Sevyn Streeter on Making It Big ‘in God’s Timing’
Sevyn Streeter on Making It Big ‘in God’s Timing’
By Joshua Eferighe
By Joshua Eferighe
Singer Sevyn Streeter reveals how she added songwriting to her already impressive résumé in an interview with OZY CEO and co-founder Carlos Watson on a recent episode of The Carlos Watson Show. You can find some of the best cuts from the conversation below, and the full interview can be found on the show’s podcast feed.
Carlos Watson: Tell me about your music. When you introduce yourself to people, how do you introduce yourself? When people say, “What do you do?” what do you tell them?
Sevyn Streeter: When people say, “What do you do?” I say, “Well, for one, I sometimes write your favorite songs. I sometimes perform your favorite songs. I’m sometimes your best friend in your head. I’m sometimes your therapist.” It’s a number of things.… So, what is it that I do? I feel like I’m here to service people.
Watson: How did you get into music at [age] 9? Somebody told me you got your first record deal at 9. That sounds unbelievable.
Streeter: Well, it wasn’t my first record deal. I did Showtime at the Apollo when I was 9. That’s when things got real for me and I started to realize, “Oh, I actually enjoyed this music thing.” Like, “I enjoy singing for people.” So Showtime at the Apollo, I auditioned at 9, then I performed there when I was 10. And it was just … it just began from there. It was my first time being on television, it was my first time on an airplane ever when I was 9 years old. So it was like all these new experiences for me.
Watson: But you had a lot of confidence? I can tell you came to it. It sounds like you came to it good already. Like you were good.
Streeter: I feel like confidence is something, it builds every single day. You know what I mean? Every day there’s some area of my life I’m saying, “Ooh, why did you make that decision that you knew wasn’t quite the right one? And if you did, it came from a place of insecurity or fear.” And so I’m learning how to pinpoint things. First I had to learn myself, and when you’re in groups and when you’re in record deals from the time you are 15, all your life, you always have somebody constantly telling you who to be, how to be, how to act, how to dress, how to wear your hair, how to wear your clothes. You get that all your life. So I think becoming confident, it’s just trial and error when you were raised that way.
Watson: I’ve been seeing people … all of a sudden go from songwriter to singer, or at least get recognized more for … singing, and kind of come, if you will, from behind the scenes a little bit. … Do you feel like you want to be singing more, and you want to get more credit for all that you do?
Streeter: No, I think that’s the beauty of being a singer-songwriter. I can’t speak for anybody else, but I can’t even pick which one I love more. I can’t pick. I can’t say I love to be a songwriter more than I love to be an artist. They’re like children, do you feel me? I can’t choose. So I think that when you’re a creative, period, you’re just drawn to whatever pulls you at that moment.
Watson: How did you learn how to write songs? How did it come about? How did you learn how to write music? How does someone learn how to write a hit song?
Streeter: Trial and error, throw it against the wall and see if it sticks. I’ll be honest, I write trash songs even up to today. First you have to figure out what style is appealing to you. What’s appealing to you? Because I think that it starts with it coming from something that you naturally are drawn toward, a vibe you naturally love.
Watson: How do you describe your type of music? ’Cause I heard you mentioned Aaliyah as an inspiration. And people say R&B is back, and [in] a lot of ways to think about. How do you describe your music style? What do you say to people? How do you think about it?
Streeter: My music is very melodic. I’m really big on melodies. I love melodies. And then you have the flip side of it where my music is very sexy. It’s very sexual. It’s very sensual. It’s one of those things, for example, excuse my French, but if you see, like, a really bad bitch, she’s amazing. She looks amazing, she smells amazing, she feels amazing. And in the back of your head … And she’s given you a vibe, know what I mean? There’s a vibe. You can feel a little chemistry, feel a little mood, and you think that you know you’re going to be able to knock that down, but you’re also not quite sure if she’ll let you. It’s that space, that in between, I think there’s something really sexy about that, because I’m a woman and I have never felt more like myself than I do now, and you’ll hear that in my upcoming project. It’s a little mixture of a couple of different things.
Gotta Have Faith
Watson: What kind of advice do you give people about dreaming fearlessly?
Streeter: For me personally, I have moments where I lock in, I pray to God, and He gives me perspective and He tells me either to go around it, jump over it, remove it. It’s the guidance, it’s the guidance. It removes the fear. It literally tells you whether to go over the thing, go around the thing, because the truth of the matter is it doesn’t really exist. For me, everything that I feel like I want down here on earth, I know the one who created it all. So why would I have any fear of anything that’s down here? I don’t, we shouldn’t. And you have to find that thing that helps you gain perspective and look at things through that type of lens. Because for a while, a couple years back, I didn’t look at things through that lens. And since I have been looking at things through that lens, I have not been happier. I have not been more at peace. I have not had more clarity, more wisdom, more confidence, more … I just feel better. I wish that for everybody, I pray that for everybody. But you got to find something to believe in.
Watson: When you think about what you want to be true about your career, is it true right now? Are you excited about what is true today and/or are you open to something else in addition?
Streeter: I’m extremely excited about what is true today. And that’s because anybody who knows me and you can ask them, I just believe that everything is in God’s timing. And I have thought that way since I was 9 and 10. My family, they’ve always preached that to me, everything in God’s timing. So let’s say when I was younger, if I didn’t get a role, or if I didn’t get a part, the message that my family would feed into me is that everything is in God’s timing. And just because that was a no, or that felt like rejection, it doesn’t mean that it is. And then, honestly, 10 times out of 10, something better always came back around. So I learned that at a young age. And right now at the current moment, it’s music for me, and it’s been music for me for a very long time. But it’s something in it that feeds me and there’s more for me to birth in that space. So I’m just going to keep listening and birthing what it is I feel the need to birth and go from there. But no, I feel like I’m right on. Everything is exactly where it should be and how should it be.