“It’s one thing to imagine it, it’s one thing to manifest it.” Solange, at Houston, Texas SHAPE Community Center, said this during a sit down with writer Antwaun Sargent about her new album When I Get Home after her short film was played on screen at the venue. This line stuck with me because of how much it perfectly described what the album is all about.

Now, a couple of hours before I was at this venue, I had the honour and privilege of being able to go to each place in Houston that meant something to Solange; the places that inspired the album and the places that created the person she is today. There was the Emancipation Gym: in 1872, The Colored People’s Festival and Emancipation Park Association formed to acquire ten acres of open land that would serve as a space to celebrate Juneteenth, and Emancipation Park was born. This, the state’s oldest park, was the sole public park available to Black People during Jim Crow. Then there was the Project Row Houses: a Third Ward neighbourhood platform behind much of the local community’s art and neighbourhood development programs and Unity National Bank, the only black-owned banking institution.

And not to go into too much detail of all the places, but I also visited the Houston Museum of African-American Culture, St John’s Church and Ensemble Theatre. We didn’t end up going to one of the stops, the Texas Tire and Wheel - a local rim shop that served the downtown Houston area, specializing in the tire and rim area of slab glory, where you find a primary element of Houston’s prided culture. An H-Town thang, candy paint, flashy front grills, but overall, the whole experience felt like a field trip into the mind and eyes of Solange - seeing what she saw growing up, seeing what inspired the album, it was surreal.

Surreal because there are many different reasons why people become fans of artists, but the main point, which can’t be argued about or debated, is that we become fans of artists because we feel connected to them; like they represent us. Born and raised in Toronto - knowing that Drake came from Toronto will always mean more to me, more to a Toronto native, than it ever will to someone who is not originally from here. Knowing that Drake took the same subway, drove on the same highway and really lived what I lived and continues to do so, he is a representation of us. When he mentions anything that relates to Toronto in his music, it’s like he’s speaking to us. And going around Solange’s city of birth, being on a bus listening to her new album, going venue to venue, I could only imagine what it would feel like if I was from Houston.

I suppose the really special thing about the album is how it made me feel like I was from Houston. In particular, starting with 'Things I Imagined' at the event, Solange explained the song eloquently. Solange said she repeats the song title over and over again because when we dream of something, when we dare to dream, at first, we don’t think it’s possible, but after continued thoughts and perseverance the things we imagined, they become real. It’s these reasons why my favourite song on the album is 'Dreams'. The whole point of the song is that if you are patient and work hard, the things you imagine, they can happen. And this goes back to my point about being a fan. For every single kid growing up in Toronto like I did, Drake made me feel like my dreams were possible. Just like every kid in Houston believes their dreams are possible because Solange made it. When I finally got to the last stop on the tour of venues, and when I heard what Solange had to say about the album, it felt like she realized she really made it and being home this time around, surrounded by her friends and family, meant so much more to her than ever before. And when an artist makes it, truly makes it, well doesn’t it feel like we made it too?