MY only interview of the weekend is with SVRCINA...
who has been telling me about her new single, Insecure, and filming its amazing video. I ask whether there might be more material coming along and what it was like finding Insecure on Spotify playlists; what Nashville is like as a base and which rising artists we need to watch out for.
SVRCINA discusses her musical process and upbringing; how she unwinds away from music and the albums that mean the most to her – she selects a pretty cool song to end the interview and provides some treasured memories from her career.
Hi, SVRCINA. How are you? How has your week been?
Oh my heavens, hello! Thank you so much for asking! I’m doing well and my week has been wonderful so far. The weather in Nashville has been a bit cold and rainy but I’ve been cosy working from my apartment, drinking endless amounts of coffee and tackling more administrative aspects. BUT, starting tomorrow, I’ll get to be creative and have writing sessions the rest of the week! I hope your week is off to a spectacular start also!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Yes! My name is SVRCINA and I’m an independent, Alternative-Pop artist based in Nashville, TN. Originally from Dearborn, MI, I moved to Nashville in 2010 with my parents at fourteen after signing my first publishing deal. Living and working in Nashville has been a slow and steady journey and the artist I am now is not the artist I thought I would be when I moved...but I’m so grateful for the refining process.
A study abroad trip to China in 2016 really sparked something in me and it led me to start expanding and exploring what collaboration looked/sounded like with creatives in other major music cities around the world, like London and Berlin. The process of traveling and meeting so many new people and experiencing different cultures has really inspired and shaped the music I’ve been creating. It’s been an adventure experimenting with blending Pop and light/ethereal elements with global flavors, merging Nashville with the international music community.
Insecure is your new single. Is it based on personal experiences?
So. I confess the song wasn’t initially inspired by a specific experience but, on many occasions, I have related to the overarching themes of being willing to recognize when you’re in an extremely unhealthy relationship and regaining a sense of freedom and independence by establishing personal boundaries. It’s an important song for me because, even as a little girl, I can remember so many instances of wrestling with severe insecurity; trying to please everyone around me to the point of simply not being truthful and feeling totally paralyzed in fear. I found that trying to play the field of ‘people pleasing’ accomplished quite the opposite every single time and, whatever situation I was facing, it always escalated in the wrong direction with all parties involved.
The confidence expressed in the song isn’t embracing being arrogant but rather advocates being both loving and honest. I don’t think I really grasped that it was possible to be both at the same time but, as I’m learning that it is, I’m also learning that, when necessary, it’s really okay to draw healthy boundaries.
The video looks pretty cool. Was it cool working on that?
It was such an awesome experience! I am in total awe and admiration of Bree Marie Fish and her crew for her amazing creativity for this video. We had a brainstorming session with Bree and my manager and team at Resin8 Music, Wendy Duffy and Emma Smith. We really dove in and talked through the core message of the song and what would aesthetically feel authentic. Bree’s concept sparked from the themes of recognizing when a relationship is unhealthy and exercising the freedom to establish personal boundaries. We also talked through the project as a whole and certain goals we are trying to accomplish visually, combining ethereal and sophisticated elements with a global feel wherever possible.
Creating a music video is new territory for me, so it was majorly helpful to process everything together and really stretch myself to think outside the box in how a universal concept could be expressed in a different, artful way. After our round table discussion, Bree created the video concept and sent our team a treatment and there was no question in our minds that this direction was a super creative way to go.
What was it like seeing the song promoted by Spotify and featuring on their playlists?
I just went in waves of crying! Haha. I’m definitely a sentimental person and was constantly overwhelmed - knowing how many people are involved - and worked so hard to bring the song to life. As an independent team, everyone was so generous with their creativity and have been relentless advocates. So, to catch a glimmer of Spotify’s support and see it start to immediately resonate felt like the biggest high-five and hug for our entire team.
Might we see more material coming soon?
Yes! We’re releasing a project, single-by-single, and have some collaborations sprinkled in between! Our next release is a collaboration set for March 1st with Enhanced artist Man Cub. I wrote the topline with a dear friend and collaborator, Michael McEachern, and am super-excited about it. The next single from my project is set for March 29!
Which artists were important to you growing up? Who do you rank as idols?
Growing up, Christian and Praise and Worship music were foundational for me and I gradually started expanding and fell in love with Country music and then Adult Contemporary and other genres (you could say that I’m an old soul). I would come home from school and practice different songs from artists like Natalie Grant, Brooke Fraser; Rascal Flatts, Faith Hill; Reba, Patsy Cline and Céline Dion. It’s a bit all over the map but, once I moved to Nashville and started working, that’s when my perspective started to shift and even more so in the Pop/Electronic space starting in 2014. I have always been drawn to singers that are super-emotional.
Nashville is where you are from. Is it a great city to get inspired by and find opportunities?
Although I wasn’t born in Nashville, it has truly become my home. The journey of living and working in Nashville has been completely transformative and I can’t overstate how much I’ve learned here and how grateful I am for the community. The city is growing and evolving just as much as the people and it’s been so exciting to have a front row seat to the changes, to watch up and coming artists/producers/writers of all genres succeed and play a role in being creative.
There are so many that I’m completely inspired by and, on the whole, I’ve found the community to be extremely supportive of one-another and openhearted to collaboration!
Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?
That’s so tough. I have so many.
But, if I can combine a set of memories, early last year I took a giant leap of faith and spent three months living and working in Berlin, Germany. In that season, my publisher was an arm of Kobalt Music and the Kobalt Berlin team was extremely gracious to pair me with many producers and writers in the local community. I fell so in love with the city, the people and the creative community there.
Everything about that season was so far outside my comfort but it was a pivotal and most refreshing time of creative and personal discovery. And, in that time, the lightbulb went on in so many ways for me and my team and helped us set the course for the artistic direction visually/sonically with all these new releases!
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Definitely a pretty eclectic mix here but here we go:
Rascal Flatts - Feels Like Today
I confess the song God Bless the Broken Road was the original spark that inspired me to want to be a singer. At eight, I essentially heard the song and saw the music video and somehow determined that singing was something I wanted to do in some form or fashion for the rest of my life. I would come home from school and run down to the basement in our house, turn on the album and practice singing to all the songs for hours. I love the storytelling aspect of Country music and this was my first introduction to the genre.
Brooke Fraser – Albertine
I don’t even remember who introduced me to this project but I remember buying it when I was twelve (probs my mom buying it; thanks mom!), and it was the first artist I was exposed to that wrote all her own songs. I would listen to the album from top to bottom, over and over again; reading every word in the C.D. lining and enthralled by how beautifully poetic the lyrics were. And, even in my limited understanding of the meaning to most of the songs, I was inspired by the idea of using music as a vehicle to say something meaningful.
Ellie Goulding - Halcyon Days
I have one older brother, Dallas, who’s four-and-a-half years older than me. After he left for college and started working, my mom would always encourage us to not lose touch with each other...but for us to do everything we can to build/strengthen our relationship no matter what direction our lives took. My brother is a true music lover and has such a great ear. He started sending me artists he was discovering and sharing new music became a way we started building a genuine friendship.
I remember this album was one of the first that he shared and I completely fell in love with every single song and even more with the idea that we’d found something to relate to each other. Right around that time, I was also just beginning to explore pop music artistically so this album became a significant reference point.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Great question. There are so many artists I would honestly fall over to support. I feel like I’d probably say someone different in different seasons but a dream would definitely be to support an artist like Clean Bandit. I love their creative approach, infusing global elements and the way they collaborate with other artists. They’re super-inspiring to me and supporting them would be a total slice of heaven.
And, ideally, I’d keep the rider vibe super-low-key but I confess coffee would always be embraced with an open heart (and is very essential to my creative process and overall existence).
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
I’m learning so much every day and I’ve barely scratched the surface but maybe the first thing that comes to mind is to embrace the slow and steady process of creative exploration, enduring rejection; doing a deeper search for the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ and seeking true wisdom from those you trust. I learned there are no shortcuts around the process of refinement and, while it can feel excruciatingly slow and painful, growth upon a solid foundation is crucial for longevity.
I also believe it’s super-important to not allow your heart to be hardened/jaded by disappointment and rejection. Both are part of the process and it will wonders for your level of joy, if you can allow them to build within you character and perseverance and embrace an element of flexibility for your journey to go in maybe a different direction than you thought.
Do you think there are going to any tour dates coming up?
I believe so, yes! We’re planning for an L.P. release show in Nashville sometime mid-May and looking at possibly some potential tour dates in the late May/June realm!
How important is performing? Do you prefer it to life in the studio?
In this season of being an artist, performing is a definitely a newer element to incorporate - but a hugely significant one for me. My manager, Wendy Duffy, and I and our growing team have been spending the last five years really digging into the artist development process and everyone has been so patient and gracious. But now that my project is coming together, I’m so ready to start sharing it in the live setting.
As for preference, I don’t think I have one. I love the creative process. Being able to dig for the best performance in the studio and creating melodies never gets old but then, once it all gets put together, being able to express a song live is totally fulfilling in a different way!
IN THIS PHOTO: Daniella Mason
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
There are so many incredible artists in the Nashville area that are slaying and super-inspiring. To name just a few: Super Duper, Daniella Mason; Sam Tinnesz, Fleurie; SOLARSUNS, Sarah Reeves; Stela Cole, Brigetta and Jon Santana.
IN THIS PHOTO: Sarah Reeves
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I do love music so much, so working is definitely not something I dread. But it is important to step away and refresh! I'm a fervent advocate of a quality dinner party. Haha. Probably one of my favorite things in the whole world is wrapping up the day and just sitting at the kitchen table, or sharing a cup of coffee with my mom or family or friends and having quality/deep conversations about life.
Sometimes, I feel like a granny but I really do love sharing stories; hearing/learning about other people’s lives and just chatting - maybe playing a card game or some antique shopping or something delightful like that. And, if it’s super-low-key (as in, I’m by myself), deep cleaning/re-organizing is an extremely relaxing/satisfying option.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Human - Daniella Mason