings account with better interest. If he wants to get the money for something else—look, he has to go to college [Laughs]. His mom will make sure of it.”
It’s a beautiful thing when one song contains the hopes, dreams and potential of two people. Knowing they’ll realize those aspirations together makes the journey, and this song, that much sweeter.