STARTING off this week is Serapha...
who tells me about her latest song, That Feeling, and its background. I wanted to know how she got started in music and whether there are any particular albums that are especially important to her – she explains the significance of writing and producing her own work.
Serapha tells me about future touring plans and what she does when she has time to chill; a rising act we should watch and whether she’ll come visit us here in the U.K. – she chooses a great song to end things with.
Hi, Serapha. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey! I’ve been doing amazing. This week has been busy with a lot of music industry events going on, but that’s one of the great things about living in Los Angeles.
What is the weather like where you are? Have you got the same sort of warmth we have in the U.K. at the moment?
The weather has been really mild in Los Angeles, which has been nice, though I can empathize with the heat since I lived in the Arizona desert before moving to L.A. last year.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Yeah! I’m Serapha, a singer, songwriter; producer and engineer based in Los Angeles. I’ve been creating original music for about six years. After graduating from audio production school last year - when I was seventeen-years-old - I solidified my ‘newstalgic Synth-Pop’ sound.
That Feeling is your new single. Can you explain how it came together and what inspired it?
That Feeling is a song about my experiences leading up to graduating from audio production school and high-school simultaneously. I had to be extremely focused and work a lot more than normal, but there are always times when you sort of mentally block yourself. In order to control That Feeling and not shut down I can always count on making music.
The song talks about how important it is to keep everything in perspective in relation to the future, present and past. The song also mentions lifting others up - it is meaningful for me to mention being kind to everyone, as well as the importance of supporting talented women in the music industry - especially because in music production we are extremely underrepresented.
When I was creating That Feeling, I first came up with the synthesizer sound, which is what everything was based around. I automated its filter, added a decent sustain and kept it simple by using oscillators with square waves and a saw wave. I then added sounds around that. Then, when I finally added the guitar sound in the chorus, I knew that it was the ‘icing on the cake’ sound. When I listened back to the mix, I was, like, ‘yes! This is the sound!’ I then wrote down the lyrics that were on my mind as I simultaneously thought of melodies. The next day, I recorded and mixed the demo.
Once I moved to L.A. - two months after turning eighteen - I polished the demo then recorded it at the legendary Los Angeles Record Plant. I recorded it and co-mixed it with Alex Layne, who was great to work with! He has a great knowledge of audio production and has worked with artists like CHVRCHES, Marshmello; Sam Smith, Kendrick Lamar and ZAYN.
Fast-forward to now…I’m so excited to finally share That Feeling with the world!
Might there be more material coming later in the year?
Yes! I’ll be releasing a single this summer. It’s a really fun song and it’s a great continuation of my ‘newstalgic Synth-Pop sound! I plan on releasing the song title on my Instagram (@seraphamusic) a few weeks before the single is released.
You write, produce and engineer your music. Is it important to have that control and personal input?
Yes. It’s very important for me to have artistic cohesion in my music. I want people who listen to my music to be able to feel that the whole project was born in my thoughts then transferred into a song.
Tell me how you got started in music. Was it something you were always drawn to?
I was always drawn to different types of sounds. When I was three, I started playing around on my grandparent’s organ because I was fascinated by all the different sounds that it made. This led me to learn piano, then I ended up learning ten different instruments throughout middle-school and high-school (I mainly played Classical oboe and Jazz saxophone) as well as singing in choirs. I started to write and produce original songs when I was thirteen; then I took my self-taught production skills up a notch when I attended and graduated from audio production school at seventeen.
Once I turned eighteen, I drove six hours out of the desert in my Mini Cooper into Los Angeles where I’ve been living and been actively involved in the music industry ever since.
Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?
In 2017, I performed throughout Europe in a band - and it was incredible to see first-hand how powerful music can be because of how it connects with people and how it brings people together.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
One of my first inspirations to begin songwriting and producing when I was thirteen-years-old was Lorde’s album, Pure Heroine. The way that Lorde writes is so poetic and metaphoric - it was and still is inspiring. Billy Joel’s album, 52nd Street, also means a lot to me since my dad would always play Billy Joel’s music. I actually saw Billy Joel live in concert for the first time about a month ago and it was amazing to hear his songs live, decades after my dad had listened to them for the first time. It is amazing how his music is still relevant and great, many years after its creation. Also, CHVRCHES’ use of synthesizers and sound design in their album Love Is Dead is really inspiring since my songs are mainly sculpted around synthesizers.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
I’d support MARINA because I look up to her as an artist and I’d love for her audience to be introduced to my music. I’d probably go pretty simple with my rider and get water, watermelon and Belvita biscuits (they were my lunch almost every day when I completed high-school and audio production school in the same year – at this point they should sponsor me. Haha).
What are your plans regarding gigs/touring?
I’m looking forward to gigging in L.A. The sooner I start gigging with my original songs the better!
Will you come to the U.K. and perform at any point?
I’d love to perform in the U.K. again! I performed in London with a band in 2017 but I’d love to perform my original songs there sometime in the future.
Is there any advice you’d give to upcoming artists?
I’d give upcoming artists the same advice that I was given a few years back…which is that, if you are serious about something, there are also many other people who are serious about that same thing who are working many times harder than you, so it is important to always do as much as one can towards one’s goal in order to rise above the noise.
IN THIS PHOTO: Still Woozy/PHOTO CREDIT: Palmer Morse
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Yes! I recently saw Still Woozy live in Los Angeles and they were great! Lava came out shortly after I saw their show — it’s equal parts vibey and catchy.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
On the rare occasion that I get time to unwind, I like to drive to the Venice, Santa Monica or Malibu beaches.
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).
Santa Monica by Evelyn has been the soundtrack of my first year living in Los Angeles. The vocals, lyrics and production have many great elements!