A debut on Flyctory.com: this week, I am featuring a very special interview in my Spotlight interview category. While I typically present artists in here, I chatted with Sylvia Aimee about half an hour via zoom – about a single song. I already listened to her new song Identity, which will be released on 21st May 2021. I promise you that the song is amazing – another very straight and personal masterpiece. Even though I cannot present you the song (at the time of publishing at least, will add it to this posting at release), you will already know quite a lot about this beautiful song than you will know about other songs you in fact listened to. I had a great time with the friendly Dutch country artist, who just turned 25. Enjoy this special interview. We look forward to your feedback!
Some more Insights about Sylvia Aimee
Sylvia Aimee is not only debuting with this in-depth interview about her latest single – she is also the first artist who is featured in the Spotlight section for the second time. If you need some background about her, here is our initial interview as of May 2020:
Spotlight – Sylvia Aimee about “Identity”
FLYC: The last time we chatted was in May 2020. How have you been in the meantime?
Sylvia: It’s been quite a wild year. I lost my previous job in May 2020. Besides that I had a lot of gigs planned last summer, but obviously those fell through. It was quite stressful, because I didn’t really know what was next, but it also gave me a lot of time to redefine myself and luckily I found a new job that I like.
Of course, I continued creating music. Going back into the studio and recording these songs gave me something to hold onto in these difficult times. Music has always been a lifeline for me and I am very grateful for that.
FLYC: How have you been able to stay “visible” as artist, to stay in the minds of the people?
Sylvia: I hope that I did. These days, social media makes it easier to stay connected to people. Not being able to play shows made it a little more difficult to find new people though.
Also, shows are usually a way of testing new songs. You write a song, you play it live a few times and see how the audience reacts. The songs I’m about to put out didn’t go through that test. No one has heard them yet. I just went with my gut.
FLYC: This chat will be about your first song you are releasing now, Identity, which will be released on 21st May 2021. What made you write this track?
I wrote Identity in February 2020. I had just started working my first “grown-up job” and I hated it. I found myself wondering “Is this it? What’s the point?” I really did not get it. Especially at the beginning, it took a lot of my time and energy to get used to my new lifes. I just felt like I had no energy left for the things that I like, like music. Also financially, I was struggling. So I could not afford my music, I did not have the energy for it, I did not feel inspired by those grey office walls.
And it made me feel lost. I was not sure if I could be okay with this. If I could be happy with this. I thought to myself “Well, it looks like I’m not gonna be the next Taylor Swift. So who am I then?” I always had that dream to become a full time musician and artist, yet here I was working an office job that I hated. And I wasn’t sure if I liked myself if I wasn’t an artist.
That feeling of being a little lost is what inspired the song.
FLYC: At least at first sight, it is a very classic Sylvia Aimee song. It is very straight, focusing on the story, on your vocals. In what way do you feel you have you improved your skills while recording Identity?
Sylvia: Well, my thing is to just write down whatever I feel at the moment and be very honest with it. I always try to be unfiltered, pour my heart out. I never really try to improve my quality of lyrics, but I guess they naturally evolve as I grow a little older and wiser.
But when it comes to the production and mixing I’ve been a little more involved and critical this time, trying to really figure out what I like the sound of the songs to be. I spoke my mind more towards my producer Nick and didn’t settle for anything less than “perfect”. Of course it never really is “perfect”, but at least we tried really hard.
I also feel like these songs are more mature in a way. More me instead of something I try to be. But maybe I just leave it up to you and other listeners to find out what they feel like the growth is.
FLYC: I would definitely agree to that, and I will ask you something about it later as well. When we look into the songs, the first three lines are
Who would I be without this voice of mine
Who would I be without a melody and a rhyme
Who would I be without the music in me
That’s already quite a love letter to music. What does music mean to you?
Sylvia: Music means everything to me. This song is definitely about the love for music, but also about the fine line between love and hate, between a passion and an obsession. I kinda define all of me by “Sylvia the songwriter/artist/musician”, which might not always be the healthiest thing.
Identity is specifically about music, but I think and hope people that are not musicians will listen beyond that and relate to it in their own way. The song was written pre-Covid, but when Covid hit us, the song got a deeper layer to it. A lot of people couldn’t do their thing anymore. And that’s what this song is all about for me: Feeling like you can’t do your thing anymore and feeling lost because of it.
FLYC: You just called it obsession. In the chorus, one of the lines that struck me most was
It has more power than it should have over me
Is music also threatening to you in a certain sense?
Sylvia: I think that the thread in there is that I use music to measure my self-worth. It’s my purpose, my reason to be able to be proud of myself. I’ve always struggled with finding my place in the world. At school, I never fitted in or felt accepted by my peers. I always thought to myself, “You might not wanna be friends with me now – but just wait and see… I’ll do great things in life, I’ll go places. And you will regret the things you said to me.” I guess that’s why music became so important to me, it became my place in this world. My way out of feeling unwanted and underestimated.
I always felt so insecure about the way I looked and the way I had difficulty making friends. Music was the only thing that made me feel good about myself. And even now, I haven’t really found purpose in life beyond music and I sometimes feel like I should. I guess that’s the power it has over me, if that makes sense.
FLYC: Yes, absolutely! It also reminds me to when I was listening to the bridge. You say something similar there:
What is left of me when the dream has died
When the ship has sailed and all I ever did was try
When I heard it, I was asking myself: How important is it for you to be successful in music? How important to become a superstar, big with your music?
Sylvia: I think a part of me thinks it’s not important at all. If it was that important, I would probably make different decisions when it comes to which songs to put out. The most important purpose of my music is to express myself and make sense of life and my feelings.
But another part of me wants to be recognized and appreciated. I want people to be impressed with what I do and applaud me.
I always looked at stardom as the ultimate fitting in. If you are a superstar, everybody wants to be your friend. At the same time I know that’s not true. Fame is probably very lonely and empty, but it sure looks shiny from the outside.
FLYC: I felt a touch of superstar attitude, when I listened to the chorus. At the end of it, it was the first time you use a backing choir, which is also a very cheerful element to connect with the audience. I guess that’s part of that “making the song more perfect” thing. Are these things something you come up with? Or is it suggested by the mixing, the producer?
Sylvia: The funny thing is when I wrote all these new songs, I felt like my next project was gonna be more traditional country, more acoustic, emotional, lyric-focused. For this song I imagined the production to basically be an electric guitar and maybe some soundscapes. Keep it small and dreamy.
I got into the studio and we started messing around with the song. I think it was Nick who added the pulse bass to the chorus, which gives it a modern vibe and adds a lot of energy. We both got excited about it, so we went with it. And there was not much left of the “small production”. I thought of the “ohohoh” part as we were recording.
FLYC: Coming back to a line I quoted already – what would be the point in your life when you would say the ship has sailed and all I ever did was try? So, when would you feel your musical career did not succeed?
Sylvia: Well, I think that kind of goes in waves. I would never stop making music, because I just enjoy it too much. Even if no one is listening, I would still continue doing it. But every now and then, like now I’m getting caught up in a release, my expectations build up again and I feel disappointed in myself when those expectations aren’t met. Because the sad truth is that on release day, nothing really happens most of the time. The world just keeps on spinning, even though it feels like a big moment to me. And that’s okay, it is part of the game.
Sometimes you just have a bad day and you feel like shit about yourself. That’s when music becomes too painful, because it makes me feel like a failure. When I wrote that line, it was one of those days. Then it feels like I give so much and try so hard, but nothing comes back. But then the next day, I wake up, come to my senses and realize it does give me something back; a whole lot of joy. My sensible mind knows the ship can never truly sail.
FLYC: You just said that release day is always some sort of depression day. If you dream of a certain fan or public reaction, what would be something you like to achieve with Identity.
Sylvia: I know it is really hard to have overnight success. It is all a process, small steps. I hope that “my fans” will feel the honesty in the song and they can relate to it somehow.
Another thing that would be really cool is Spotify putting it into an editorial playlist. That would be a huge milestone and also something that would help me expand my audience. Numbers are just numbers, but it does feel good when you hit a milestone like 10.000 streams in the first two weeks.
Eventually I just hope to see some growth. I want this release to do better than the previous one, but worse than the next one.
FLYC: That was about all what I wanted to ask about Identity. But you mentioned a couple of times that there will be more songs coming soon. Is there something you can tell us about already? What’s your plan for the rest of the year? Touring is hard to plan, I guess?
Sylvia: Yes! I am gonna focus mostly on releasing and, of course, as soon as the the world opens up again, I’ll start playing some shows. The releases will build up to my second EP. With my previous EP Superhero I released two singles and then the full EP. This time I’m gonna release every song as a single and in the end those songs together will form the EP. So you can expect five singles and also acoustic versions of the songs. The EP is all about my identity, figuring out who I am. A lot of personal, vulnerable lyrics on there I can’t wait to share with the world!
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