Premiere: Meet newcoming star SODA and his new single, Time For That
The shimmering, hip-hop-infused number features vocals from his younger sister, mahni - keeping it a real family affair.
Over the years, we've had the privilege of introducing our fair share of names deemed worthy enough of being our next generation of pop music, often taking the genre and adding expert twists on it to create something forward-thinking and unique to Australia's market. It's something we've seen through the rise of 'traditional pop' names à la CXLOE and Troye Sivan, while artists including Donatachi - himself dropping a new single with Slayyyter today - push this to the next level in regards to creativity and futuristic sounds; taking on more of a bubblegum-pop-adjacent sound as he incorporates elements of PC music and club into his crafty hooks.
Arriving from the Central Coast's Terrigal, SODA is a name most definitely among these, but in a bit of a different way. On his new single Time For That, for example, he matches a clattering, percussion-led production with the soothing vocals of his sister mahni, finding a space not too far off from names like Kehlani and SZA as he adds a distinct hip-hop twist to his pop-centric sound, taking the accessibility and hooks you'd find from a pop single but mixing it up with a trap-like production that creates something unique. "We couldn't get started at first; we had serious writer's block," SODA says on the single. "We've written before a million times but I think we both felt some pressure because it was our first time recording properly and we wanted it to go well. After an hour of listening to the same loop, mahni just spits out this awesome hook and we keep it and finish the rest of the song that night. She's an incredible vocalist and songwriter and growing up together definitely makes the process feel very natural."
It's a brilliant introduction to an artist with the potential to dominate, finding the bridging point between two of music's most popular and current genres that if utilised correctly, sets him up nicely for a big year - and beyond. Listen to the track below, and better introduce yourself to SODA while you're at it:
Tell us about yourself?
My name’s Brae Luafalealo, but I go by the stage name SODA and I’ve been producing and recording my own songs for about three years now. I’m turning 21 this year which is so weird to me because I don’t even feel like I know how to do 20 properly quite yet. But I'm really enjoying this stage of life because I learn so much all the time and it’s an exciting area where anything is possible. I’ve grown up on the central coast my whole life and I love it here. There are also so many other talented people around and I’m only just starting to realise how densely populated the coast is with insane musicians and creatives.
What’s the vibe music-wise?
I grew up on a lot of music when I was younger, but my cousin (shout out Jared) showed me an Usher song called Something Special when it first came out and that seriously kicked me into the R&B/Hip-Hop world at a really young age. I stanned super hard over Kid Cudi’s Man On The Moon album and Ye’s 808’s and Heartbreak, and then obviously people like Ne-Yo, Chris Brown, Beyonce, were all massive at the time so they played a huge role from an early age. Right now, I really love Goldlink, Amine, Andre 3000, Ty Dolla $ign and Miguel and I think I found them all at the right time, because they’ve really influenced my super percussive & melodic approach to everything. I’d call my genre R&B-infused-Hip-Hop if I had to call it anything, but I don’t want to limit myself to any parameters.
What are your production and writing processes like?
I often start with chords or a loop and then some melodies usually come to me straight away. I find on most occasions that the first one I hear is the one I end up using. After that, I'll start writing lyrics and the first couple of lines will usually define what the song ends up being about. Sometimes if I’m co-writing, we’ll start with a concept and then push the song in that direction though. At other times, words and melodies just arrive at really random times like on the train or driving somewhere. My recent feature for Dyna-Mike, on a song called Bloom actually came to me while I was at work and I had to stop and pull my phone out to record the initial voice-memo (which sounds pretty similar to the finished product in hindsight). My voice memo’s and notes are in the hundreds if that’s any indication.
Can you tell us about your new single, Time For That?
I really love this song. mahni has an insane voice and it’s unfair, because her range and control is so mature and she can pretty much sing as low as me. She’s also my sister so I'm really glad that we could finally record something together. We made it at the Music Cellar studios here on the Central Coast which is owned by Rod McCormack and Gina Jeffreys who give us a lot of opportunities to use the space to record and experiment as artists, so we’re very lucky and very grateful to have that backbone of support. It’s a song inspired by the loyalty and selflessness that we have for each other as family and the ‘I would do anything for you' mentality that you have for the people in your life that you love. As you’ll probably hear, mahni’s part is in no way a feature, so we’re both primary artists on the song and it’s her debut into the music scene so we’re both really proud of the finished product. Her solo work isn’t out yet but it will blow you away.
Any tour dates coming up?
Not at this stage but there will definitely be some more live shows soon. Right now I’m super focused on finishing two EPs that I’ve got planned and they’ve got some really good songs with some really talented artists on them. I think they're really clear indicators to my creative influences and the way I think about things.
What does 2019 have in store for you?
I’ve got one more single after this song before I release the EP and lots and lots of exciting collaborations. I’ve been working with some talented artists and producers and I can’t wait for them to reach everyone’s ears. I’ve also been quietly producing some songs for other artists as well. I recently produced/mixed/mastered a song for Holly Allison which will be featured on a major TV show later this year so I’m celebrating the wins all the time whether they be big or small. I think it’s so important to do that as an artist because there are so many doubts that pop into your head (I suppose that’s also just a human thing in general). Especially being 20 right now, there are so many changes and lessons every day and particularly this year, I’ve learnt a lot about priorities, motivational factors and workflow. That’s what my EP is really focused on I guess; the highs and lows of adolescence. I love being 20. It’s really fun and challenging.
Where can we find more of your music?
You can find me on all major streaming services and on Instagram because I post lots of covers and snippets or just random videos of me being overtired in the studio at 2AM. I’m super excited for the rest of the year. Thank you for premiering such a special song! Me and mahni are so excited to see what people think.
Follow SODA: FACEBOOK