The bespectacled, boyish 32-year-old Kentuckian looks like a college student, but when he whips out his bow and attacks his cello he becomes the professor of funk—or folk or bluegrass or jazz or sometimes a mix of styles; wherever his creativity takes him.
Sollee is a singer-songwriter-composer who fell in love with the cello at nine years old. He first heard a violinist try to play one, only to make the instrument squeak and squawk. “I’m in,” Ben shouted. “I’m going to play the cello for the rest of my life.” He proceeded to learn classical music at school, jammed on R’n’B with his guitar-playing dad and learned old time fiddle tunes on his grandpa’s porch. Sollee’s music reflects that eclecticism. As well as performing as a solo singer-songwriter, he has composed for dance, television and films, performed with bluegrass bands and small classical combos. Sollee is also a political and environmental activist who often foregoes the obligatory van to spend part of the year touring from town to town with his cello strapped to his bicycle.