SOJA sings of the ‘Strength to Survive’

 

A diverse group of reggae fans came out to support SOJA at Higher Ground on Sunday, Feb. 12.

The Fear Nuttin Band and The Movement opened for SOJA, setting the mood with high energy and positive vibes. 

Both openers came together to create an engaging performance that left the crowd jumping and swaying before SOJA even began. 

The eight members of SOJA walked on stage and were greeted with an instant uproar of support. 

This reception should have been no surprise to the band, which has gained an international fan base, sold over 150,000 albums and headlined in over 15 countries. 

The captivating smile and stage presence of Jacob Hemphill, the lead singer and guitarist, held the crowd’s attention for the entire show.  

Hemphill was inspired to create music from a young age and gravitated towards reggae from the start. 

“I used to freestyle about the things that were around me,” he said. ‘’I was inspired to start playing reggae music after hearing my cousins playing UB40 and Bob Marley records when I was young.” 

Alongside Hemphill was bassist Bobby Lee, who amped up the performance with his head banging and deep, mellow voice.

Hemphill and Lee balance each other well on stage, which may have something to do with the fact that the two have known each other since first grade. 

“Bobby Lee and I used to play in high school talent shows together,” Hemphill said. 

Hemphill said that Bob Marley is still the main inspiration for the band and their latest album, “Strength to Survive,” which was released on Jan. 31. 

“[‘Strength to Survive’] is about the survival of the entire human race,” Hemphill said. “Everyone in the world needs to agree on some ground rules for protecting the Earth.”