Freesole Family

Waiting for Joshua Woodley to arrive with the pizza, Khaliyah Hayes and Seth Woods milly rock to a blasting Kanye song. Al Collier FaceTimes Lena Howard to catch up with each other. Erica Siliezar and Janelle Butler are on their way over.
This is Freesole: a collective creative group that emphasizes family over fame- well, some of them.
Officially formed in March of 2015, the group is comprised of over 15 rappers, singers, producers, photographers and other creative minds. It’s members include several H-F alumni (Khaliyah Hayes, Al Collier, Lee Junious, Lena Howard and Joe Mason) and current H-F students (juniors Jayson Doss and Erica Siliezar and seniors Janelle Butler and Myra Rivers), along with other members across the Chicago Southland.
“Freesole is a creative collective of amazingness,” Woodley aka JayWood said. “We want to make music that literally frees the locks from your soul- hence ‘Freesole’.”
Collier aka Leo, the mastermind behind the group, made an effort to bring all of his creative friends together because he “didn’t want to do it all by himself.”

“Figuring out who was serious about this was the hardest part,” Leo said. “Basically, I’ve been friends with all the people who are in the group right now. They just all happened to be super talented.”
While their sound is unique with similar styles to J Cole, Kendrick Lamar and Mick Jenkins, their group dynamic can be compared to that of Odd Future and OVO.
“Even being around creative people brings out the creative energy in you,” Hayes said. “Other people can inspire you. Collabing or being in a group can help you find yourself.”
Seth Woods says the group’s unique dynamic is vital in the creation of their music.

“We’d just be hanging out with each other just like we are now,” Woods said. “We learn more about each other’s experiences and bounce off of each other’s ideas. That’s how our music is made.”
The musical family doesn’t stop at just creative support.
“When we have an opportunity to record in the studio, we all scrape up our own money and pitch in,” Hayes said. “Nobody in Freesole is selfish.”
Hayes, a singer in the group, says Freesole’s authenticity will separate them from the rest.
“In our music, we talk about real things, real emotions,” Hayes said. “Right now a lot of music seems unattached and emotionless. Other artists don’t want to be vulnerable, but music is vulnerability.”
With a common goal of creative outlet, the collective’s biggest obstacle is their distance from one another.
“We’ve got members away for college in Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio and Las Vegas,” Doss said. “One’s in the Air Force right now too.”

Though the group stays connected by chatting in GroupMe and talking on FaceTime, meeting in person is challenging.

“Honestly, I still haven’t met like two people in the group,” Hayes said. “It’s a hit or miss at our gatherings right now. We’ll get to meet more easily during spring break and over the summer, though.”
Despite their unique circumstances and challenges, Freesole’s variety of sound, flows and collabs has managed them to rack up over 200 followers on their SoundCloud. With 24 tracks available, the group plans to release music videos along with more material soon.
Visit to check them out.