SoMo is an American singer-songwriter hailing from Texas and known for the cover singles he performs along with his original songs. Born as the eldest son to a family with a musician father, SoMo had a very difficult beginning. Owing to his music career, his father was not around too much when SoMo was a child and that led him to have sort of a lonely childhood. Worse was seeing his mother going through the hardships of bringing the kids up all by herself. SoMo first came to prominence when he took the path of YouTube to gain fame. He started uploading covers of famous songs by Drake, Chris Brown and the Weeknd. For the next two years, he amassed a large fan following on YouTube and went on signing a record deal with Republic Records, which kick-started his musical career. In April 2014, he came ahead with his self titled debut album to a critical and commercial success. In the next few years, he released several instalments of his mix-tape ‘My Life’ along with a studio album ‘The Answers’. He embarked on a national tour to promote his second album and announced that it was the arrival of his ‘era’.
Childhood & Early Life
SoMo was born Joseph Anthony Somers-Morales on September 11, 1987 in Austin, Texas to a musician father and a homemaker mother as the oldest child. His father worked as a musician and kept travelling around, causing his childhood to become part lonely. His mother went through quite a lot of trouble bringing up two kids mostly alone. As he grew up further, he started drifting towards music but never quite took it seriously.
SoMo started taking music a little bit more seriously when he was in the seventh grade. One of his female classmates wrote him a note and called him JoSoMo endearingly, which SoMo happened to like. He made it his internet username for several websites and thought that it would be cool stage name if he was a musician. He was good in academics and seeing his father struggling very hard to make it as a musician made SoMo aware of the hardships he must go through if he decided to go that way.
He never took any professional lessons in music and sang just for the fun of it. But his mother sensed a natural talent in her son and gifted him a piano in 2008, which got SoMo hooked to it for a year. By the end of 2010, SoMo decided that he will try to make music and YouTube seemed to be the best option to go about sharing his music. Several struggling musicians were uploading their covers of popular songs on YouTube and attaining fame.
In 2009, SoMo decided that he would be recording a cover song on his friend’s laptop and if he refused, SoMo would give up on his musical dreams. But the fate intervened and SoMo ended up recording the song and after it was uploaded on YouTube, it blasted in a few months’ time, launching SoMo’s career.
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Chris Brown was SoMo’s favourite musician and he chose his song ‘Crawl’ to be his first cover to be uploaded on YouTube. The song was uploaded in 2009 and launched SoMo’s career right away. It amassed more than 13,000 views within the first week of getting uploaded, which was a major feat for a young artist such as him. One other artist that inspired him was Drake and SoMo released his medley of tracks from Drake’s album ‘Take Care’ on the same day as the release of the original album.
The subscribers kept piling up on his YouTube channel and he experienced a local fame which he had never imagined, further giving him enough confidence about his music. But even after he crossed 1,00,000 subscribers on his channel, he was still not sure about a professional career in music. Around 2011, he started writing original songs and ‘Back to the Start’ was one of the very first original songs that he uploaded on YouTube. Although it received a little backlash from his fans owing to the ‘sex fuelled’ lyrics, the single went on receiving a respectable number of views.
By early 2013, SoMo had started working on his debut mix-tape as a singer-songwriter and recorded the tape in a studio with the intent of uploading it on YouTube. In the mix-tape SoMo took a major risk of blending hip-hop with pop soul and he released the mix-tape in September that year. He was unaware that Republic Records had been tracking him for some time and when he released ‘My Life’, and it received a great response on YouTube, SoMo was contacted by the label.
In October 2013, SoMo joined republic records and that marked the beginning of his professional musical career. Republic re-released the mix-tape ‘My Life’ digitally in November 2013 and it reached the 24th spot in the US Heatseekers chart, which was not a bad start at all. The album slowly gained attention and as it talked about SoMo’s real life experiences with women and life in general, it became a rage among the youngsters.
SoMo made his debut on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with a single from his debut mix-tape titled ‘Ride’. It peaked at the 76th spot on the chart, which was a good start for a debutante. By the end of the year, signed under Republic, SoMo started working on his debut self titled album. He announced the release of his album officially in February 2014 and the album ‘SoMo’ was released in April 2014.
The album was partly produced by Mic Schultz and debuted on the sixth spot of the Billboard 200 chart, which was a big deal. This led SoMo to further become confident about his music and as he had hit the mainstream market by then, his YouTube fan following had also increased manyfolds. Soon after the release of his debut album, SoMo embarked on back to back national tours.
In September 2015, SoMo released his second mix-tape titled ‘My Life II’. By this time, he had become a professional musician and that professionalism showed in his work. The mix-tape featured some more mature themes about his love life. But it still had some raunchy singles such as ‘Make up Sex’ and ‘Bad Chick’.
By the end of 2015, SoMo hinted that he was working on his sophomore studio album and released some singles prior to its release. The singles from the album such as ‘Control’, ‘First’ and ‘Play’ featured several other artists and attained a moderate critical and commercial acclaim.
In February 2017, SoMo made the official announcement about his second album and revealed the title to be ‘The Answers’. The album was made open for pre-order on the very same day as the announcement was made and another single ‘Just a Man’ was also released. The album could not gather enough momentum prior to its release and when it got released in March 2017, it was practically non-existent from the major US charts.
In September 2017, SoMo released the third instalment of his mix-tape, titled ‘My Life III’. By then, SoMo had established his very own record label and he released the mix-tape under his very own newly established SoMo label and LLC.
Ever since he made it big, SoMo has seen the dream of winning a Grammy Award. He has been invited to the award ceremony quite a few times, but he has yet to win a nomination.