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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

It's 6 Questions With...Sy Smith

"Wake up everybody no more sleepin' in bed, no more backward thinkin' time for thinkin' ahead..."  Teddy Pendergrass - Wake Up Everybody

It is going to be a short and sweet entry, because I am trying yet another new thing here today. 

I have shared with you previously that I have had the pleasure of interviewing quite a few artists over the years.  Some were bitchy and disgusting and some were uptight but they did not outweigh all the others who were simply a joy to be with.

So I have decided that I will use my charming skill to the best of my ability and reach out to those that are doing the damn thing on the music scene.  My entry today is called "6 Questions With..."  It is a simple 6 question mini-view with an artist whose music I enjoy and a person I admire.  We just might learn a few tidbits about an artist that maybe we have not known or something they wanted to share.  So with that said, my first choice is the effervescent and funky Sy Smith.

Sy Smith has been on her grind since the late 90's.  Some of you may not know her work, yet on the other hand some of you all do.  Her sound is funky, sexy soul that takes you on a journey to new highs.  If you have not experienced any of her albums: Psykosoul, The Syberspace Social or her recent endeavour Conflict -  you are definitely caught up in The Matrix and need to be freed!  With her stint as lead singer for The Brand New Heavies and her 4 seasons as a background singer on American Idol, Sy Smith is always doing her thing.  Sy's new album Conflict is a cool, eclectic blend of stellar soul tracks.  My favorites are "B Side Love Affair" and the album title track "Conflict", find it, listen and take it all in!  You can find some of the album tracks on her music player on the website.  Sy is the woman to go to for an intense blend of crafty lyrics and insane galactic beats.  When you decide to purchase this phenomenal CD, please visit Soultracks for an autographed Sy Smith CD, as she is being featured as the CD of the month.  Also, please check out an interview on Honeysoul, where Sy talks about a little bit of everything with Vonnie.  Do check out Sy Smith's new album Conflict and you can catch up with her movements (tour info, album reviews and such) on her website Sysmith.com  

So without further adieu, here are 6 Questions With Sy Smith.

1) With a BS in Psychology and a minor in Music Theory, would you say that your insight into the workings of the mind definitely influence your eclectic writing style?

I don't consciously use my knowledge in the disciplines of Psych and Music Therapy (Music Therapy was my minor, incidentally) to influence my writing. I think that any psychology I might use is the same that any person uses in his/her day-to-day life. It's definitely fun sometimes to break down the lyrics of my songs after-the-fact and see what the heck I was on though! Sometimes I'll read my lyrics and just trip out, like "wow, was I on crack?" LOL!

2) I always find that your music is always ethereal and fresh - anything you put out is always different. What is your secret to keeping things new and funky?

I don't know that I have a secret. I just try not to be repetitive or redundant, while at the same time always putting my "stamp" on my music. I sometimes approach songs by picturing myself as someone else. For instance, the song "dreamtrip" on the Syberspace Social CD - I wanted to sound like a Japanese boys' choir so I sang everything the way I felt a young Japanese boy might. I sang everything very precisely, each note was uniform with all the rest. If you listen back to that tune, you'll hear what I'm talking about... I probably sound crazy trying to explain it, huh?

3) "Conflict" is a song I love because of the conflicting contrasts; the opposites in life that we go through on the daily that always require choice. As an artist, where would you say your heart and passion is, in other words - where do you come alive - in your songwriting or singing? And if you had to break it down between the two, which would be your choice? If there is one of course...lol

Art brings me alive, however it chooses to manifest itself through me. I absolutely LOVE performing whether it be singing or acting, but I love writing too. There's something so satisfying about having a song in your head and then watching/hearing it come alive in the studio. I'm just happy and blessed to be a vessel for the arts because I firmly believe the arts to be the way The Creator communicates to and through us. And by "the arts", I'm not just speaking of music and dance, but also architecture, horticulture, floristry, sculpture, culinary arts... everything artistic!

4) Some may not know your work, but you are ALWAYS on your grind. You have been featured in commercials, sing background on American Idol etc. Would you let Hollywood steal you away from us musically if the acting bug hit you? 

I must have been bitten by the said acting bug years ago, because I originally moved to L.A. to perform in a play. I've done several plays here in L.A. and one that traveled to D.C. at the Warner Theatre. I love acting.

5) Your style is always daring and alluring. Explain in your own words, your personal style.

Ooooh... I probably won't be good at answering this question. I don't think too much about style, unless I'm on stage... When I'm performing, I like to give the audience some drama. I like stagey/costumey wardrobe, but it has to fit the mood of the show too. I think I was a drag queen in another life...

6) My last proverbial question: Name one album you keep close on a:

a) melancholy day - Portishead's "Dummy", Nine Inch Nails "Downward Spiral", Amel Larrieux's "Lovely Standards"
b) night to set the mood right - Afterdark New York,
c) funk down soiree - Zo!'s "Freelance", DJ Quik's "Rhythmalism", Rahsaan Patterson's "Wines & Spirits"

Flashback of the day - this was a no brainer.  This would be one of the album choices that I do have in common with Sy Smith.  Portishead's Dummy is an album that I stumbled upon when I used to work at HMV back in the day.  Here is my favorite track from the album:

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

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