Yes, I Am An American: Quantum Split on Finding Your Own Version of Success
Artists and cultural workers are pivotal contributors to social change. They are catalysts who help us to imagine communities rooted in equity and radical love. Breakthrough VOICES is a space for artists to not only amplify their own talents but to use those talents to inspire others.
In the latest installment of Breakthrough VOICES, rock band Quantum Split performs “America.”
Quantum Split is a diverse youthful rock group that takes their platform and uses it to spread love and unity. It’s about time we use music again to make a difference. These inner city kids have worked so hard to create music that empowers people and they deserve to be heard.
This band is making a name for themselves by touring, including shows in New York City at notable locations such as Irving Plaza and the Gramercy Theatre. They have been requested to go to Africa three times, and have been sponsored by the US Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda because of their message of love and unity. They perform original songs and music, written by Berklee College of Music student, Lead Singer, and Guitarist Soleil Laurent, with her fellow band mates Adrian Read (Lead Guitarist), Ivan Hardy (Bass Guitarist), and Richard Chen (Drummer).
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Breakthrough: What is your Breakthrough Voice?
Soleil Laurent: Courage. Because you are coming out of your norm to stand for something, and I think that’s totally important. Yes, we do music, but there is a message of peace, equality, and America. Stand up for yourself, stand up for others, and be brave. There’s too many times when people live their lives hiding behind that rock. We want people to be bold, be badass, go in front and talk and stand for each other. Because if we don’t stand for each other, there’s not going to be a difference in the world. Sometimes it’s comfortable standing up for other people but standing up for yourself is a challenge. At least, it was my challenge.
Adrian Read: I just want people to be happy. I want people to find their own version of success. I just want people to really dig deep within because I think success comes from within and you can share it. I’m doing what I love in every aspect of my life right now and I just want to share that with everybody that I come into contact with.
BT: Who are your role models?
SL: I think of Bob Marley. I think of John Lennon. I think of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Einstein. Newton. I think of people that stepped [forward] to change reality. It’s important for us to move forward into a light for this generation, to be peace, to be unity, to be a change. And my mom! My mom’s the hardest working woman I’ve ever seen in my life. My mom, man, she’s so badass. Because she knows how to keep it together. The average everyday woman inspires me because whatever choices that you make in your life as a woman, you have to be multifaceted. So any everyday woman to me is the most powerful woman in the world.
BT: What do you try to capture within your music?
AR: We found the medium that we can use to express who we are. Some people go their whole lives and they don’t find people like this that believe in their dreams and believe in what they have. It’s about spreading positivity because it’s so easy to go about your day and just focus on the negative things. It’s very easy to get caught up in what you don’t have versus what you do have. So I love artists that can remind you of that.
SL: The core of [our music] is vulnerability. Everyone goes through their trials and tribulations as human and the more honest you are about it, the more you can hear the world. Having a voice has been such a challenge to me because I’ve had a lot of strong personalities around me for a long time, and you start invalidating yourself and your voice and your message. You start thinking that you’re just this bystander in life. And I want people to know that you’re not. You’re not this bystander, your purpose is to live.
BT: Breakthrough does a lot of work with young people. What would your message be to young people who see your video and say, “that’s me!”
SL: That it’s ok to be you. It’s ok to be who you exactly are. There’s no perfection. Perfection is just complete acceptance within yourself. I want them to feel like our music fulfills them. Our music gives them a right to be exactly who they are and not change a cell. It gives them the right to feel confident. It gives them the right to just step out into the world like you are the baddest “bleep bleep” in the whole entire world. The main thing is for people to feel unapologetically themselves.
Season One of Breakthrough VOICES highlights a spoken word poet, a rock band, a performance artist, and a dance troupe. To be highlighted in a future season, contact us at email@example.com!
Coming up on April 26: marked dance project