Sound Check with Raph Solo

Raph Solo Am I too much album cover— Written by Jeremy Sanders

In his book, The Memoirs of Angel King, Raph Solo detailed his personal journey towards self-acceptance, revealing a failed attempt at re-orientating his homosexuality through reparative therapy.  This month, he tells his story through song with the release of his pop album, Am I Too Much? 

The songs reflect Solo’s search for love and his desire to settle down with a man. In “Glass of Wine,” the album’s first single, he sings about finding peace and celebrating himself as a man. In other songs like “Lonely Playboy” and “Brief Encounter,” he tackles issues like safe sex and religion, and examines his own personal experiences with open relationships and one-night stands.

“I wanted to make a record I could identify with that shined a light on my reality as I know it. It’s an authentic piece of work, ” he says. Am I Too Much is available on iTunes now.

You named your album Am I Too Much?  So I ask you, are you too much?  Are you too much man for guys to handle?
(Laughing) I was told by a guy I used to date that I am. In my defense, I was younger at the time. I would show up on dates wearing all white from head to toe. He hated that, but it was summer! Am I too much? Yes, I suppose I am. I love too much.  I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.  Either way, it’s how I am.

Do you demand too much from relationships?
I am pretty laid back about a lot of things except the core values of what a relationship is about. I am pretty headstrong in that respect. I like to keep it real. I don’t take the guy I am with for granted, so I don’t want to be taken for granted either. I can show a guy a really good time in a relationship if he knows what he wants.

In “It’s Not Gonna Work 4 Me!” you sing about dumping your lover for wanting an open relationship. Why are open relations not for you?
I can only speak for myself and what works for me.  For me, personally, the purpose of a relationship is about wanting to be together with a special someone. If the guy I am seeing wants to be with someone else, then he should go and be with that someone else. It’s just how I feel at this point in time. I also never commit myself to a relationship until I feel that I can offer the same.

In “When Pop Met Porn,” you open up about dating a gay porn star.  How did you accept your man having sex with other men on film?
He was a former porn star when we met so he wasn’t having sex with other people while we were dating. I am not a judgmental person. I can accept that a guy lived a life before he entered mine. It was part of who he was and I loved him as a whole. I only take a stance when a person’s actions affect me directly.

Several of your tracks reflect a desire to settle down. Are you done with partying?
I love to party. By settle down, I mean finding one person I can party with. I am always going to be a party animal.

In your book, you wrote about having a hard time accepting your homosexuality.   Where are you with that these days?
At the moment, I’m in a really good place.

Will finding the perfect man complete the puzzle?
I used to think love was this thing outside of me that I had to find in someone else.  I don’t feel that way anymore.  Now I know love is inside.  I already have it and it’s mine to give to someone else. It would be great to share my life with someone, but if I never find that person, I will still continue to live my life with love.

Describe your perfect man.
He would make me feel I am enough for him and he would be a man I feel is enough for me. On a physical level, I tend to be attracted to guys who are in good shape and are upbeat and lead a healthy lifestyle. On a personality level, I like guys who are optimistic about life and who are giving. Of course, chemistry plays a very important role too.

What annoying habit do you have that your man will have to accept?
I worry obsessively about the future, but I’m working on that! I’m learning to enjoy the present moments and cross whatever bridges lay ahead when I get to them.

What if your perfect man is not a music lover? Or what if he doesn’t love your music? Is that a deal breaker?
My perfect man doesn’t have to love my music. It would be nice if he did because then we could share a common interest.  I would hope that he at least took an interest to find out why I loved music and what it meant to me. Music is a big part of who I am.

Would you date a fan?
I dated someone who was a bit of a fan. I can tell you the novelty wears off after a few times out. Then it’s about if they like who I am as a person. Guys often have a different perspective on me when they meet me in person than when they hear records or see me in a music video. I have been told I am a lot more chilled than they imagined.  I guess that’s a compliment.

What do you hope fans take away from your new album?
I want people to come away from the album feeling like they know me a little better.  As if I was your boyfriend or your friend, or if we just had a brief encounter together.


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