Sevyn Streeter Dishes on Songwriting, Favorite Holiday Tunes, Working With Chris Brown, MoreFriday, December 07, 2012
But the pen isn’t her only talent; the microphone was her first love, as she graced the Apollo Theater stage and tied for first place at ten years old. And when someone lists Kim Burrell, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, and Yolanda Adams as vocal influences, you already know that person has pipes! She was a member of two girl groups, the first TG4, the second being RichGirl, who shared management with Chris Brown. When the group disbanded after four years, Sevyn jumped on the opportunity to begin a successful working relationship with Brown, with credits on joints such as “Next To You,” “Wet The Bed,” and “Yeah 3x.”
Signed to Chris Brown's CBE imprint under Atlantic Records, Sevyn is moving front and center as a solo artist; the world will finally be able to hear both her powerhouse voice and lyrics come together to form an artistic identity all her own. Her single “I Like It” hit the net in October and has been buzzing ever since.
Sevyn took some time to rap with Singersroom about the progress of her upcoming solo debut, working with Chris Brown, songwriting tips, her favorite holiday music, and more.
Singersroom: What did your family do to encourage your musical gift?
Sevyn: They’ve been really really supportive since forever. If there was a talent show that I wanted to do, they found outlets for me. They would look for talent shows, any place there was a stage, they would sign me up, and not for any other reason than because I wanted to. They’ve just always been really supportive from day one.
Singersroom: How’s the album coming along?
Sevyn: The album is coming along really, really well. We’re in the beginning stages of it, but so far so great, it’s been good. We’ve gone in with [producers] The Interns and The Runners and John Baptiste, Freelow, and of course Harmony, who did the single [I Like It] , so we’re off to a really good start, and I’m just really excited about it. We have some really great writers involved like Eric Bellinger, and it’s been really, really great.
Singersroom: Is it titled yet?
Sevyn: You know what? It’s definitely not titled yet, but I’m not sure if it’s gonna be self-titled, or if it’s gonna have a TITLE title. It’s worth the conversation, but for now it’s just “Sevyn’s First Album” is the name coming to my head. (Laughs)
Singersroom: How much will Chris Brown be involved with your debut album?
Sevyn: Well for one, Chris Brown can be involved as much as he likes cause he’s a little genius at what he does. He’s so creative writing-wise, as a performer, just creatively he’s amazing. So as much as Chris Brown wants to be involved, I welcome with open arms. We have a really good working relationship, we’ve worked together now for three years. I value his opinion so much, so in any kind of way he lends a hand, I’m appreciative for that.
Singersroom: What’s your best memory working with him?
Sevyn: I think it might be the first time we ever worked together, cause that was really, really cool. When you’re a fan of an artist, it’s different when you work with them for the first time. You already have these ideas; the image you already have in your head. It’s just really great to see and be around. Our first time working together was great, he was so open to my ideas and so supportive. If I had any ideas, he’d be like “Alright cool, let’s try that.” So I wanna say our first time working together, cause it was like wow, he really is cool. And he’s encouraging, he’s supportive, and creative and it was an overall great experience.
Singersroom: How do you feel about how the media portrays Chris?
Sevyn: Well, you have to keep in mind, everybody’s entitled to their own opinion. No matter how you feel about what someone has to say, at the end of the day you have to at least respect it. So in terms of the way the media portrays him, I respect everybody and their opinions and how they feel. And it doesn’t have to be a reflection of my own personal feelings or even yours, you know? So, I respect how they feel.
Singersroom: Out of all the songs you have writing credits on, what’s your favorite and why?
Sevyn: Hhmm, probably “Yeah 3x.” “Yeah 3x” is definitely my favorite because, for one it was my first placement ever. And to have it with an artist such as Chris Brown, it was an amazing feeling, a great accomplishment for me personally. And the process of doing that record, it was just fun. It’s an up-tempo, great time, great vibe kinda record, and that was definitely the energy in the room the night that we created it. So my favorite would have to be “Yeah 3x.”
Singersroom: When you were in Richgirl, the group opened for Beyonce. What was that experience like?
Sevyn: The Beyonce Experience, no pun intended, was definitely an experience every single night. That I Am... Tour, man, that’s something I could tell my kids one day. Beyonce’s gonna go down in history as probably the greatest female to ever do it, she’s amazing. I literally watched the show every single night. A lot of times when you’re on tour with somebody , after seeing the show a couple of times, you’re like cool, I’m just gonna go on the bus, I don’t have to watch the show tonight. You don’t do that on a Beyonce tour, you watch that show every night and I watched it every night, and she gave something different every single night. It got better and bigger every night. That experience was one of the best times of my life being on that tour.
Singersroom: I bet that was crazy!
Sevyn: Man! Like, am I really watching a Beyonce show every night? Shoot. It’s crazy! (laughs).
Singersroom: Right (Laughs). So do you have any tips for aspiring songwriters?
Sevyn: To never stop writing, no matter how frustrated you get. I know from personal experiences, you have to know when to walk away from a song. And I’m not saying quit on it, know when to walk away from it, don’t let it get you so frustrated that you sit there banging your head against the paper because you’re being counterproductive. It won’t come out that way anyway. So, put it down, walk away from it. I don’t care if you walk away from it for an hour, a day, or a week, but give yourself that time and that pass. It’s OK. You don’t have to have it all figured out right there, right now. Just know when to walk away from a song and give it time, cause the song is gonna come to you, no matter what, it’ll come.
Singersroom: With whom would you want to do a dream collaboration/duet with?
Sevyn: Uumm, honestly? Beyonce (laughs). I love her, she’s amazing, I would love to do a record with Beyonce.
Singersroom: The holidays are here. What’s your favorite Christmas song/cover by anyone dead or alive?
Sevyn: That’s a good question. I mean, you love your traditional O Holy Nights, Silent Nights. But Mariah Carey always does really great covers. Her Christmas album, that CD is probably so scratched up. I love her Christmas album. So, Mariah Carey’s Christmas songs, her version of O Holy Night, a bunch of them.
Singersroom: (Laughs) So you said that growing up you always wanted to be a singer. But if you weren't singing, what would you be doing?
Sevyn: I would definitely still be writing. I love writing, I would probably be a journalist. I think it’s interesting and telling the world about people’s lives and people’s journeys, I think that’s really cool, so I would probably be a journalist.
Catch Sevyn on Twitter @sevyn, and on Sevynstreeter.com.