Sy Smith Asserts Her Independence with Fast And Curious

Interview Conducted by David A. Mitchell

Sy Smith is a lady who’s truly independent. With three albums, 2 EPs, 1 greatest hits collection and a live DVD already under her belt, the singer-songwriter recently released her first album in four years. It’s titled Fast And Curious, through her own Psyko Records. We at Amalgamation are quite enthralled by the project as a whole and the self-starting philisophies of this young lady, who seems to stay on the road with more dates around the country to come. Visit www.sysmith.com for news and tour dates.

Your album is a wonderful amalgamation of various urban genres and soulful styles.

I wanted to make this album feel like a party in the rain forest. I would say it’s an Electronic album with a lot of Jazz leanings. [New Zealander] Mark de Clive Lowe, who produced the entire album, is a Jazz pianist and a DJ. He has the sensibilities to make some really interesting chord progressions and at the same time making tracks that move.

Is there an official single?

The first single is “Personal Paradise.” “Nights (Feel Like Getting Down),” featuring Rahsaan Patterson, was the introductory song that we initially sent to blogs.

What sparked you to remake the Billy Ocean classic and with Rahsaan?

The song has always been one of my favorites, and one I wanted to remake. Rahsaan Patterson was at my house for a party and we were talking about songs we’d like to remake. “Nights” came up, and I [jokingly] said, ‘Too late, you can’t do it. I’m already working on it.’ Literally, a couple of weeks later, he and I were in the studio recording it.

You put a unique spin on the lyrics and melody to “Lovergirl,” in a tribute song called “Teena.”

Two days after Teena passed away, Rahsaan and I spoke at length about Teena’s passing and what she and her music meant to us. I wanted to pay tribute to Teena in my own way. Vocally, I don’t sound anything like her. But I wanted to showcase what a brilliant lyricist she was, and that’s what was behind me arranging the song [“Teena”] the way I did.

What is your favorite song from this album?

I would say right now, “The Ooh to my Aah,” but my favorite is constantly in flux.

An Amalgamation favorite is “Messages from the Stars.”

That’s another remake from the 80s, a cult hit by the Rah Band. A lot of times we hear love songs and they are just so serious; they aren’t any fun. Love is not always about brooding, melancholy and all this drama. “I get messages from the stars, when you’re making love to me.” I thought that was a cool way to talk about love.

How important is it for you to maintain your independence?

It’s important to me to always make a living, if that means maintaining some semblance of independence, then so be it. The bottom line for me is making a living at doing what I really love doing.

Talk about the importance of directly engaging with fans.

I try and talk with as many folks as I can through Twitter and Facebook and let them know I appreciate them–one, just listening to my music; two, when they spend a little cash I appreciate that even more; and three, if I come to your city please come see me because it’s the only way I can keep continuing what I’m doing. Even with all the virtual friendships, I try and let people know we are human beings creating this music, and we have to eat, too.