By Kathryn Unterberger
Chipotle. We went to Chipotle to carry out this interview and discuss emotional life events. It was a perfect environment (wine can be overrated). And in the midst of inhaling our Americanized Mexican food, we were able to form a connection, and I got to know Mr. Van Sol from the inside out.
Like most of us, Mr. Van Sol faced many challenges to get where he is today, but he proudly asserts that he is exactly where he wants to be in life. It was his passion for writing and performing his own music that elevated him above those challenges, and it was his uncanny determination that made him a rising star.
Mr. Van Sol grew up with self-described urban influences.
“My foster brothers were black, and they were huge into the hip-hop culture,” said Van Sol. “They taught me all about it, and I embraced the lifestyle, but I wound up being treated like an outcast because I was a white boy who can rap.”
Nonetheless, he continued rapping. Growing up, Van Sol participated in rap battles, which eventually earned him the nickname SpitNice. Even though he had his doubters, he remained proud of his capabilities. Van Sol knew he had more talent than many people were crediting him for, and defending his skills against those who doubted him sometimes resulted in fist fights. Unfortunately, this physicality got him expelled from high school, but his mother Christine was able to get him into a neighboring school district. Even though she had to work long hours to make ends meet, Christine woke up extra early to drive her son to the new school so he could have a brighter future. Van Sol also saw a tutor multiple times a week and he was eventually awarded his high school diploma.
Van Sol moved on to Suffolk Community College the next fall. He would rap in the hallways in between classes, and he caught the attention of James “Dr. Love” Banks, his first mentor. Banks invited him to an Open Mic night, which turned out to be a Poetry Slam. It was Van Sol’s first venture into a competition of that kind – but he finished in first place.
Inspired by his success, Van Sol began traveling nationally to Poetry Slams in various states, including Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania. Simultaneously, he applied for various internships that were relevant in the music industry. Kiss My Ass Studios, aka “KMA Studios,” was where Van Sol eventually ended up. KMA featured huge names, such as Fabolous and Britney Spears.
During his internship, Van Sol met Dreyson, a talented producer who was deeply immersed in the industry. Dreyson saw something special in Van Sol, and this inspired Van Sol to make a move to the big time. At 19 years old, he moved to New York City, where he and Dreyson spent countless hours in the studio creating their own music. The move to New York proved to be an auspicious one.
After a performance at a talent show in New York, Van Sol was contacted by the popular radio station HOT 97 and was offered a job. He started immediately, now juggling multiple jobs alongside school…