Checking In With... Ivy Sole - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

In times of crisis, it’s more important than ever to check in on your friends and loved ones. Here at XPN, we’re Checking In With our extended musical family to see how they’re holding up during the Coronavirus quarantine…and what music has kept them grounded. Today, Rahman Wortman chats with Ivy Sole.

We’re in the fourth month of the Coronavirus quarantine, but Ivy Sole tells us she’s feeling good despite the uncertainty of the times. “This is a very very very different time than anybody’s been in,” she said in our Checking In conversation. “So I’m feeling thankful to be in a position where I can sustain myself and be creative.”

We talked about her time making music in Philly, and the camaraderie she’s found with local underground and independent artists like Franky Hill and Kingsley Ibeneche, which she says are her favorite parts of being a performer. “I thought it would be opening for X, Y or Z, or playing The Roots Picnic one day, but the more beautiful moments of my career are the quote unquote smaller moments.”

She talks about “Elevator Girl,” the song she recently collaborated on with British singer Shura. “She’s an outstanding mind, a great personality, a joy to work with,” says Ivy. “Shura hit me with a song and I turned it around in a day.”

She also shares her thoughts about being vulnerable on the mic, something that was a huge component of her 2018 album Overgrown, and she talks about why it’s so much easier to be vulnerable in songs versus real life. “In music, I can work at it until I’m comfortable,” she says. “I write lyrics and I can edit those lyrics till they turn out right. In real life, you have one opportunity to work on it. Sometimes it’s one conversation, split second decisions and emotions, that’s way scarier to me then writing about damn near anything.” 

At the top of this month, Ivy Sole released her latest single, “Bittersweet.” All proceeds from sales on Bandcamp will go towards Black women experiencing housing instability. She speaks about the song extensively in our conversation, and shares advice for everyone as COVID continues: take as much rest as you need during this time. “If you’re anything like me, you can’t sit still, and this is a perfect time to practice.”

Listen to Ivy Sole’s full Checking In conversation and check out her song picks below.

Checking In With Ivy Sole

Favorite Song of All Time:  “Complexity” by The Roots featuring Jill Scott

“Black Though really shines on it, and Jill Scott too. I think Black Thought is top two and not two, as far as rappers are concerned, between him and Phonte, those two are people I look to for inspiration. It’s something that’s comforted me a lot in recent era. I’ve been bumping it a lot. It’s familiar but it feels really fresh.”

Song that Raises Your Spirits: “Sudden Death” by Quelle Chris

“It makes you feel lighter. I think that’s what they were playing with while they made the song: a really bouncy track called “Sudden Death,” talking about really heavy stuff. It’s gorgeous. Huge fan.”

Song You’re Most Proud of Working On:  “Bittersweet” by Ivy Sole

“‘Bittersweet’ manifests in 2020 by knowing that the world is changing, trying to find my place in how it’s changing, and trying to make the best of my place in how it’s changing. It obviously doesn’t feel the same; 2020 doesn’t feel like any other year I’ve experienced, but there are moments there’s such joy in the creative process, in being able to connect with friends and family in a different way. I’m trying to repair my relationship with my body, really being physically active for the sake of loving it, rather than it being ‘I need to lose X amount of pounds and look a certain way.’ Kind of reimaging my relationship with people, and to the environment, and to what life can look like as an artist. To me, ‘Bittersweet’ is [about how] we’re giving up a lot right now, we’re sacrificing a lot, and it’s for something that’s completely worth it. We’re sacrificing this so people can literally live. But it doesn’t change that it sucks to have to give things up that you wanted, or planned. So that’s the bitterness: oh darn, that this doesn’t exist for me in the way that I’d known it. But there’s something extremely sweet about being able to imagine a world that’s better than we have, and working towards that. And it’s really special to me because it’s the first time I’ve ever produced and engineered myself, so it’s all me on production, all me on mixing, all me on mastering. I had an amazing time really digging in and getting better at that. I actually took a course with am amazing company called 343 Labs with my professor Abe Duque — amazing guy, wealth of knowledge — and I had another professor Justin Beck. Both of theme were outstanding. I gotta shout out also my brother Corey and my brother Ethan, being in the trenches with me and giving me feedback on my mixes. It was a lot of fun to bring this from idea to finished product.”

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