FIL BO RIVA arrived home after extensive touring and promotion around his 2019 debut album, Beautiful Sadness. Finding himself “alone in an empty house,” emotions of isolation and loneliness seemed crushing. “All these feelings were enhanced by a strong and an important breakup I’d been through a few months before,” he says.
Left in deep thought, the Berlin-based singer-songwriter let the lyrics simply flow from his fingertips─“without even noticing what I was writing,” he admits. “During the first days, most of what I wrote down in only a few minutes seemed way too simple, but after leaving the song on the side for a while, I noticed that it was exactly how I was feeling. It was simple but honest.”
Last year’s lockdowns added even more layers of meaning. “It was a weird time. My band and I were supposed to be touring again,” he tells American Songwriter, “and all of a sudden, all these things we had planned for the year just vanished, and I found myself sitting at home again. It was during that time that I could not meet up with other musicians, my band or my producer─this period felt very lonely but also very powerful to me, and it somehow created a new energy and ambition to now just embrace ‘the solo’ life that was laid out in front of me.”
Nothing on my mind, just a cold little heart / It’s easy to let go, but you gotta have a plan, he sings over icy electric guitar, his world seemingly crumbling apart. Just a cool little man, with a cold little heart / It’s easy to let go, but you gotta have a plan.
Written about “when an ending slowly evolves into a new beginning,” the somber mid-tempo also examines “where a loss becomes a new possibility and the idea of being alone all of a sudden is not that frightening anymore,” he says.
“I think being lonely and feeling lonely is something a lot of us have experienced, especially in these times, and especially people living alone,” he continues. “But I also think that there is a moment where you realize that it doesn’t have to be a ‘bad’ thing.”
Waiting to wake up from this moment / Living in my head wasn’t my plan, he continues, unraveling further on the second verse. Always down and complaining / I keep running from the truth, am I fading?
Originally from Rome, FIL BO RIVA first got a guitar when he was 10. As a massive Beatles fan, he simply began mimicking what they were doing, playing simple chords and sharing his truth. When his family moved to Ireland a few years later, that’s when his fascination with music fully blossomed and soon led him to relocate once again, this time to Berlin. His first single, “Like Eye Did,” arrived in 2016, and eventually led to his 2019 debut.
Listen to “Solo” below.