For those in the know, London-born Balbriggan native Soulé – Samantha Kay to her parents – has been threatening to become a very major artist for sometime.
Hit single ‘Love Tonight’, launched early last year, has millions of streams and is a regular on almost every major Irish radio station. She’s appeared at the 3Arena and her social media does serious numbers. Perhaps most of all, though, her song appeared alongside every Love Island episode for a huge chunk of last summer, gathering hours of prime time play as part of a fashion advert.
“The Love Island placement really did a lot for me,” she remembers. “It was on every ad break for two or three months, and it definitely boosted the track. People were hearing it, but a lot of people assumed it was an American artist. I thought it was amazing. It doubled the number of streams, with radio boosting it too.”
“The dream was to have the song actually on Love Island, but that would be once. To have it on an ad every ad break was much better. At first it was cringey, but after a while I just got so excited about it, with the tweets going crazy all the time.”
Soulé might be flying now, but she finds some of her roots in the local Foroige club, where she spent a lot of her time collaborating with Farah Elle, who has also gone on to be something of a local rising star.
“We were in Foroige Balbriggan, there wasn’t a sort of music thing that they had, and my friends and I were very into that kind of thing, drums, guitar, dancing, singing,” Soulé recalls. “Our mentor there was an Irish rapper called Messiah J, an amazing guy, and he gave us loads of advice on recording, stuff like that.”
“They got in Mac computers and we’d sit in and do lessons on how to record on a program called Garage Band. We got gigs, too, as they learnt how much we loved music and started bringing it in as part of what they did. I really got my first experience of doing gigs really young as part of Foroige. I’m not sure I even processed what I was doing, but I’m very grateful. I learnt a lot about collaboration, about being a musician, and about getting on stage. It was an amazing experience.”
Yet to launch an album, but expected to make a huge impact when she does, Soulé is mostly enjoying the ride at the moment.
“It’s the craziest thing for me,” she says. “Being independent and being able to reach these numbers, I never expected it to happen. When I started in 2016 with stuff like ‘Love No More’, it was a really big thing to break 5,000 streams. To be on seven figures now just seems so far fetched, as an independent Irish artist. I never processed it in my head until someone said it recently, but it adds up to every person in Ireland.”
“It’s not about the numbers, of course, but it is something that keeps me going, the idea that people are listening and love my music. It’s why I look at those numbers and shout them out on my social media.”
“I love adding different sounds and different people into my stuff, or my genre into their stuff. It’s great when completely different styles of artists can come together and make things work. It’s been a great part of my journey, and then there’s the friendship, too. It’s really important.”
It might be a little while before Soulé moves past her infectious, hook-laden singles, but watch this space.