Back and ready to attack the music scene once more; Soja has recently released their 7th album, “Born in Babylon.” With a form of Story telling techniques, and a first person perspective in the journey of life; the lyrics and vibe of this record are sure to satisfy. It’s no wonder, the single “I don’t wanna wait” is hugely popular and has introduced their harmonious sound to a number of new fans.
“It's just different. To me, it's us at our best. Better lyrics, bigger melodies, stronger music... But that's me.” Says a modest, Jacob Hemphill, Lead singer of Soja.
The music is raw, rugged, and real; with well trained musicians behind the magic. Soja is on top of their game. Substance flows through the music, and within it lies a message for the masses. Read on...
Veronica Barriga: For those who don’t know, what does the name, "Soja" represent/stand for?
Jacob Hemphill: Soldiers of Jah Army
VB: You guys are from Washington, D.C. which isn’t known for it's musical influence. Describe the music scene there, when you first started the band?
Jacob: DC is mostly hardcore and punk; Bad Brains, Fugazi, Minor Threat... (Although) they had good reggae too when we were growing up; Black Sheep, DKGB, Third Eye, Moja Nya...
VB: Did growing in D.C around that music influence your sound?
Jacob: I think so, but most of the artists we listened to were from Jamaica or New York at that time.
VB: You guys are different from most bands. Do you think music should always be “socially conscience?” Was your perspective always like that?
Jacob: People should sing about what they feel. It's just what we particularly feel. We weren't always, always like that. Bob and I used to do Wu-Tang (acts) for talent shows.
VB: You guys play a ton of live shows, what are some of the craziest things you have witnessed?
Jacob: People never cease to amaze me. Lots of people... Temporarily falling in love... Sometimes there are fights, but our fans always break them up. Makes me feel like we're doing something right.
VB: What’s the best way to get dreads like yours, without spending a ton of money?
Jacob: It's free... Just don't comb it, for fifteen years.
VB: You lived in Africa for a while. Describe that…..
Jacob: I was a kid. My dad was an IMF representative to Liberia. I want to go back someday and stay. It's the closest place to the earth, I think.
VB: You perform worldwide. What’s it like going to a country that may not speak English?
Jacob: At first frustrating. You start to realize that you have to have patience, which I never really had (to practice) before- so I'm thankful for the experience.
VB: Describe the band in 3 words…go!
Jacob: Same as ever.
VB:What’s your favorite song to perform & why?
Jacob: The latest one written which is now "Here I Am."
I begin to mention Bob Marley and like magic-Jacob shifts, it seems this is his favorite topic...
VB: If Bob Marley got to hear your sounds, what do you think he would say?
Jacob: We suck. I'm kidding... I know he wasn't too pumped on the police... well that's what people say... No, I think he'd dig it. He's my hero and I try to write universally, which he did perfectly. I hope he'd like us.
VB: Who do you dream about collaborating with & why?
Jacob: Paul Simon, because Bob Marley passed away. In the next life, Bob Marley.
VB: What is one thing, about you, which most people are shocked to hear?
Jacob: The band? Maybe that we all met in middle school? Or that we made it this far... As for me, I don't know. The band never ceases to amaze me. I can't believe we've been doing this since high school.
VB: What is the ultimate message you want to spread?
With no hesitation he speaks...
Jacob: Objective thinking and tolerance.
To find more of that, make sure to check out their lastest release:
For more info: Check out their Official Site
You know you wanna.......