Since releasing her debut album, Metaphysical, at the top of 2014, soul music artist Sidibe has been on a steady grind. Influenced by the likes of Sade, Minnie Riperton, Janet Jackson and Joni Mitchell but with a sound all her own, Sidibe’s knack for crafting catchy yet thought-provoking lyrics over lush soundscapes will afford her a spot at the table with the top soul musicians of the day.
The Los Angeles native recently released an EP called Soul Siren that blends elements of R&B, house and pop with a touch of her Senegalese roots. It is unapologetic in its embrace of the romantic, physical and spiritual aspects of love. Soul Siren was produced by Finnish writer-producer Nico Stadi and includes collaborations with Grammy Award-winning producer Warryn Campbell (Mary Mary, Musiq Soulchild, Brandy, Jill Scott); and D.A. Wallach (Pharrell Williams, Chester French).
Sidibe recently sat down with rolling out to discuss her new single “See You Girl,” the pros and cons of being an indie artist, and which pop singers she can do spot-on impressions of.
Who was your musical idol and why?
I have so many musical idols. But naturally, Michael Jackson is at the top of the list. Besides being an extraordinary singer, writer and performer, he also had a unique ability to transport the listener into his world. He explored every musical genre and created a beautiful fantasy through his music and his visuals. I would also list Sade as another artist I really admire. She’s managed her career very well. She never rushes to release material and she’s kept her private life private. Her music and image are feminine, sexy and unique! There’s only one Sade.
Name four other artist you’d include in your own super group?
Missy Elliott, D’Angelo, Quincy Jones and Disclosure.
If you had to do a concept album with one producer, who would it be and why?
I would make a concept album with Nico Stadi, the same person who has produced most of my music. We’ve been through a lot together and understand each other creatively. Both Nico and I are students of music and still growing as artists. We listen to everything and learn something new every time we work together. I think we could create a country album together and it would still sound like me.
Name one song that you wish you’d written
Anything by Joni Mitchell. She is simply divine. Her lyrics paint such a beautiful picture. She’s very poetic, but still manages to connect with the listener. I just think she’s The Queen of Storytelling.
What’s the best and worst thing about being an artist?
The worst thing about being an artist is going through the artist’s struggle. But it’s also the best part too. You have to go through trials in order to discover your voice as an artist. All of your pain becomes a part of your story and art. It’s necessary for your growth and evolution. It’s really a human struggle. We’re all trying to uncover ourselves in a way.
Talk about the extra work and the rewards of opting to do music independently.
So much extra work. But it helps you to become a better artist. The more you’re involved in every aspect, the better you get. You have to be the leader of your vision. Even when you have a team and money. I’ve learned that now for sure.
Tell me about the first single “See You Girl” from your EP ?
“See You Girl” is a collaboration with Nico Stadi, D.A. Wallach and Warryn Campbell. It’s a song that celebrates women. We all have women in our lives that have provided us with comfort, love, strength and inspiration. I am so thankful for the many women who have loved, supported and inspired me.
What can fans that purchase your EP “Soul Siren” expect?
They can expect an EP that’s centered around the voice and around love. I always try to be positive with my music because it’s my therapy and I need love and light in my life. So I try to infuse that in my music. When compared to my first offering Metaphysical, Soul Siren has more R&B elements that you’ll hear in my vocals and the tracks. But it’s still diverse and eclectic with tracks that include electronic, synth and glitch vibes. Most importantly, they should expect to hear and feel me. When I write and sing, I always do it from the heart.
What’s the significance of the title Soul Siren?
I decided on the title Soul Siren because I really felt like I connected more with my soul and voice on this EP. Metaphysical was my first release and I learned a lot about myself as a woman and an artist from that experience. I explore that on Soul Siren. I am channeling my inner Siren and feel very powerful and connected when I sing these songs.
How do you use social media to your advantage?
It’s only been a year since I’ve been on social media. If it wasn’t for my music, I might have stayed in the dark ages of social media for a very long time. As an independent artist, I definitely appreciate the way social media has allowed me to connect with people who love my music (and by the way, they are really awesome people). After all, that is how I met you! I try to post about things that give insight into who I am and what inspires me.
What is your creative process like?
When I am in the studio with Nico, we usually start by talking about a vibe, a feeling or a song that has inspired us. From there, Nico will start playing with sounds and melodies to create a rough track. Next, I ad lib vocal melodies for each section until we piece together the form of the song. By the time I go home and start writing, I usually have a sense of what I want to write about just based on the feel of the vocal and the words I’m singing in my ad libs. The funnest part for me is when I go back to the studio and track the vocals for the backgrounds and harmonies. I’m happiest when I’m in the studio making music. It feels like heaven.
Name one thing fans would be surprised to know about you?
I’m really good at imitating other singers. My repertoire includes Shakira, Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears.
Sidibe’s latest EP Soul Siren is available now.
For a full stream of all of Sidibe’s music go to https://soundcloud.com/sidibemusic