HJ Soul - "The idea of love in this concept is that it is an illusion if it's a pretense, but real love is something that will help us grow as individuals." - Stereo Stickman

HJ Soul “The idea of love in this concept is that it is an illusion if it’s a pretense, but real love is something that will help us grow as individuals.”


Introducing his second EP from the summer, HJ Soul kindly stopped by to talk about the divine RnB project Illusions. We discuss the title, themes within, the pressures of a sophomore release, and plenty more. Here’s how it went.

* * *

HJ – thanks for the talk! For those who don’t know, what first inspired you to get into RnB and Soul Music, and what is it about this genre that draws such passion from you?

I’ve been heavily influenced by the charm of the 90s RnB era of music, and my new single that’s out this month in November, Girl On The Train, improvises the sound of that era, with a more modern RnB style to sound relevant for the sound of today’s music.

I also appreciate the style of clothing around that time, as well as the soulful sounds in the music, which must have made it feel like it was a special time to be alive in the music business. I have improvised my music from that era of nostalgic timeless sounds, which has inspired me to incorporate those sounds and instrumentation into my own music!

Huge congrats for the new EP – What does this project represent, and why the title Illusions?

The EP Illusions delves into the complexities of relationships, highlighting how unspoken expectations can complicate matters. Within the song lyrics, I subtly pronounce the subconscious desires and expectations that exist within relationships, often referred to as Illusions due to their unrealized nature. Beyond romantic love, I also explores a broader interpretation of love, talking about the importance of helping individuals realize their fullest potential in life, free of societal constraints.

With something for every kind of relationship or just appreciated for its sheer artistry, Friday Evening from the Illusions EP is certainly not a song to miss out on. I have also included another perspective of the concept of love within this EP, and how it can be interpreted in another way within life which has particularly been expressed within the words of the song See Through The Illusion.

Love could also be seen in a different light as well, and that can be through helping individuals to achieve their best potential in life without being controlled by the constraints of what their own particular societies of how life should be followed. The idea of ‘love’ in this concept is that it is an ‘illusion’ if it is a pretense, although ‘real love’ is something that will help us to grow as individuals.

Was there a level of pressure involved in releasing your second project, and if so, how did you overcome this and maintain authenticity during the creative process?

It was an absolute pleasure to create an EP with so much creativity and thought, where a love story could be told in so many different ways within each song which helped me maintain authenticity while creating this project. The romance that can go into a relationship can be complicated at times due to certain ‘so called’ expectations between each individual without the ability of being able to truly communicate those needs within the relationship itself, hence there were several ideas for the songwriting process for each song in the EP.

The words that I wrote within each song of the EP are actually subconscious feelings of these thoughts (expectations) between each individual of a potential love affair that could exist, that are merely Illusions at the moment (hence the name of the EP), although could exist if each individual within the relationship could surpass their own limiting boundaries and communicate their thoughts and needs, so that the ‘illusion’ of ‘separateness’ between each individual could perhaps instead manifest into a prospering relationship hence the creativity flowed well when making this EP. Some of the wording within the songs themselves almost tries to convey that this romantic bond is already there, through their subconscious body language expressing affection between each individual in the most elegant of ways.

What made you choose Wanna Feel Your Body as the single and leading video from the EP?

In general I felt the words that I wrote for each song in the EP told a different romantic story of where the individuals were in that relationship in that particular time, and I felt with the song Wanna Feel Your Body the words within the song allowed me to elaborate on the visions in my mind a little more than the other songs.

The verses within this song had the words that could tell a romantic story in a more visual way. For example, the line ‘Envisioned if you opened up the door’ and the lines that follow in the verse, created this cinematic effect where the anticipation of the romance is built up through each scene that follows next within the music video as the individuals start to get closer through the words of the song which was more easier to do with this song. It continues to make the audience wonder about the way the romance will evolve throughout each scene, and creates this wonder of where the music video will visually take you in the next scenes. This is especially at the key change at the end of the song, where the effects have been put in slow motion to work well with the key change near the end of the song.

How different is it to be performing your own songs exclusively when compared to your original success delivering classic covers?

I feel like I can connect to the words of the song more, as the lyrics of those songs have been written by myself as an artist, and so there’s more emotion that can go into singing your own songs live as they’re essentially your story told through the song. I like to be authentic with my music, and so singing my own song live is a way to get that authenticity across to my fans.

The only thing I would say about covering classics is that they’re more well known songs so singing them live is easier as the audience can connect with the songs more quickly, although I’d like to think that originality is what helps to make you have your own sound and be unique as a singer songwriter.

What’s changed for you since the release of Dream Of Your Soul, and what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about carving out a career within music?

Since writing my single Dream of Your Soul I’ve learned that music needs to have this feeling to it, as this song did, and so I wanted to create my newest project in a similar way as I think it’s important to express your individuality and uniqueness through your songs. As an aspiring musician, a career in music is difficult, but I would say continue with the process and don’t give up. There’s going to be many hurdles along the way where you feel like giving up, and although it’s natural to feel this way, continue with the grind and you’ll see results at the end if you have faith.

Where can fans catch you performing live in the coming months?

There’s not actually any planned dates as of yet, although I am going to try and get some shows in the new year, so watch this space to the potential fans out there!

* * *

Download or stream Illusions. Find HJ Soul on Facebook & Instagram.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *