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The High Key Portrait Series: Ivy Sole

Ivy Sole | photo by Josh Pelta Heller for WXPN

High Key” is a series of profiles conceived with the intent to tell the story of Philly’s diverse musical legacy by spotlighting individual artists in portrait photography, as well as with an interview focusing on the artist’s experience living, creating, and performing in this city. “High Key” will be featured in biweekly installments, as the series seeks to spotlight artists both individually and within the context of his or her respective group or artistic collective.

This past September, Ivy Sole played a set at Philly Music and Arts Fest at World Cafe Live that showcased best the talent and skill that she’s honed for engaging her audience. Closing that night with “Life,” a track that’s maybe her best-known to date, the artist modulated several times from theatrical gesticulations to rap verses, and slipped seamlessly into song for her choruses too, a swaying audience in tow.

In this interview, recorded earlier that evening, the 24-year-old artist describes her relationship with the performing arts, and how a background with spoken word poetry may have informed the arc of her artistic development, ultimately lending an element of effortless elegance to her stagecraft.

Having returned from show dates in Berlin and London, and with a new EP out recently, Ivy Sole looks toward a full-schedule though this year, with a focus on video production and a new full-length on the horizon too.  Continue reading →

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Cayetana, Ivy Sole and more to play a free fall gig at Villanova’s WXVU

Cayetana | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

There’s a gig happening at Villanova later this month that’s well worth a Thursday night trek out to the suburbs. The folks at the university’s radio station, WXVU, along with the Campus Activities Team, have put together a college show cooler than most college shows with a super-stacked lineup of Philly favorites.

The free gig features a real variety of Philly artists, from DIY four-piece Soft Idiot to psych-blues power trio Ill Fated Natives, singer / songwriter-meets-electropop outfit Aphra to rapper Ivy Sole. Stepping into the headlining slot are punk faves Cayetana, who self-released their incredible sophomore album New Kind of Normal earlier this year and recently tore up the stage at Philly Music Fest. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Ivy Sole

West Philadelphia’s Ivy Sole is having a busy year, and she’s pretty happy about it.

After a steady run making records flavored with dreamy hip-hop production, pointed rhymes and melodic vocal hooks, the Charlotte transplant’s two-part release this year — the East EP, which caught our ear this winter, and its summertime companion West — got a flurry of attention from the music sphere. Outlets like Paste and NPR Music were finding out what the folks at Vibe and The Source had been hip to for the better part of a year, and by summer, Ivy Sole was on tour on the west coast, opening sows for Rag’n’Bone Man.

Her appeal is pretty clear: the production, a soundtrack-y pastiche of soul and electropop tapestries, is instantly likable, and lyrically it’s some of the most honest music out there. Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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Ivy Sole gets honest on socially-conscious, self-aware track “Rooftop”

Ivy Sole | photo by Araba Ankuma | courtesy of the artist
Ivy Sole | photo by Araba Ankuma | courtesy of the artist

Ivy Sole, friends. If you have not yet become acquainted with this Philly rapper’s beautiful, conscious lyricism and easy-going yet meticulous beats, you’ve got some required listening to do. Especially her single, “Rooftop,” which is a new track off her upcoming EP, WEST, out on July 26th. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Aphra, Ivy Sole and Cheeky will play The Key’s Philly Showcase at MilkBoy in August

Aphra | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com
Aphra | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

This summer, we’re bringing some of our favorite local artists to the stage of MilkBoy in Center City for The Key’s Philly Music Showcase. Last month, we announced the inaugural gig on July 26th — a rock-forward lineup featuring Resilient, Honeytiger and The Vernes. Today, we bring you the lineup for show number two, which veers in an electropop / R&B / hip-hop direction.
Continue reading →

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Watch Ivy Sole’s moving new music video for “Life”

Ivy Sole | photo by Araba Ankuma | courtesy of the artist
Ivy Sole | photo by Araba Ankuma | courtesy of the artist

Philly rapper Ivy Sole made a big impression on us this year with her candor, her sincerity, her knack for introspective self-reflection and, most of all, her skill on the mic and in the studio. Today, a new music video from Ivy Sole’s East EP premiered on NPR music, and it shows another side of the Philly artist still — one who advocates for positive mental health through powerful storytelling.

The video was inspired by a friend of Sole’s who took his own life during her sophomore year at the University of Pennsylvania, and the narrative follows the story of a man waking up in a bathtub, finding a farewell note and quite literally chasing his demons out in the world in the hopes of reeling them in. The message is echoed in the hook, an acknowledgement of the ups and downs of our day to day: “Life is wonderful, and terrible / But it’s beautiful, and love’s the same.” Continue reading →

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Vibing Out With Ivy Sole: A conversation with one of Philly’s most exciting new MCs

Ivy Sole | photo by Araba Ankuma | courtesy of the artist
Ivy Sole | photo by Araba Ankuma | courtesy of the artist

One of the best ways for an artist to create a vibe with their music is by allowing their listeners to enter their world. The feeling become genuine when the listener obtain the artist’s perspectives, stories, and even their moods. To do that the artist mustn’t be hesitant to be personable with their music. That’s exactly why Ivy Sole an artist that the city of Philadelphia should look out for.

Whether she’s getting busy on the mic or creating soulful melodies, the Charlotte, North Carolina native hip hop artist always finds ways to bring her listeners into her universe. I was recently able to sit down with the local MC to discuss her introduction to hip hop, her debut project Eden, her recent followup EP East, and her upcoming performance at Underground Arts’ International Women’s Day benefit, which is happening tomorrow evening.  Continue reading →

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Underground Arts to host International Women’s Day benefit, featuring Louie Louie, Ivy Sole, Queen of Jeans, Harmony Woods and more…

Ivy Sole | photo courtesy of the artist
Ivy Sole | photo courtesy of the artist

This International Women’s Day — Wednesday, March 8th — Underground Arts will host a benefit concert featuring Louie Louie, Queen of Jeans, Ivy Sole, Grayling, and many more. The event will benefit the new Crossroads Women’s Center, a community based self-help space. You can find a full lineup of the fifteen, possibly sixteen (wink, wink)  bill below. Then, head over to XPN’s Concert Calendar for tickets and more information. Continue reading →

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Meet local rapper Ivy Sole, stream her new East EP

Ivy Sole | photo courtesy of the artist
Ivy Sole | photo courtesy of the artist

Penn graduate and Charlotte, NC transplant Ivy Sole is setting her musical roots firmly in Philadelphia with the release of her East EP, a sophomore follow-up to last year’s Eden full-length debut. The rapper / songwriter has an explosive but completely cool sound that seamlessly blends classic tones with contemporary production and sampling, peppering orchestral accents, archival audio clips, and shout outs to memories of growing up throughout the six track album.

Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Cheeky at Johnny Brenda’s, Brutal Measures at PhilaMOCA

Cheeky | photo via chheeky.bandcamp.com

After slaying The Key’s Philly Music Showcase with Ivy Sole and APHRA a couple months back, ambient electro-pop artist Cheeky will be wrapping her gauzy sounds around Johnny Brenda’s tonight. Listen to her ethereal new track, “mon cheri” below, then check out more details on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →