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Slidin’ Thru: Soaky Siren

July 24, 2019

Read the full interview on YoungCalifornia.com!

Soaky Siren is a lot of things, but artist and songwriter are at the very top. Hailing from the Bahamas, she represents the islands down to the bone. In addition to putting on for her roots, she’s somebody out here putting in the word, grinding hard, and pursuing her dreams of being a star. Read more..

The “Quality” recording artist came to the States in 2011, after spending her formative years in Miami. Getting her start in the music industry writing for others, she finally decided she had to be in Los Angeles to reach her full potential. While she describes her sound as “urban resort,” audiences can immediately find a fresh, unique sound, bringing in influences from a pool of diverse cultures.

Why should people fuck w/ you?
At the end of the day, my wave is my wave. It’s a different perspective. Even down to lyrics, melody, concept-wise, I’m a different kind of creative. I’m certain you’re not gonna get it from anybody else, it’s the source.

What does “urban resort” mean?
The thing is, I grew up on a small island. I don’t come from wealth. We saw tourists come in with money. I saw that wealth, but couldn’t afford to dress a certain way. Despite that, the culture is so rich that we’ll take something budget and still make it look wavy. My music’s a blend of that. It’s never really anything super posh, it’s just specific to us. You come to the island, you expect sunshine and sea, but for us, it ain’t necessarily just that.

What’s your favorite part about the West Coast?
The sun. [laughs]

Do you like this hot ass weather?
Low key, this my favorite kind of weather. I can’t be bothered with being cold. Anything below 70º is a problem. I can’t do it. I have to be in the sun, I have to be warm.

How does LA compare to Miami?
Miami is a lot of Caribbean and Latina people, it feels like I’m still in the Caribbean. In LA, it completely feels different in terms of the people and energy. When I’m in Miami, I’m at home. I still run into Bahamian people, a bunch of island people. It’s an extended Caribbean. LA feels like ”okay, I’m in the States.”

How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist? 
You definitely need to come here because you need to rub elbows with the right people. There’s certain playmakers. Even creatively, you get some of the best producers and songwriters at your disposal. It’s a good place to be, especially in the early stages when you’re defining your sound.

What was the inspiration behind your name?
I can’t take any credit because my daddy gave me Soaky when I was born. My bestie gave me the Siren a couple years ago because she read this book called The Art of Seduction. According to her, that’s what I am. I’m like “alright, I’ll use that.”

At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
It was real for me when I made the move and came here in 2011. I was like “no more options.”

You’ve written for Jason Derulo, CB, Sean Paul, etc. Talk about your strong pen game.
That’s natural. I’m not necessarily the most cerebral person. I don’t fully plan things, go in the room and say “this is my agenda.” I get on the mic, I freestyle, I drop melodies. It’s like throwing paint at the wall. Hopefully, the thing that sticks looks wavy at the end of the day.

How hard was it to transition from songwriter to recording artist?
At first, I didn’t think it was hard. But balancing the two, it’s starting to present the challenge of time. Obviously I have a lot of success happening on the songwriting side, but now it’s compartmentalizing my time, my sound, my direction. I don’t wanna give that shit out, you start getting protective over certain things. For the most part creatively, it’s not so difficult. Because I work with the same people. I’ve been fortunate to have producers who are like “nah, I fuck with you. Whatever you need, let me know.” It’s just a time thing for me now.

What’s the best part?
The best part is that I tell them my story. I don’t have any boxes to play in. I can tell a story how I need to tell a story, there’s no standard. People here when I say I’m from the Bahamas, they have this expectation. Beaches, hotels, suites, etc. Things weren’t beaches and sun for me, life was difficult. It’s important to bring that perspective to music, to not have to play by a bunch of different rules.

What is it you want fans to get from your story?
At the end of the day, I represent myself. I’m an example, a representative of the complexities. You can be a bunch of different things. I can be sauced up, I can be super profound if I want, I can be provocative if I want. Whatever’s in stock, whatever’s in inventory that day, I’m gonna serve that. I want people to not have expectations of one specific thing from me, I want them to get this is a wave all-around.

You recently unleashed “Quality” featuring Bantu. Bring us back to that studio session.
Before Bantu started doing the artist project as well, both of us worked together and collaborated all the time. I did “Tip Toe” and “Hey Ma” with him, we’re always working. At the time, I’m like “man, I need something different.” He was making the beat and I started freestyling. He looked at me like “nah, write that. We gotta put that down.” Actually, I had the hook done with Robopop the producer in the first session. I started with chorus again and didn’t really like it. He’s like “what?! Put that down.” [laughs] Afterwards I was by Tu’s crib, I’m like “yo, I need a verse.”

What can we expect from your forthcoming EP?
It’s a good introduction of me as a person. A lot of people don’t know, I’ve dropped a bunch of rap records. Actually, the next single after “Quality” is gonna be me singing. You’re gonna get a little bit of both. Again, it’s that diversity in how I present myself. It’s the Bahamas. It’s the Freeport gal, which means I have a lot of things to talk about. [chuckles] There’s something about an F boy I had to let go of.

Has he heard it?
No, he can hear it though. When he does, he’ll know it’s about him. “Dopeboys” is another single coming. When I was back in the Bahamas, “Dopeboys” is a song about the dudes who were in the trade. Growing up, we used to look up to them. “Yo, that’s relationship goals.” That was the shit. Fast forward to now, clearly I don’t want that because them dudes are dead or in jail. It’s all of these things that’re happening. This ain’t a typical “come to islands.” Shit ain’t necessarily sweet.

What are some goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
I definitely want to expand my brand. I’m self aware, I know I offer something that isn’t in the marketplace right now. Definitely want to have more of a platform and expand it. I want to get into fashion. I want to do some capsule collections. I also want to get into film. The framework is obviously the music first, again telling the story. I write everything. I don’t have no qualms about speaking my mind. I don’t have to play by the rules. Because me doing label shit, it’s like “oh, we need this to sound like this.” I don’t want that.

Talk about working w/ Hermitude.
Hermitude, those guys — it’s so funny because I’ve known them for a while. We recently reconnected because my manager brought an opportunity to me. He’s like “Hermitude, they want to get in. You’ll be dope for what they’re doing.” We had a session. They played this track which ended up being the single coming out. They’re like “we have this track, we just don’t have the right top line.” They played it, I’m like “this shit sounds like a whole festival. Put on my autotune.” I’m not shy, I need my autotune. I’m like “turn it up.” We started working and made it. Actually, Vory’s on it.

What about Big Freedia?
Freedia is one of the most exciting projects I’ve been apart of so far. Obviously Freedia is iconic in so many ways, but also easy to work with. Humbleness is one thing I appreciate in people. Freedia trusts me and who I worked with for the project. Whatever we say is a wave. She’s like “you know what, okay. Go ahead.” No headaches. This project we’re doing now, she’s talking about very meaningful, very personal things. It’s inspiring, ain’t no standard things.

How important is social media for your career?
I struggle with that because I know it’s extremely important, but sometimes I wonder. You gotta weigh them scales: how important it is for career vs. how important it is for health. Because that comparison shit people are doing be driving them crazy. The verdict is still up for me. I understand how important it is because I like to engage with my fans, but sometimes, it’s way too toxic.

Who’s your favorite person to follow on IG?
This sounds really weird, but I follow animal pages. There’s this lady, her name is Lisa Tora. She just be chilling with her cheetahs. [chuckles] I gotta find her, she literally be cutting up with these Cheetahs. In my heart of hearts, I lowkey want one. But I know better. She out in the pride with a bunch of cheetahs. In sessions in the middle of a song, I’ll just be looking. 

What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
I get up early in the day. I like to get any meetings done in the morning because I’m in the studio by 1pm every day. That’s usually my creative time, either working on my stuff or writing for somebody else. We just wanna vibe. I work with different producers, we stay in there until whatever time we finish. I’m independent so on the artist side, I gotta wear a bunch of different hats. I’ll leave a session and immediately come home, I’m dividing and conquering. I’ll get this record in this DJ pool, need to link with this person. Can you tell me how to do this that and the next? I gotta handle creative so I ain’t sleeping.

3 things you need in the studio?
I’m so simple. Water. Autotune. If you don’t have autotune, I’m leaving. I aint even ashamed, dead ass. You ain’t getting a song out of me if you don’t have autotune, I’m good. Other than that, the lighting. I can’t have medical office looking lighting.

What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
All of my encounters have so far been on social media. I did a podcast on leaning into yourself and stop operating on fear. This one fan hit me up, “you don’t know how that hit me, how you spoke life.” I’m not a preachy person, I was just being very candid on the podcast. That stuck with me. What’s crazy is in my mind, I’m speaking to an empty room half the time. Because it’s still early, I don’t know a bunch of people. For someone to reach out and say that, I’m like “okay, I ain’t too crazy.”

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
I don’t see it. I’d be miserable. I’d be somewhere being miserable. Probably somewhere in finance or some shit, bored out of my mind.

Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Bon Iver. it’s between him or Kanye. Old Kanye is probably the most streams I have on my side.

Dream collab?
It’s gonna be Rihanna. I’d love to work with her, that’d be a vibe.

What advice do you have for an inspiring Soaky Siren?
Trust yourself. When you wake up in the morning, it’s like a simple flow chart in life. If you feel you’re a star, shine. Get up and don’t take nobody’s no for nothing. That’s one person’s no, but that doesn’t mean you get another one. I failed myself forward. You have to learn to accept fuckery and rejection, and keep proceeding.

 

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