The music portion of Austin’s South by Southwest festival starts next week, and the city is getting two healthy doses of Sacramento.
Yes, TBD Fest is curating the largest unofficial showcase coinciding with SXSW, TBD Austin. But it’s Sol Collective that’s getting the royal treatment: after three years attending SXSW, Sol Collective earned an official showcase with two stages in a 500-person capacity venue on Saturday, March 21.
Hip-hop and global music styles will dominate, with three local artists—Native Children, Dre-T and World Hood—as well as a mix of national and international musicians. The Sol stage will offer tropical, Afro-Latin and other experimental, cross-cultural rhythms, while the Life stage will primarily showcase honest hip-hop. But most excitingly, it’ll launch Sol Collective’s record label Sol Life.
You might be thinking, “But hasn’t Sol Life been around a while?” Yes, it has. Local rappers Dre-T and Luke Tailor dropped their albums last year via Sol Life, but with this launch, Sol Life will be an official thing on an international level.
Dre-T, Luke Tailor, World Hood and Seti X, a Los Angeles-based hip-hop artist, comprise Sol Life’s current roster. The next wave will be announced this summer. Sol Collective director Estella Sanchez expects to sign four or five artists—some local, some not—every few months or so. Already, Sol Life has piqued the interest of musicians as far as New York and Toronto.
Why is Sol Life so exciting? In Sanchez’s words, it’s “reimagining the record label through the eyes of the artist.” That means the artist’s needs come first—like, actually come first. It’s a co-op style of business, with the artists having real input and decision-making powers. Traditional roles are gone, and instead, it’s all hands on deck for booking, managing and developing artists.
“Everybody is working on everybody’s projects—shared resources, shared contacts, shared networks,” Sanchez said.
In terms of sound, Sanchez said Sol Life is drawn to music that shares the artist’s cultural heritage and spreads empowering social and political messages.
“We really want to promote voices we feel are important to our communities, and amplify them,” she said.