Music

Sy Smith Discusses Her Journey to Creating Great Music

Tue., Apr. 24, 2012 7:36 AM EST
by A.R. Shaw

Sy Smith has cultivated her own sound in the nu-soul music genre. She has released several critically acclaimed projects, including three albums, two EPs, one greatest hits album and a live concert DVD.

Smith recently released her Fast And Curious album and will be performing at Drom in New York on May 3 and at Apache Cafe in Atlanta on May 5. –amir shaw

What inspires you?

Over the years, I’ve been inspired by a myriad of things. The melody of children’s laughter, the rhythm of windshield wipers, the evening pulse of crickets and frogs and other night critters. Not to mention, all of the recording artists I listened to growing up. It’s hard to say what inspired me the most. Everything played its part.

How were you first introduced to music?

I have no idea really. Being introduced to music is like being introduced to your first language.  Nobody pulls you aside and says, ‘now this is English, and you shall speak it.’ Music was the same way for me in that nobody pulled me aside and said ‘This is called music. Listen and learn.’ My family just did as most families and played their favorite albums or radio stations and I picked up what I could and began speaking that language.

When did you first step foot in the studio and what do your remember most about that moment?

I think my first studio session was in the early ’90s. A producer friend named Scotty Beats used to let me tag along with him to Night Flight Studios in Ft. Washington, MD while he engineered sessions. He soon picked up that I was more than just interested in music, but that I could actually do cool things vocally so he began showing me the ropes and he taught me most of what I know today regarding mic technique, stacking vocals, arranging vocals, etc.

What do you love most about the process of creating music?

I love finishing a song. I love looking back on the journey that made that song happen; looking back on the story that helped form the lyrics, the scales that inspired the melodies, the vocal arrangements, the musical production, and the entire execution of it all. I love going back and listening to just the a capellas after I’ve finished recording and mixing too. It’s kind of an obsession.

What can fans expect from a Sy Smith concert?

I think fans are usually tripped out on how musical I am, especially when they see me playing keys and such. A lot of fans, even though they’re really into my music, still don’t know that I can actually play and do some really interesting things live on stage. Fans can also expect some humorous moments. I don’t take myself that seriously on stage and life is nothing without laughter.