soCro is a local rap artist with a flair for showmanship and devotion to his Eastern European roots. He has played music from a young age, starting with piano and viola before playing drums with Prophets & Kings and dabbling in music production. He currently raps under the title soCro because, “I am Croatian and I live in the South. The original name was Southern Croat, pronounced krow’at, but people were butchering it and pronouncing it croat, rhymes with goat. Someone actually suggested that I abbreviate it to soCro and I thought it was something hot I should go with.”
His rap career started six years ago with his song, “Chattanooga.” While keenly aware that he is a caucasian man trying to make a name for himself in a predominantly black dominated musical genre, he still found the courage to pursue this type of music and has been developing his unique style ever since.
Who are your musical inspirations?
Eric: If I had to name five, then it would be the Bee Gees, OutKast, telepopmusik, classical Croatian music (Oliver Dragojevi), and Lee Fields and the Expressions. I saw that last group perform at Nightfall and they blew my mind. They’re all very different from each other, but they come together and make this mind-blowing musical baby. You know how people say that mixed race babies are the most beautiful? That’s how it feels to listen to different styles of music and have them shape my style. Listening to lots of music doesn’t hamper you. I think it exposes you to more variety to learn from. It makes you think outside of the box.
How have your Croatian roots shaped your music?
soCro: I’m a first generation American. My parents moved to this country from Croatia in the late 60’s. I was born in California before we moved to Michigan, and then Tennessee. Oliver, the Croatian artist I mentioned before, is a staple in every Croatian household. He has a beautiful, buttery voice and the music that he writes is full sounding like an orchestra, with a little mandolin and Eastern European flavors. He keeps my roots grounded as I write rap music because his music reminds me to be proud of my upbringing and cultural influences.
What does your creative process look like?
soCro: I write the music first. Most nights I sit down and just start playing stuff on the keyboard. I find a sound I like and go with it, which means that not all of music in its earlier stages end up as rap songs. I make it a goal to produce an idea for a song every night and toy with it until it’s complete. Once I do that I can establish what the song will be like and write the verses and mix it down and do all of the mixing before sending it out to get mastered.
Why did you choose music?
soCro: I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I think it’s fair to say that music chose me first. There was never a time when music wasn’t part of my life; I was either playing it, dancing to it, learning it, or driving to it. I can’t imagine life without it. It’s what gets me high. I feel like I can express myself better with music than with words. I also feel like when I listen to other people’s music, that I am suddenly closer to them. Music is a beautiful and versatile thing.
What are your plans for 2017?
soCro: I’ve been M.I.A. this year because I’ve been working on my next album. I plan to become a better lyricist. I want to build my vocabulary so I can explain myself better. I want to paint beautiful pictures and tell beautiful stories. I’ve been producing new music and improving my skills in this area as well. Overall, I want to grow as a musician and give my fans a little taste of Chattanooga, Croatia, and my life – my trials and tribulations, my joys and sorrows. These are the things that make me who I am.
My goal is to release something by the summer, whether it’s an EP or LP.
Do you plan on going on tour?
soCro: Yes. I’m planning on going on a Southeastern tour. I would like to release the project and follow it up with a tour around Nashville, Atlanta, Knoxville, Asheville, Greenville, even dip to Florida. I’d also like to do a Croatian circuit for my friends and relatives in New York and Chicago.
What advice could you give an aspiring musician?
soCro: Just do it. Put some Nike on that shit and just do it. I think that something that wasn’t taught to me when I was younger was that you could actually do music as a viable career option. From my experience, music brings me the greatest joy in life. If it does that for you, then you should pursue it and surround yourself with like–minded people who share your passion.