South African / South Africa
With his distinctive vocal style and musical agility, Neill has imprinted an unforgettable signature on South African music. Rising to prominence in the 80s, Neill pioneered work and formed bands such as Neill Solomon & The Uptown Rhythm Dogs as well as Neill Solomon & The Passengers which included hits like Roxy Lady, The Stranger and Junk Foods & Disposable Ladies.
His career progressed creatively through work he did with The Loft Theatre Company, writing numerous musical scores as well as performing in the theatre productions themselves granting him opportunities to take on acting roles, as well as scoring the music for many local and internationally recognised films and productions. This led to him acting in and scoring the music for the cult status film The Angel, the Bicycle and the Chinaman’s Finger, for which he won an award for the music score.
The Eighties saw Neill touring with American Singer, Janis Ian in South Africa as well as 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 South Africa extensively.
His appetite for travel has seen Neill Solomon & the Passengers tour England and Scotland which led to the release of radio hits such as Hold On and Got To Get Away.
The Nineties birthed the release of Rule of the Swallow by Neill Solomon and The Passengers. WHAT became a number one hit with award nominations. Neill has since scored many internationally recognized films and theatre productions such as the acclaimed Jock of the Bushveld, Gavin Hood’s –A Reasonable Man and the award-winning production Nothing But The Truth by John Kani.
His versatile and individual sound has led him on a musical journey around the world working with many musical talents. Supporting Joe Cocker in SA and joining the stage on the Rodriguez tour in England , Neill has worked alongside Jamie Cato (ex-Faithless), TK, Ray Phiri, Loyiso, Piet Botha and Vic Martin (Eurythmics, Simply Red and Culture Club), Stuart Wood (ex- Bay City Rollers), to name a few. 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.
As a renowned composer for numerous television series and commercials, Neill has taken home a number of awards Neill has enjoyed many acclaims from Arties awards to SAMA’s and SAFTA awards, for best TV incidental music, Best original music, Best SA composed soundtrack/musical for Woestynblom, Best film music for- The Angel, the Bicycle and the Chinamans Finger and a SAFTA for Best Music in a Drama.
The recent years…
As a renowned composer for television series and commercials, Neill also scored the music for numerous years for the daily South African soapie, Isidingo . This included scoring the music for Met Kind in 2017, which was featured at Cannes Film Festival and is currently distributed by an Indie Film Distribution company in the USA.
2015 saw a reunion of musical minds with longtime friend and musician Greg Georgiades, featuring N’ Faly Kouyate and numerous others, culminating in the release of a world music flavored album Different Places: URC (Uptown Rhythm Collective) an album that blends instrumental and lyrical talents influenced by cross cultures of unsurpassed talent
In 2018, Neill reached new heights by scoring the music for the critically acclaimed local film Joko Ya Hao. The film was the brainchild of Mmabatho Montsho, telling the story of the late Winnie Madikizela Mandela. Not surprisingly, this film has been nominated as Best Short Film for a SAFTA award, and was featured in the Africa Rising International Film Festival (ARIFF).
Outside of his rich tapestry of musical scoring for films, Neill has also been busy in studio. Between 2017 and 2018, Neill co-produced the album Liberation Project: Songs That Made Us Free. This musical genius is a mixing pot of 69 musicians from all corners of the globe, including Italy and Cuba, France, Le Reunion, Guinea, Burundi, the USA, Brazil and the United Kingdom. The Liberation Project: Songs that Made Us Free album was conceived and mostly concluded on home soil, at Neill’s own studio, Passage One Music.
Current day has seen Neill busy at work doing what he does best; 2019 was the start of his writing, composing and producing two tracks for the Ark 4 Africa project, which focuses on building an ecological park in Kwa-Zulu Natal. It Takes the World to Make a Miracle and It’s Just a Memory is a work in progress, alongside his contribution to the music score for the Jewish documentary, Story of a Community.
His first collaboration in creating an African themed library production music album with KPM/EMI has achieved much deserved success both locally and internationally, being the most downloaded African sounds library album of 2018. Currently busy on his third music album with East Africa flavors and is also working on a new album of his own, set for release soon. He remains active in his studio working on various projects and albums with local and international musicians continuing to play an integral and valuable role in the world of music, film and television platforms.
His love for music inspires his enthusiasm in mentoring, developing, producing and recording for various platforms in his own capacity as well as for artists at his studio-Passage One Music, which also doubles as a music publishing house.
Today, he remains a legend and visionary in the creative realms of music, film and television. A well-known and highly respected South African Composer, Musician, Producer, Singer and Songwriter.