Sirah originally caught my attention with her standout performance on the title track of Skrillex's last record, Bangarang. After digging a little bit, I discovered that the indie "hip pop" artist had recently dropped a mix tape, C.U.L.T., filled with catchy hip-hop infused, dancing-ready pop. I just had to know more...
For the latest info on Sirah and to download her mixtape, check out http://www.sirahmusic.com/.
You have such a unique tone and flow, do you remember the moment or period when you really felt like you had found your voice?
I feel like I really came into my own and found what it was I wanted to do musically about three years ago. I'd been an "underground" rapper for four or five years, I knew I wanted to branch out and work with a different medium. I didn't know what that meant at the time but I found my producer Mighty Mike and we started making pop based, melodic, singy rap, it was the same me, just a different side, happier music.
Who are some artists that you are currently finding yourself drawing inspiration from?
What I go to for inspiration always changes, I've been listening to J Cole, Drake and Macklemore a lot. I love Neutral Milk Hotel, Joni Mitchell, Juicy J, the Weeknd, I pretty much love everything.
Your current mixtape C.U.L.T. is generating a good deal of buzz. How long had that mix tape been in the works? What was the idea behind giving it away for free?
I got back from NY in December and the whole team figured dropping a mix tape would be the best way to go, it didn't take long to pull in together, we made most of it within two weeks. Giving it away for free only made sense, I released my first super rap project when I was about 19, then I had random pop stuff online and weird gully show videos, then the Skrillex features, everyone who stumbled upon me was confused so I wanted to give everyone something that better connected the dots.
Is there a specific track on C.U.L.T. that you are really proud of? A track that really surprised you with its outcome?
I think C.U.L.T. is more of an over all project, better as a whole. I don't listen to one song without listening to the whole thing. My favorites on it vary, but right now I would probably go with 'Motel Bible' and 'Blew Your Mind.'
I see that you are currently in the studio, are you working on a new LP or EP? If so, when can fans expect to hear it?
I'm generally always in the studio. I think I'm making an EP, I have no idea what kind of time frame we're looking at but I just want to have a solid body of work and keep creating new material.
How does the writing process normally pan out for you?
It really depends. Sometimes it looks like me in bed with copious amounts of coffee, sometimes it looks like I have a death wish as I attempt to record voice notes while driving cause a melody pops into my head. When I work with my producer it's seemingly flawless. We'll finish two to four songs in a session, write and record them.
Are you a continual writer, or do you find yourself writing in spurts?
I write every day, that could even be an understatement. It's obscene.
You are featured on the self-titled track from Skrillex's acclaimed album, Bangarang. How did the collaboration come about, and what type of impact has the success of that album had on you?
Skrill has been one of my best friends for about 6 years. For Bangarang he called me and asked me to record 16 bars and record them into my computer, so I did so in bed. Kyoto was the same idea, he was in town, he hit me up and had me go to his hotel the Kyoto Grand to write and record, he recorded me into a snowball mic into his laptop. It's always way easy to work with Skrillex and always organic. If we planned for something I doubt it would ever happen.
What kind of advice would you give to an independent artist, just starting up?
To any indie artists out there I would suggest asking yourself if you really have the heart to work for years without getting paid, tour 362 days out of the year, and if you could have people break down what you've made and who you are publicly, get up and do it again? I made this happen by showing up to every show, forcing my way onto the bill, booking my own tours, living in my car or at train stations when car-less, eating top ramen, and never giving up no matter what.
Tell me a little about how Trill Talk Tuesdays came together?
There's less than three degree's of separation between all artists and scenes in Los Angeles. So many people I came up with have branched out and forged into different genre's and scenes so I wanted to highlight some of the local talent and shed light on who I'm watching live, when I'm not in the studio.
How important is social media to an artist like yourself?
Social media is SO important to independent artists, its the platform that makes all things possible.
What are you up to next?
Trying to step up my social media game. I'll forever keep making the music I hear in my head.
Perfect day, driving in your car with the windows down, what are you listening to?
Cat Stevens a.k.a. Yusef Islam