On location at the Columbia College Getz Theatre dressing room-Atlantic Recording Artist-Sevyn Street sat down with me in an exclusive interview-shedding light on her career, creative inspiration and her new single.
Sevyn, tell me a bit about Haines City Florida and getting your career started there?
Haines City is a little city with a big heart. Obviously I grew up singing in the church and as a little girl I just loved to sing-at church, talent shows-in anything that I could do. And through this-I ended up auditioning for Showtime at the Apolo and I got to perform there when I was 10. In that show, you know they never let kids when-but we got to tie. From then on I just knew I really wanted to sing.
Around the age of 15 or 16 I was part of a group and we were signed to Interscope. Things don't always work out like you want and that group ended. Then a couple of years later we formed another group called Rich Girl. Rich Girl led me to meet my manager now-Tina Davis-who also manages Chris Brown. One day we were working at the studio at the same time and I just asked Chris if I could come and write at one of his sessions.
He had the studio booked at the time and I just wanted to write for him. He never heard me write before-didn't know if I could or not and he said yes. Chris gave me the opportunity and it has turned into a 3 1/2 year working relationship. Placements later-I wrote "Yeah" three times, I wrote "Strip" with him and "With the Bed" with him. I had six songs on the album Fame, six or seven on Fortune and it's been a really amazing journey.
During that time-the group I was in-ended and after that I became one of his artists and signed with Atlantic Records/Chris Brown.
What's involved in your creative process when you decide to write a song?
It differs what's involved. The majority of the time-we will be in a session and pull up beats-we'll go in and then work on the melodies. We'll hum different melodies and pull the pieces together. Sometimes when people hum melodies words will come out-and this helps you figure out the concept.
Or sometimes you may already have a concept that you want to write about. This happens a lot of times too.
In terms of my single "I Like It"-I just heard that song in my head while I was in my car. I called up the producer and asked if we could just create it-went into the studio and sung what I heard in my head. We pieced it all together and that's how we got it.
What's in store for your new Album?
The album is going to be really dope, I'm excited about it. The core is going to be really urban, R&B leaning. But I have to be really true to myself also writing in pop/alternative records on the album as well. For the most part-it will still be urban with a lot of drums and chord changes.
When you say alternative what does that mean?
Just pop rock kind of records-somewhere in there-acoustic sounding things.
Give me an artist that may fit in the alternative lane that you would want to collaborate with?
You know what-I'd love to do a record with Bruno Mars and it works because we are on the same label. That would be the perfect kind of collaboration to do. Something that is not so urban-he could bring some of that alternative-whatever that is-the creation of his sound and I can bring the urban. We can fuse that together and create something dope.
What brought you Chicago?
Well we're definitely here promoting my new single"I Like It". So I'm on my promo run. I came to Chicago and we had a show at the Shrine-that was absolutely crazy. WGCI they brought me in to do the performance at the Shrine. DJ Jazzy Jeff was up there spinning-it was amazing.
What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
I can tell them what I did. You just work and you pray. You got to work harder that everybody else. I like to think I'm a nice looking woman but I don't rely on that-you don't lean on that-you work hard.
I just always say-success meets preparation. Work on yourself-be diligent and persistent so when the opportunity comes-you don't have to get ready-you're already ready.