Siya Speaks With Blurred Culture About Her New “Commitment” EP [INTERVIEW] BC ARTIST PROFILE: SIYA
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Meet your new favorite female MC Siya. The California-based artist grew up in Bed-Stuy and overcame a lot of challenges to ending up the successful singer, songwriter, and actor she is today. You can find Siya on the newly released Netflix original Deuces, playing Diggs. She has also been a long time cast member of Oxygen’s Sisterhood of Hip Hop. I recently got the chance to speak with her about her new Commitment EP, her creative process and what it’s like being a woman in the industry.
How have fans been liking your latest Commitment EP?
They love it especially because my fan base is predominately women. So for me to do to a whole EP geared towards women and for women and to make them feel appreciated and loved through music is was phenomenal.
Some of my favorites: Don’t You (Say Yes) Feat. Tank and Front Door
That’s so crazy because lately what I’ve been doing is I’ll be in the studio and I don’t even write no more what I do is I’ll be in the engineering myself and I’ll put the microphone right next to me and just flow. Whatever comes out of me I flow I don’t even write no more it gets to the point where I lay down the melody and then I’ll come up with the words as I go.
I know you produced everything on SIYAvsSIYA, did you do the same with your Commitment EP?
Yea everything, I’ve been writing, mixing, engineering everything you can think of start to bottom from scratch since I was 13.
Has growing up in Bed-Stuy influenced your music?
Bed-Stuy is my music, where I grew up is one of the roughest projects in Brooklyn. Shit in New York period. Me running the streets, you know I was wild back then. I was a rebellious teenager I put my family through a lot of shit. But I feel like me getting into the streets really shaped me as a woman. I had to see the bottom and really touch it and feel it and be in the midst of it to become half of the woman that I am today. So yeah without Bed-Stuy, without Roosevelt projects I wouldn’t be shit.
I know Bone Thugs were a big influence in your music? What was it about their music that moved you at such a young age?
Yeah, it’s so funny because now I’m good friends with Bizzy Bone. Their melodic sound, that’s how I’m able to be as melodic as I am. I’ve been in writing since I was seven
What moment in your career told you that this is what you wanted to do with your life?
I think it’s always been a part of my career, it’s always been me saying it is my career. It just took for me to grow up to actually realize that there’s nothing else that I can do besides music. Music is everything for me it’s what I breathe I think about it 24/7 it’s my first love, my first true love. But I think when it really hit me is when I got out of jail when I was younger. I had to go through dumbshit, sell drugs, be in the streets, get locked up, [and] almost get killed a few times. For me to realize instead of me fuckin around with that shit I could really focus and buckle down on my music and be respected for it, be somebody’s inspiration.
Since you do write and produce everything, what is your writing process?
The inspiration, I have to figure out where I get the inspiration from. But I find inspiration in everything just throughout a regular day for me. I’m a pretty on the whim type of artist too if I feel it at this very moment I need to go to the studio and lay it down. I gotta feel it right then and there. And it’s weird because the times that I used to write I couldn’t write in headphones I had to go to the studio and blast the beat and sit there in front of the speakers and stand in the corner and just zone.
What’s it like being a woman in this industry?
Being a woman in the industry is hard enough. But being a female MC in the industry is a whole other ball game because it’s a male-dominated industry. It’s very seldom and you’re lucky if men in this industry take you seriously or even respect you. And I’ve definitely earned the respect of my peers from being in the industry.
Have you faced any specific challenges?
Scrutiny, we all do, for one the main thing would be your image. Growing up for me image was a deal breaker for a lot of people who wanted to work with me because of my talent but chose not to because I wasn’t willing to compromise who I am and change my image up for the industry. But now times change its a different generation nobody gives a shit about how you look. If you gay, straight, it don’t matter. As long as you make your music, and you know these kids don’t care about music for real. They just want a tight beat and a couple A-B-C rhymes and they’re satisfied. Which is another hardship for me as an artist because I’m such a lyrical artist.
What female MC’s have inspired you?
Where do I start? Lady of Rage, Left Eye, Lauryn Hill, Missy Eliot, Aaliyah even though she’s not an MC but the list goes on.
How has it been, going from projects in Bed-Stuy to where you are now?
For me personally its no change because I’m still the same me. To some, I might have changed but in a positive way. I realized things around me were meant to happen the way they did so I could get here. I belong here I’m right where I’m supposed to be at this very moment. Everything is your own timing you can’t rush it you can’t force it. When it’s meant to happen in a major way its gonna happen. I’ve been on TV for three years star of a TV show, I got a movie coming out Saturday called Deuces on Netflix, it’s a Netflix Original. Me, Laurence Tate, Megan Good, Rick Gonzalez, Timmy Lala. I’m about to drop a whole other album cause my whole thing was I wanted to do three albums in the span of six months. I’m gonna drop the next album before June its called 383 for Roosevelt. 383 is the building I grew up in, in my projects. And for Roosevelt, Roosevelt projects is where I’m from.
Kimberly Quitzon is a L.A. based music journalist and digital marketer...follow on social media: @kimquitzon.