SoMo at the 2013 annual Jingle Ball concert. (Photo by Andi Harman, D Magazine)

by Brittany Ambrosino

On a brisk Monday night, my friends and I made our way to New York City to catch a concert. For whom you might ask? A musician who goes by the name SoMo.

Joseph Somers-Morales, better known as SoMo, quickly learned how to play the piano after receiving one as a Christmas gift from his mother. After uploading his cover of Chris Brown’s “Crawl” onto YouTube, SoMo’s music career launched. Encouraged by YouTube viewers’ interest, SoMo kept the videos coming, and from there, his popularity grew fast. He eventually released a debut mixtape entitled “My Life, which included original songs. Now, covering popular songs and different versions of his original songs, SoMo posts weekly videos called “SoMo Sundays.”

With over 421,000 subscribers (and counting) on YouTube, SoMo was bound to get recognized by a big name in the music industry. Last October, he signed with Republic Records, a popular recording company that has worked with artists such as Drake, Florida Georgia Line, Ariana Grande, Lorde, Nicki Minaj, and Jessie J. SoMo has done two headlining tours in the past year as well—The Ride Tour and The Show Off Tour. He’s currently gearing up to release his first debut album “SoMo.” The album drops in April, but it became available for presale on iTunes on Feb. 25. In merely a few hours, his album reached number one on the R&B charts, and number 21 on the overall iTunes charts, without it even being officially released yet.

The show was small with only a few hundred attendees. A cloud of smoke filled the stage as the music slowly began, leading to a performance that was both pleasing and impressive. SoMo began with energy, singing one of his most popular originals called “Kings and Queens (Throw It Up).” For the entire night, he kept the audience engaged, flirting with the girls in the audience by staring into their eyes and holding their hands. He then sang original songs, such as “The Only One,” “Touch the Sky,” “Oh Hell,” “Show Off,” and “Back to the Start,” as well as some covers. With the anticipation of his album’s release, SoMo performed three new songs: “Hush,” “Fire,” and “We Can Make Love.” At the close of the concert, he shared an intimate performance of his most well-known song “Ride.”

Unlike some artists, SoMo sounded exactly the same when performing as he does when coming through the speakers. The market needs more artists like SoMo. He’s original, and the R&B/hip hop scene has never seen anyone like him. With his quick rise to fame in the past year, SoMo is definitely an artist to watch out for.

You can catch SoMo on tour this upcoming spring or preorder his self-titled debut album “SoMo” on iTunes now.