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Cleo Sol’s Award-Winning Journey Into Music [Featured Article]

Born Cleopatra Zvezdana Nikolic, but more commonly known as Cleo Sol. A singer, a songwriter and now a Mother, best known for her illusiveness and soulful sound. The musician who is very low-key when it comes to her online profile has finally been recognised for her contributions to music. Cleo Sol has won her first ever MOBO award for ‘Best R’n’B & Soul Act’, despite solely releasing her studio album ‘Mother’ with 0 to no promotion, Cleo Sol has still managed to amaze critics and fans with her work.


Cleo’s contributions to music go as far back as 2006, as she featured on Tine Tempah’s track ‘Tears’, which was showcased by popular music station Channel U, this is where Cleo Sol’s sweet vocals first came to light. The infamous music station Channel AKA formerly known as Channel U became a stepping stone for many UK musicians in the mid-2000s. The collaboration between the two London-based artists received a lot of airplay and contributed to Tinie’s success earlier in his career. However, after releasing tracks ‘Higher’, ‘Code to Crack’ and ‘Never the Right Time’, between 2011 – 2012, Cleo went on a musical hiatus where she pretty much went under the radar and didn’t release any music for five years.

Fast forward to 2017, when Cleo Sol made her return to music with tracks ‘Try and Try’ and ‘Why Don’t You’, both singles made it onto her four-track EP ‘Winter Songs’ in 2018. ‘Why Don’t You’ was so much of a fan favourite on SoundCloud, it also made its way onto Cleo’s first studio album ‘Rose in the Dark’, which was released last year. Cleo’s return to music also saw the beginning of a beautiful musical relationship, as the singer-songwriter joined forces with super producer Inflo who has been producing Cleo’s projects since 2018. After the release of ‘Winter Songs’ Cleo collaborated with Little Simz for ‘Selfish’, a soulful - Hip Hop track that blends the talents of Cleo and Simz while highlighting the importance of self-love. ‘Selfish’ also showcases the work of super producer Inflo once again, who has gone on to produce some ground-breaking albums this year, including Little Simz – ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’, Cleo Sol – ‘Mother’ and Adele ‘30’ all of which carry Inflo’s distinctive jazz-infused style.


At the beginning of the pandemic last year, Cleo Sol graced fans with what felt like a surprise project and that was her 11-track debut album, ‘Rose in the Dark’, an album that presents itself as a letter to her younger self. Her debut album received lots of love from fans and friends, but little to no coverage from herself or media outlets. Cleo Sol is an example of someone who lets her music do the talking, as puts out heartfelt music and simply disappears after releasing it.

Earlier this year, Little Simz teamed up with Cleo once again, as she featured on the track ‘Woman’ and offered additional vocals to ‘Introvert’ and ‘I See You’, where she quite noticeably sings the hook, all taken from Little Simz’ critically acclaimed album ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’. The addictive lead track from the album ‘Woman’ was nominated for ‘Video of the Year’ at the MOBO’s earlier this month and has been viewed an astonishing 3.4 million times since its release. Everything about this track was truly outstanding, as the London-based rapper self-directed the video. Little Simz impresses listeners once again, with lyrics like ‘Naija women, got the melanin dripping, L-O-N-D-O-N, city girl living, In the back, looking like fire, chili pepper, Yoruba girl tougher than imperial leather’’. As Little Simz directed the video for her track, she vowed to include some very powerful women in her video from Jourdan Dunn to Joy Crookes. However, Cleo Sol was nowhere to be seen in this glamourous video, fans only had the pleasure of hearing her sweet vocals on the melodic hook of the track. ‘I love how you go from zero to one hundred and leave the dust behind, you've got this, all action, no talk’, the track combines perfectly worded lyrics with an angel-like hook, both translating how powerful it is to be a woman.


From ‘Woman’ to ‘Mother’, Cleo Sol’s sophomore album ‘Mother’ is soft sounding and paints serene scenes of Motherhood and Love, this album seems a lot more personal in comparison to her previous work. Following on from her debut album ‘Rose to Dark. ‘Mother’ is beautifully crafted with tracks even lasting up to 8 minutes like ‘Build Me Up’, ‘We Need You’, and ‘One Day’. ‘Thank you for sending me an angel straight from Heaven, when my hope was gone you made me strong’ is the opening line to ‘Heart Full of Love’, ‘Mother’ pays tribute to Cleo’s journey into Motherhood as she has welcome’s the birth of her first child, the album artwork simply reflects this, as she is pictured at home holding her infant child. If you listen closely to each track, each one seamlessly links to the next, ‘Mother’ is the perfect ode to the changes we all go through during adulthood.

Cleo Sol’s hard work is evident throughout her music career and has not gone unseen, as she has an ever-growing fan base who continue to support her work, which has led to her receiving her first-ever award.

Mother is out now, and you should all listen to it!




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