Words: Gery Hristova
In 2021, the UK rap and grime scene is more popular than ever, inspiring people from every part of the globe. BIMM London’s Anthony Soltvedt, also known as Tonyy, is a new artist making a name in the scene. The Cardiff-based rapper just self-released his first solo album ‘Synesthesia’. “This is a very healing album for me” he says as talks to LDN Magazine about his new project, inspirations, hopes and dreams.
Firstly, tell us a little bit about yourself?
“My name is Anthony Soltvedt. I was born in Wales to a family of Somalian mother and Norwegian father. It’s definitely a bit of an abstract, diverse mix. I’ve been making music since the age of 13. I was in youth club studios and bands and I’ve always had this thing on the back of my mind that I really need to make music. That idea kept me up at night.”
Can you recall the first time you knew that you wanted to become an artist?
“When I was 12, I used to steal, not exactly steal… [laughs] let’s start over again. When I was 12, I used to take my sister’s laptop and watch YouTube videos, mainly UK rap and any music that I could find. I told myself that this was something I could do, this is something that I want to pursue in life. At that age, I was enjoying it, but I didn’t know why. As time progressed, it was everything I wanted to be. In school, when they’re asking me what I wanted to do once I graduated, I was too shy and embarrassed to tell them that I wanted to make music, because some people didn’t look at it as a real career. However, I always knew I wanted to pursue a career as a rapper.”
“In school I was too shy to say that I wanted to make music, but deep down I always knew I wanted to pursue a career as a rapper.”
Why did you choose the name ‘Synesthesia’ for your first album?
“The title has a really personal meaning. Everyone from my family, from my mother to my sisters, have their own mental issues. I just asked myself, ‘What was my thing?’ It didn’t [kind of] make sense when it came around, but I remember just looking at music-related illnesses and [the word] ‘synesthesia’ came up. The concept of synesthesia is being able to see sound and see the colours of it. I think the project is very colourful and there’re a lot of different moments on it. So it fitted perfectly.”
If you could use only a few words to define your music, what would they be?
“Colourful, emotional and sexy.”
“I wanted people to relate to my music and show them the more personal side of me. I want my songs to touch as many people as they can.”
How long did it take you to record the album?
“I started working on it in 2019. I went to Berlin and I stayedthere with my friend for two months. It was very inspiring. We made some music together. We performed a lot and we shot a music video. It was like a joint enterprise. But, then I went back to UK and I felt low and down, because I was in heaven in Berlin. [There] I was doing anything I wanted and then I’vestarted working away at it. The project was written and it was finished by March 2020, but I couldn’t make it mixed and mastered, because of the lockdown and all the studios being shut. So I let go of it but it was finished musically since October 2020. However, then we had to make the graphic design. I’m not a very visual person, I like music and writing. To me, the graphics were just waiting. But, everything came out when it was supposed to come out.”
Did you face any difficulties during the process of recording?
“Nothing too difficult. When I’m in a flow state with music I don’t think about it. I just feel it. Probably, the only issues that I had is when one of my friends, who produced the song ‘Reply’, sent me the wrong beat. Everything was not on the right timeline. That situation showed me to not put dates on things. Don’t ever say that you’re going to have this ready by then, because you’re creating something that’s like your child.”
Is this the first time using your music to talk about allthe struggles that you faced through the years?
“I guess, when I’m doing features, I can’t be crying on the microphone or really expressing myself to the fullest. Rap musicis all about being competitive and showing what you can do. Butwith this project that I’ve made I was able to create exactly what I wanted. It’s mine, I’m in control. I never even spoke aboutcreating a song that should sound on a certain way. I don’t want to be crying over anyone else’s song. I wanted people to relate to my music and show them that side of me, the more personal one. I want my songs to touch as many people as they can.”
Why did you decide to feature another artist [Andrew Ogun] in your song ‘Bugs Life’?
“Originally, he wasn’t on the song. We had a rule, the first of our individual projects should have no features. We have to hold it on our own. But what he did on that outro of the song, where it was originally me, while we’re getting the song through the process of creation, our engineer suggested to change a part of the track. So, we switched my part with his [Ogun]. We definitely broke the rule but the track sounds great. Ogun added a little bit of flavour to it. Even though there’s only one real feature I like to think that there are many other voices on the project. For example, on ‘Adele’ you have my niece on the background, on ‘X’ you have that heavy sample, or I used my voice but pitched on the track ‘Vulnerable’.”
“With ‘Vulnerable’, the title speaks for itself. But you can dance and move to it. It tells you that you can still move on the vibe of the song, even if you don’t feel great.”
Do you have any new music prepared to be released?
Yes and no. Part of me is telling me to go with the flow. But, my best friend Ogun and I want to do a joint project. I really want to bring two worlds together and see what will come of this. We both do so many different things. However, right now, what I should be doing is to make a prolific amount of music. I should be writing and recording, just perfecting my craft to the fullest. Everything has its own time.
What this album means to you and are there any hidden messages that you’re trying to send with you music?
It’s an introduction to my career. It’s a very healing album to me.I truly love it. I just wanted to be able to make personal music. Songs that people can enjoy. I didn’t want to be making sad songs, people to cry to. One of the singles, ‘Vulnerable’, you can see how the title speaks for itself. But, once you listen to the song, you can dance and move to it. It tells you that you can still ‘move’ on the vibe of the song, even if you don’t feel great. I want everyone to be happy and do whatever they came on this Earth to do. On the same way like me, when I started making music. The simpler you make my life, the better it is.
Hear ‘Synesthesia’ here: