One of the first things you notice about Sevyn Streeter when speaking to the singer-songwriter is the comforting tone of her Haines City, Florida accent. Then it takes only moments for her natural charisma to draw the listener in further. This is why it comes as no surprise that Sevyn’s music is attracting considerable attention from fans searching for a genuine artist - her personality truly fuels the product.
Sevyn gives you the heartfelt and heart-broken moments of experiencing love through her songs. She gives you the supportive and playful parts of being in a relationship through her social media posts featuring boyfriend B.o.B. She gives you honest and reflective observations through her interviews with the press. Every part of the person and the brand centers around being relatable.
After spending time penning hit records for Chris Brown (“Yeah 3x”, “Fine China”), Alicia Keys (“New Day”), Ariana Grande (“The Way”), Tamar Braxton (“All The Way Home”) and others, Sevyn is nearly ready to reveal even more of who she is by releasing her debut studio album On The Verge. The former girl group member warmed up the public to new tunes when she dropped the Shoulda Been There Pt. 1 EP this summer.
AllHipHop.com spoke with Sevyn Streeter about her latest musical work. The Grammy-winning writer also discusses working with her beau Bobby Ray, possibly entering into acting, and more.
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How will On The Verge be different from Shoulda Been There EP?
On The Verge will definitely have more features. It’s a little more of a variety. On a lot of Shoulda Been There I’m talking about a past relationship I was in. On On The Verge you get to hear records where I’m talking as if I’m putting a mirror up to myself and talking about the changes within myself.
I got a song called “Crazy Beautiful” that was kind of like therapy for me writing that record. I was able to really get into the things people may see in you and don’t understand about you. Things they may call crazy, but I see as beautiful. Like me being a little emo at times. It’s really personal.
[On The Verge] is a little more well-rounded. You get all the different sides of me. Of course I’m going to always talk about my experiences with life and love, so you’ll get that on there too. You'll also get tempo, more features, and more records with a little more depth.
Are you planning to drop a part two of the EP before the album?
I don’t know. Those records [on Shoulda Been There Pt. 1] came from a really crazy time in my life. At the current moment I’m good. I’m in a great space. It depends on how my life turns out over the next couple of months [laughs].
I may or may not. But Shoulda Been There Pt. 1 came from a particular set of experiences. So at the current moment I’m in a good space, and life is great. Work is great. Bae is great. We’ll have to wait and see.
Speaking of your bae, you released the song “Shoulda Been There” featuring B.o.B. The record was obviously written about someone else, but was it ever awkward to record a break up song with your actual boyfriend?
[laughs] No, that’s where both of us being artists really comes in handy. It works to our favor, because he understands that. He gets it. He understands that writing and singing these records is therapy for me. That’s what I do.
He’s an artist too. We all write about the things that we experience in life. No, it wasn’t crazy at all. If anything, it made the record more realistic, because he got to add his two cents. I love his verse. He killed the verse.
It just made everything more real. I want all my records to be that honest. He made the record more honest for me. So no, he wasn’t tripping at all [laughs].
I find it interesting how you two have so much fun together on social media. I have to tell you though, there’s one video you posted that had some guys afraid to go to sleep that night.
What post are you referring to? [laughs] We do have a lot of fun on social media. He’s a comedian. Sometimes he may have a little too much fun, and I have to remind him every now and then “don’t play with it babe.” It was all in good humor, but the message behind it was a real message [laughs].
I think we got the message [laughs]. You have such a great personality. Have you ever thought about acting?
I’ve actually been taking a lot of acting classes and going on auditions. I love acting. I’m really looking forward to getting into acting. I love it for me, because I feel like it’s another creative outlet.
Speaking of acting, you had a track on the Furious 7 soundtrack. Did being a part of that franchise open you up to a different audience?
Yeah it did. It’s always cool when you gain fans through different things that you do. Someone told me, “I was introduced to your music through the Furious 7 soundtrack.” I was really happy and excited about that.
The record - “How Bad Do You Want It” - it’s very much me, but it’s just a different side of me. I think that’s what music is supposed to do. When we’re in the studio, I don’t put myself in a box. I want to create whatever I feel.
Different sides of you, different types of music - they reach different people. So for her to say she got introduced to my music through the Furious 7 soundtrack, that made my day a little bit better. That’s the whole purpose of creating whatever I feel at the moment. I love that.
Going back to the album. Can you talk about some of the artists and producers you worked with for the project?
I have a record on there with Ty Dolla Sign called “Fallen” that I’m in love with. It’s produced by Cameron Wallace. He also did “Don’t Kill The Fun” for me. He’s going to have a couple of records on the album.
There’s a song called “Been A Minute” that’s featuring August Alsina. Me and him are both obsessed with it. We can’t wait for this record to be out. It was the first time doing a record together, and our voices vibed well. That was produced by Bangladesh.
I have records on there produced by Pop & Oak. I have records on there with Diplo. He did “Crazy Beautiful.” It was great to work with him again.
It’s a lot of dope producers and features. There are a couple of extra features that I’m going to leave as a surprise. But I’m excited about the whole project. It’s very true to who I am.
You posted a message on Instagram where you explained how the album title could mean being on the verge of something great. With this being your debut album, the title also suggests that you’re breaking out as an artist. Even though you’re already accomplished, do you feel underrated at all or that you’re not as appreciated on a mainstream level as other artists?
I have two answers for that. On one hand, I’ve been the type that believes God has everything happen exactly when it’s supposed to happen. I’ve never been one to feel like “I should be here.”
No, I’m exactly where God wants me to be. There’s things at the level that I’m at now that He wants me to pay attention to, He wants me to take hold of that thing that will take me to the next level. I’m very mindful of that… point, blank, period.
On the flip side, I do wish there was more equality in music. I’ve felt like this for a minute. I feel like if a record is a good record, I don’t think the person who’s singing the record should determine what format it’s played on. I feel like that happens a lot these days.
What makes a record be considered a "Pop record"? Really it’s a popular record, and I don’t think that it should be contingent upon whether a person is Black, White, Spanish or whatever. I don’t feel like what you look like should determine where your record is played. I feel like that happens a lot these days.
Tyrese made that point. He had the number one album in the country and Pop radio wasn’t playing his record. The same with Jill Scott. She had a number one album too, and her songs weren’t necessarily getting radio play. Then there are some people that feel radio is not as important as it used to be, because so much of music is internet based now.
I understand that. I’m completely aware of technology and where we are with that. I get that. But at the same time for some people who don’t have access to that, radio is what you hear day in and day out. It’s still plays a major part.
People can listen and buy music on the internet all day, but there’s still a huge majority of the world that listens to the radio. I think that everybody needs to bear responsibility and be held accountable for all of that and start to care a little more about it.
So you have the song “Don’t Kill The Fun” with Chris Brown. What was the most fun thing that you experienced this summer?
I’m pretty sure there are a lot of them, but the first thing that pops in my head is being part of the Furious 7 soundtrack and being able to perform “How Bad Do You Want It” at the premiere. That was on my bucket list. I always wanted to have a record on a soundtrack.
Not only was I blessed with being on the soundtrack, I got to perform at the premiere for Revolt. It was so much fun. I really enjoyed it.
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Stream Sevyn Streeter’s Shoulda Been There Pt 1 below and purchase the EP on iTunes.