Meet Souly Had: An Aquarius on a Mission to Send a Message of Love
Written by Rianne Akindele on September 25, 2019
We caught up with 22-year old Harrison McQueeny, who performs under the name Souly Had, for a quick chat about what he’s been up to since signing a record deal with Island Records. The introverted R&B singer/rapper, has certainly been keeping busy with the release of his EP B.L.I.S.S. solidified and an upcoming fall tour underway.
R: What have you been up to these days?
Souly: I just got back from LA a couple of days ago. It was just a month of working and making a bunch of super fire tracks. I’m excited to be back home though to just chill for a bit though.
R: So, where did the name Souly Had come from?
Souly: I used to go by “Haddy”, but I changed it to “Had”. Then I was like that’s boring and hard to find if you’re doing a search, so I just added Souly. It just randomly came to me.
R: How did you first get started with music?
Souly: My cousin used to play guitar all of the time at family reunions and play around a campfire fire – stuff like that. I finally got a guitar for my tenth birthday. I was super into Nirvana and AC/DC so I would try to learn all of their songs. When I was around fifteen, I got a hip-hop beat making machine. At that time I was just making beats and then the summer going in to eighth grade I made a whole song that I rapped over. It was honestly so bad which was funny because I thought I was so good at the time.
R: Who are your musical influences?
Souly: Mac Miller is a super big inspiration for me. Then, you know, Lil Wayne, Kendrick, J. Cole, Tyler, the Creator. All of those hip-hop guys for sure.
R: I read a little about the rap collective that you’re a part of called Entreband?
Souly: Yes, yes. So it’s pronounced like contraband, but instead it’s Entreband. So I lived in this town which is about fifteen minutes away from with the Entreband guys lived. There was this group of about four people who would just get together to rap and make music. My friend was like “You gotta come through and record some stuff”. Originally I started as a producer ‘cause I was whack at rapping. I’d just make my songs with empty verses for them to hop on.
R: How did you make that transition from producing with Entreband to creating your solo music?
Souly: Basically I just wasn’t going out to Rotterdam enough. There was this point when I was seventeen or eighteen where I just spent three months at home writing as much as I could. Just grinding it out. I wasn’t even really talking to my friends during this time. I had gotten better at rapping by this point, but I didn’t even know I could sing! Then, in eleventh grade, we had three snow days in a row and that’s when I started exploring my voice and made the Snow Day EP. That’s also when people started listening and I was getting feedback too, so it got some people talking.
R: That’s awesome. I love how you made an EP during those three days. It kind of reminds me of Chance the Rapper with 10-Day and Acid Rap. It becomes almost like a period piece because you’re getting everything out in a short amount of time.
Souly: Yea, exactly. That makes it a super cohesive piece too.
R: Tell me a bit about how you got signed to Island Records?
Souly: About six months ago I was looking around at a bunch of labels. I went to the Island office and everyone was super close knit. It felt like everyone was really working together. As a new artist, I didn’t want to just get swept under the rug.
R: How has your music making process changed after signing, especially as I noticed you produce some of your own songs?
Souly: It has changed a lot. I’m trying a lot of new things. Like these days I’ll hop in the studio with people I don’t know to make a record. It’s cool though because I can also wok with people who I’ve heard about through the grapevine. Like I just linked up and worked with someone who has produced for Amine.
R: So, you have a song titled “Aquarius“, but I wanted to know if you are actually an Aquarius?
Souly: Yea, I really am an Aquarius. I somewhat believe in astrology. I definitely don’t not believe it, but I don’t live by it.
R: I noticed you have a good amount of songs about love. Is that a big part of your life and where you get your song inspiration from?
Souly: That’s definitely my main focus. The first song I have that popped off is a love song which was crazy at the time. So I have kind of stuck with that. I’m also just an emotional person so I can write and talk so much about love. That’s why the EP is called B.L.I.S.S. It’s an acronym for “ Because Love Is So Special”.
R: After this release, what else can we expect from you this year?
Souly: We definitely have a ton more music that’s already ready to go. I’ll also be going on a U.S. tour with 12AM and Foggie Raw. Just check my Instagram for updates!