Undoubtedly, Neill Solomon is one of the finest singer songwriters in South Africa – with his distinctive vocal style and musical agility, fronting Neill Solomon and the Uptown Rhythm Dogs through to Neill Solomon and the Passenger years, following his solo career- adding his indelible mark on music. He continues to shine lyrically and musically, mesmerising and influencing audiences through his musical talents.
A multiple award-winning film, theatre, television soundtrack composer, songwriter and musician, Neill remains a visionary and legend in the creative realms. Neill’s versatile and individual sound has led him on a musical journey around the world working with many musical talents. Running a fully-fledged recording studio in Norwood JHB, Neill’s composing partner was the greatly respected late singer & composer Shaluzamax Mntambo, who was the opening voice to the acclaimed film The Lion King. Neill has worked alongside Jamie Cato (ex Faithless), TK, Ray Phiri, Loyiso, Piet Botha and Vic Martin (Eurythmics, Simply Red and Culture Club) to mention but a few.
Neill has scored the music for many internationally recognized film and theatre productions such as the acclaimed Jock of the Bushveld, Gavin Hood’s A Reasonable Man, Slash , 27 Cleveland Road, Beat the Drum, My Sisters Children in Africa (Danish Film) Met Kind (Cannes Film Festival) and the award-winning production Nothing but the Truth by John Kani.
He is well known for his pioneering work during the 1980’s in the Pop, Rock and World Music fields with his bands Neill Solomon and the Uptown Rhythm Dogs and Neill Solomon and the Passengers. Albums such as The Occupant, Rule of the Swallow and The Gathering of the Beasts, produced several chart singles. With his beginnings as a solo performer in the late 70’s playing the ‘Persian Room’ and ‘Die Spens’ to forming the band Neill Solomon and the Uptown Rhythm Dogs with hits like Roxy Lady, The Stranger and Junk Foods & Disposable Ladies, delivering fearless quality and range.
The Eighties saw Neill touring with American Singer, Janis Ian in South Africa, furthermore releasing the critically acclaimed album The Occupant by Neill Solomon and The Uptown Rhythm Dogs. The album was reviewed as one of the best albums of the year in the top American music trade magazine “Billboard”. Continuing his journey, he formed the highly successful band Neill Solomon’s Bazaar, touring SA extensively.
Neill Solomon & the Passengers toured England and Scotland which subsequently led to the successful release of radio hits such as Hold on and Got to Get Away. The Nineties saw the release of the album Rule of the Swallow by Neill Solomon and the Passengers. The song WHAT became a number one hit and was nominated for an OKTV award.
Neill, along with Stuart Wood (ex- Bay City Rollers) composed and recorded the music for numerous NAPAC productions of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Stoppard’s Rosencrants & Guildenstern as well as Richard III.
Acting in the award-winning play Kwamanzi in Scotland at the Edinburg Festival, Neill followed on to compose the music for, and act in The Trophy Hunters, again performing at various festivals which included the Edinburgh Festival.
The Theatre for Africa saw Neill composing the music for, acting in and musically directing the Christmas production Nuga Moya Cinderella. In addition, composing and musically directing the production of Gathering of the Beasts for Southern Life and the South African Nature Foundation by Nicholas Ellenbogan. The release of the environmental album Gathering of the Beasts saw the song entitled In the Year 2000 reaching #2 in the Radio 5 charts. This led him to perform songs off the newly released album with an 8-piece band called Heart of Africa.
Acting in, as well as scoring the music for the cult acclaimed film The Angel, the Bicycle and the Chinaman’s Finger, 1992 saw him scooping an MNet Film Award for Best Music Score Category for his musical contribution to the film. He further added his musical wizardry to acclaimed productions such as Sin (Nicholas Ellenbogen) Grond Baronne (Franz Marx), Paradise Bar and Times of the Sign ( Lara Foot).
Playing in the band on the Rodriguez Tour in London in 2006 and supporting Joe Cocker in 2009, Neill forged ahead composing the song Crocodile Smile with long-time friend and band member Dan Chiorboli for Durban City for the 2010 World Cup, combining all musical cultures of the city, featuring Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
A renowned composer for a large number of television series and commercials, most notably for Florida Road, Sober Companion, A Place Called Home ( 2010 Safta award winner for Best Composition), Bay of Plenty (Sarah Bletcher) 90 Plein Street (Ken Kaplan), Wild at Heart (American TV), Die Manakwalanners, Honeytown, Rivoningo, , Skeem Saam and Life is Wild ( UK TV). Neill successfully scored the music for six years for the daily South African soapie Isidingo, The TV series Woestynblom saw Neill composing hauntingly beautiful music resonating the sounds of his humble Lebanese roots and being awarded a SAMA for his memorable contributions.
He has remained active in his studio working on various projects and albums with local & international musicians. A reunion of musical minds and solid friendships led to the culmination of the URC Album (Uptown Rhythm Collective), driven by Neill Solomon and Dan Chiorboli. A joining of experimental skills and visionary composition – instrumentally blending lyrical talent, creating an album rich in world sounds, influenced by the cross culture of unsurpassed talents between band members.
Neill continues to play an integral and valuable role in the world of music, film and television platforms. His first collaboration in creating an African themed library production music album with KPM/EMI has achieved much deserved success internationally and is currently the top most downloaded African sounds library album of 2018.
Neill Solomon and Dan Chiorboli have remained a tight knit and invincible force, personally and musically for over 40 years. Their vision, creative spirit and skill has yet again placed them in the spotlight,-passionately and effortlessly joining forces to create The Liberation Project which incorporates and speaks of the struggles from the past, which both are no stranger to. The project and essentially the album that has come out of this journey mixes South Africa, Cuba & Italy, featuring Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music), Juan De Marcos (Buena Vista Social Club) and Sipho Hotstix Mabuse.
The first album edition of The Liberation Project imbues memorable mastery- the beginnings of a journey full of history and personal experience, legendary style, vocal agility and unsurpassed talent.