His life isnt the average rags to riches Hip-Hop story. As a matter of fact, there are no rags or riches involved this time. Instead, its a story about understanding every framework of creative expression and hearing Hip-Hop in its purest form. Former Phat K.A.T.S member and current affiliate of Deepspace 5, Sivion has an unparalleled approach to creating soulful, head-bobbing Hip-Hop. Having circulated a buzz in the underground for quite sometime, hes recently released his sophomore solo album titled, Spring of a Songbird. Backed by his label, Hip-Hop IS Music, Sivion has pieced together a sound that embodies traces of Funk and Jazz with top notch beats, making it clear that he holds a true passion for his craft.
Although its not uncommon for rappers to show their appreciation to God, many might not keep that in the forefront when writing their rhymes. Sivion has managed to accommodate his listeners without compromising his faith. Here is his story.
AllHipHop.com: What does the name, Sivion mean?
Sivion: Basically, I accidentally misspelled vision, which was my previous stage name, in an email to Wushu and he thought it was super sick. The S and V were the letters I switched by mistake and the rest is history.
AllHipHop.com: With God playing a prominent role in all of your songs, would label yourself a Christian rap artist?
Sivion: Im a Christian rap artist only if it makes you feel better about yourself. But realistically, Im just a Christian that raps. I dont rap exclusively for Christians and my music isnt targeting for the choir, so Im probably not a Christian rapper in that sense that other more prominent Christian rappers are. Im just Sivion a Christian that raps.
AllHipHop.com: There was some dissatisfaction with the promotion and distribution of Deepspace 5s Unique Like the Rest of Us. How do you feel about Spring of a Songbirds promotion and distribution?
Sivion: I am very pleased with the promotion and distribution of Spring of a Songbird so far. To be honest, I had no major problems with the distribution of Unique Like the Rest of Us just because Gotee was able to get our music in places it hadnt been prior to working with them. Same goes for Spring, Hip-Hop IS Music has been able to introduce my music to a whole new market with Europe and Japan, as well as the underground general market.
AllHipHop.com: With the exception of DS5, because of the content of your music, do you ever feel isolated in the Hip-Hop industry today?
Sivion: Not really. Any isolation is just because not enough people have heard my music yet, but that is changing daily. Good music is good music, no matter what you are accustomed to listening to. There is room in this art for all of us, just gotta find my niche in it.
AllHipHop.com: Spring of a Songbird is off of Hip-Hop IS Music, which is Braille from Lightheadeds indie label. How did you hook up with him, you being from Texas and him being from Oregon?
Sivion: We met for the first time at my man, Freddie Brunos house for a BBQ a couple years ago. Lightheaded was on tour and passing through Dallas. He really dug my music and told me that he wanted to work with me on his new label once he got it up and running. Then a year or so later, he called me to let me know that it was official and that was all she wrote. He seemed super intelligent when I met him and that only increased with each conversation, so I was down like James Brown.
AllHipHop.com: You choose not to swear in your lyrics, do you find that its easier for you to get your point across without doing so?
Sivion: Absolutely. There was a time when I used to swear to make my point, but the more I dont swear, the more I see that theres really no point to it. If you cant convey a message using plain English, then whats the point? Now-a-days, most rappers use curse words as a filler in between the meat and potatoes of their message, so I just cut the filler out and get straight to the point.
AllHipHop.com: Your music seems to go against what the media portrays Hip-Hop music to be. You dont talk about money, cars, or hoes, so to say. With that said, do you contribute that more to your relationship with God, or because of your distaste for the actual content of many rap songs?
Sivion: Its a bit a both. If it werent for my relationship with Christ, I probably wouldnt have any perspective on what could possibly be wrong with the content of many rap songs. There is so much life outside of sex, drugs, cars, clothes, and hoes. I pray that one day more heads realize that.
AllHipHop.com: How do you feel about artists such as Mase, who left the game to become a preacher, only to return and sign with G-Unit, or Kanye West who made one song about Jesus and at the same time brags about the size of his Jesus piece?
Sivion: To be honest, I dont really focus a lot of my attention on cats like that. God can use anything to reach people. There is a reason why Mase did what he did and ended up where he did. Same with Kanye. I cant judge them, nor will I try. They answer to God everyday, just like I do whether they want to or not.
AllHipHop.com: This album contains a lot of Jazz influences throughout it, you also play the saxophone on a couple songs, was that something you learned as a child or was it something you got into as you grew towards a career in music?
Sivion: I definitely learned how to play the sax as a child. My father was huge into jazz, so that was most of what I listened to growing up. I naturally gravitated towards saxophone, Ive been playing for over 20 years. I think it adds a whole new dimension to my music.
AllHipHop.com: Youve done some performances at churches, how does that differ from other venues youve performed at and is it hard to convince them to let you perform Hip-Hop there?
Sivion: In this day and age, Hip-Hop is more widely accepted at church functions. Though it is still not common in an actual Sunday service, many churches love to get Hip-Hop involved in their youth ministry functions. Its different from rockin at secular venues because the positive message is more easily accepted at the church, but dont get me wrong, having one person feel my music at the clubs makes it all worth the trip.
AllHipHop.com: For all the Phat K.A.T.S fans, will we be hearing any more from you and Washu?
Sivion: Its definitely possible. Wu is at a different place in his life now, though hes still an avid Head he just has a different focus which takes him away from the active artist side of Hip-Hop. But keep your fingers crossed, a Phat K.A.T.S reunion album would be sick!
AllHipHop.com: You worked with a lot of close friends on this album, Ohmega Watts, Braille, Playdough to name a few, was there anyone you wanted to work with but didnt get a chance to?
Sivion: I think LMNO would be dope to work with. Lady Bug from Digable Planets or even Lauryn Hill. Cats dont really just randomly collab with females like they should. I would love to get down with a dope female MC that would be really fresh.
AllHipHop.com: Whats your ultimate goal in this whole music industry?
Sivion: My goal is to have fun touching lives doing this thing that I love. If money comes, great, if not, Im still gonna do this thing that I love, which I believe I was born to do.
AllHipHop.com: Any last things you want to say?
Sivion: Big ups to AllHipHop.com for the opportunity to share my story. Thanks to Braille for letting me release a gem of a record on his label. Thanks for the interview, Tara. In the precious name of Jesus, Word Up!