Auckland, New Zealand may not be the first place I would think of for a meld of R&B, Latin, hip-hop, jazz, and neo-soul. However, thanks to Mark Spraggon, leader of the band Sola Rosa, that can be the case. Spraggon has been making music as Sola Rosa, first as a one-man band, but now as a true functioning band for over fifteen years. Admittedly, I have not heard much of the early work, though quite a bit of it is available on the streaming services. Recently though, the band re-appeared on my radar thanks to the new single “Back To You,” which features Noah Slee on vocals.
Yesterday I received an email from the band alerting me to the new music, as well as a UK tour that is in the works. I think it’s highly unlikely I’ll make any of the shows on the tour, but I can certainly enjoy the music, and I do like this. Slee’s vocal is on point, which reinforces the critical perception that Spraggon knows how to get the right vocalist to sing on his tracks. As good as the vocal is, the music is what draws me in. The beat makes my head nod and my shoulders shrug, which is always a good sign.
The band’s previous single, “So Fly” has a definite hip-hop feel, thanks again to the beat, and the vocals of Kevin Mark Trail. Released last summer, it only appeared to me while searching for “Back To You.” The refrain “baby you can boogie with me,” sticks with me throughout the song. Take a listen to this groove and see if you don’t nod your head a bit.
I haven’t been able to determine if these two songs will end up on the band’s eighth album, or are just some one-off singles to keep the band in the public eye. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for a new album, but if one doesn’t materialize right away, I’ll have all the older music to go back to and discover. Incidentally, the one song I had heard from Sola Rosa came years ago. It was a tune called “Promise” and featured Olivier Daysoul on vocals.
I hope you give a listen and enjoy the tunes from New Zealand’s Sola Rosa and the mind of Mark Spraggon. As always, thanks for listening and reading.