Sevyn Streeter is back with her recently released “Drunken Wordz Sober Thoughtz” album. The project is her first body of work since leaving Atlantic a few years back. We talk to the singer/songwriter about life as an independent artist and what it took for her to put out her album. We also touch on some of standout records on the album including the D’Mile produced “Taboo”. Lastly we discuss Sevyn’s early come up with Chris Brown as she reflects on her grind as a songwriter and the hours that she had to put in to develop her songwriting ability.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Take us through the journey of putting your new album “Drunken Wordz Sober Thoughtz” together and what went into it.
Sevyn Streeter: With “Drunken Wordz Sober Thoughtz”, it’s been 3-4 years since I put out a project so a couple of a different things happened throughout that time. We’re people, we don’t feel the same way every single day. We go through so many different things. For me, I lost my uncle to cancer. I went from being on a major to going independent and owning my masters. I went from being in a relationship and then going through a breakup and now feeling out the dating world. It’s so many emotions so with “Drunken Wordz Sober Thoughtz”, it took on a different meaning for me. I wanted to give myself permission to be as honest, truthful, authentic and genuine as I could at the very moment that I felt any type of emotion. I wanted to write from that space. Every song comes from how I felt at that very moment. That’s how each song was specifically curated. It wasn’t “What if it’s not radio enough?”.
YouKnowIGotSoul: You had previously released songs like “Yearnin'” and Whatchusay” but they aren’t on the album. What was the process to getting to the finished product?
Sevyn Streeter: I was just playing around with different pockets of R&B and not feeling like I had to sing a certain type of R&B. As I was releasing those records, I never stopped recording. In between those songs, there would be 10 more songs recorded and I’d be like “Is this how I feel right now? Okay this one can stay, let that one go”. The next thing I know, it was a whole different body of work. The album from 2-3 years ago is completely different than the one you guys have. Records aren’t over until the fat lady sings, so I’m going to keep recording all the way up until we have to put the record out.
YouKnowIGotSoul: At what point did you know it was time to put the record out? You’re always in the studio coming up with new songs and that grind never stops.
Sevyn Streeter: I knew I wanted to do around 14 songs. Even with records that didn’t make like “HMU” and “Kissez”, I loved those records but I wanted this particular body of work to have a certain mood and tell a certain story. This body of work is a little dark and a little alternative at moments. It’s still rooted in R&B though.
YouKnowIGotSoul: You’ve been through label situations in your career before, so what was different this time around?
Sevyn Streeter: I had amazing experiences at major labels and I learned a lot. I got to take the little tools from other situations that I had and I applied it to the situation that I’m in now. When you’re independent, you’re leading your own ship. It’s things like “How do I want the visuals to look like?”. There’s so many different things and I think biggest thing that I’ve appreciated in this new space is that I love to learn. You always want to be better and in this situation, I’m super hands on and I’m learning more than I’ve learned ever.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Going from a major to independent is a big career transition. Was there any fear on your end?
Sevyn Streeter: I think that anytime you’re leaving one situation and going into another, it’s always going to be a little scary. That’s normal and that’s life. It’s like when you graduate from high school to go into college, it’s a new playing field and you have to figure out how everything moves. I think something that has sustained me the most is my relationship with God and learning myself more. Throughout the pandemic, we all spent so much time with ourselves. I was trying to figure out what I was trying to say and what I wanted my art to look like. It was scary until I sat with myself and did the work. It’s always scary until I write things down on my vision board. I can look at it and it’ll start to make sense. If there was any doubt, it was in the unknown. Once you get to know yourself a little better, it’s “Let’s figure it out and let’s have fun”.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Watching your growth as a business women has been great to see. Your music videos look like they’re professionally done and you’re not cutting any corners when it comes to that.
Sevyn Streeter: Yeah, I love what I do. I have been through a lot in this industry, but nothing in the world will ever stop me from being a creative and living in that purpose. For me, I just want everything to be the best that it can be. I’m glad it’s received that way because I do care. People spend their hard earned money on our art. I don’t take that lightly have and I never have. I want to make it the best it can be.
YouKnowIGotSoul: We saw an intersting tweet recently where someone had said “I miss the old Sevyn” and you responded to it.
Sevyn Streeter: I thought that was interesting and I like talking to my fans to see what songs they like. I appreciated the fact that they’re in love with the other bodies of work because I am too. Those are other sides of me, but I meant what I said. It ended up being a great conversation between me and the fan. I asked her “Are you the same person that you were 5 years ago?” and they said “Absolutely not”. That’s the thing that people don’t realize, we’re really no different but we just live public lives. We go through the same things though. I literally write from the things that I see everyday. Sometimes I pull from the past, but for the most part, I just want to be immersed in how I feel right now and speak truthfully to that art. Everytime you get new art from me, please don’t expect the same kind of art. I appreciate people liking everything, but it’s never going to be the same thing.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Take me through the creation of “Taboo” which is a fan favorite right now.
Sevyn Streeter: “Taboo” is a special record. Shout out to Alexander O’Neal. We love playing with samples over in the Streeter house. We stay on the shoulder of giants and I love Alexander O’Neal. D’Mile sent us this pack while I was in the studio with Micah, Eric Dawkins and Vincent Berry. We were in all in the session and we ran across this beat. Micah got up and started dancing like an 80’s R&B artist. We looked at him and he was like “This feels really good”. I call Micah my musical hubby. We wrote “It Won’t Stop” and “Before I Do” together. Eric Dawkins is an OG and his discography is crazy. He did all of those hits from The Underdogs plus his gospel stuff. He’s such an amazing songwriter. Vincent Berry did “Sandcastles” for Beyonce. It’s their approach to the music and they care about the melodies. It ended up being a great discussion and we wanted to make the best song that we could. D’Mile also made that beat like 20 years ago. *Laughs*
YouKnowIGotSoul: Talk about “Feelz” with Lucky Daye. There’s a line in the song that goes “I know that it was good love, that don’t mean that it was real love”.
Sevyn Streeter: Sometimes things may feel good to us especially in the moment, but you wake up the next morning and you’re like “It may not have been real, but it’s good”. I love the story of how these songs were built. We started the record in Orlando with Kevin Cossom. He’s an amazing songwriter. We brought it to LA and we had a session with Eric Hudson. He’s crazy on that bass and he’s such an amazing producer. He added his special things to it and it ended up becoming a really beautiful record. Lucky’s vocals are like velvet. Lucky can literally sing the alphabet to anybody and it’ll sound dope because his voice is amazing. Drew Love was also part of that song and he came in on the second verse with us. I love collaborations when their intention is to make the best part.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Lastly, let’s talk about the song “Liquor Courage”. I don’t think this album exists without this song.
Sevyn Streeter: “Liquor Courage” is the oldest song on the project. That song is probably 4-5 years old. It was the first song that sparked the direction of the project. I know that I was really upset when I wrote it. I was dealing with my ex and it just bothered me. That song is the oldest kid of the bunch, but it held us down and helped create the rest of the project.