By// Starrene Rhett Rocque
At only 26, singer/songwriter Sevyn Streeter already has a decade of music experience on her resume. The Haines City, Florida native got her professional start at 15 in the girl group TG4, and then she ended up in RichGirl. However, in the fickle music industry longevity can be fleeting. Following her stints as a group artist, Streeter tapped into her connections and talents as a writer and penned hits for heavy hitters like Brandy, Justin Bieber, Kelly Rowland, Alicia Keys and Chris Brown. Speaking of Chris Brown, Streeter, who most recently penned Brown’s newest track, “Fine China,” inked a record deal as a performance artist on Brown’s CBE in conjunction with Atlantic Records.
Her solo debut single, “I Like It,” has been generating buzz, especially on 106 & Park, and gaining Streeter a cult following. Streeter visited the JETmag.com staff to share her experiences as an artist but also her plans for solo success. Her debut album isn’t complete just yet but it’s on its way, and from the sound of things thus far, it seems like Sevyn Streeter got next.
Given your history and how hard it can be to become a performer, why didn’t you get comfortable with songwriting?
Because I’ve always wanted to be a performer. I’m definitely the little girl in the mirror with a brush, singing at the top of her lungs to a Whitney record. That’s always been a part of me. But I’ve also wanted to always accept where God places me and when the writing thing came along, of course deep down inside I wanted to be an artist still, even after Rich Girl ended, but I just – you can’t force things and I just accept – okay, this is what God has handed me, it’s songwriting, okay, that’s what I’m going to rock with. And that’s what I did. The solo deal that came along a little after that just happened. Everything has been very organic and not forced and I just feel like my steps have been ordered a little bit.
Describe your sound.
My sound is definitely urban and it’s R&B. I love drums, like crazy drum patterns. I love chord changes. That’s the church in me. I love some crazy chord changes. I need them in my life! I need them in my life. I love to sing. So I’m going to give you some riffs and some runs. The records on this album are just relatable and they’re so honest. And they’re so honest to the point of where I have a record or two – particularly one record where I say some stuff. And I actually curse in that record quite a bit but I don’t apologize for it. That’s how I felt that day. I just want the record and I want the album to just be real. And in order to do that, I have to be real with myself. I would not be truthful and I wouldn’t be honest if I sat here and said that some days, I just feel like saying some stuff and some days some guy has made me highly upset and this is how I feel about him. So it’s very truthful and it’s very honest, so hopefully people take that away from the album.
Your lead single “I Like It” has been having some success. Talk a little about that.
I’m really happy about that and I’m really proud of that record because I did that record about a year ago and it’s a year later and it’s out and people like it and I’m just very appreciative and happy about that. And the way that that record even came out is kind of divine a little bit because I was just in my car one day on the freeway and I dropped my parents off at the airport. And I hear the beat and the lyrics and the melody in my head and I recorded it on my iPad and I still have it in my iPad to this day.
You’re still working on your debut but are there some collaborations you’re looking forward to?
We don’t have any yet, but I will say that if I had to say what my dream collabs would be – I’m on a roster full of incredible, incredible men. Atlantic Records has a lot of great male artists. You’ve got Wiz Khalifa, you’ve got B.o.B., you’ve got Bruno Mars, you’ve got Trey Songz – it’s all of these guys and I just want to snatch all of them up for my album and do duets with them because they’re all great. And of course Chris. We’ve done duets and records together in the past so it would be really, really special to do one for my album. I would love that. I’d be honored.
Thinking about your career from when you were in the girl groups up until now, what are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned as an artist and even as a business woman?
My number one would be to accept where you are. I say that a lot. Accept where you are and make the best out of your situation. I feel like you’re in that place for a reason. God put you there for a reason. Stick to that and if it’s God’s will it will turn into what you want. I always say if God’s will and your heart’s desires line up then it’s going to turn exactly into what you want to turn it into. So my number one thing would be to accept where you are. The number two thing that I’ve learned from girl groups up until now…I’ve actually learned how to embrace both sides of myself. And by that, I mean I’m not a girly girl but I’m definitely not a tomboy. I’m right in the middle and I feel like that’s okay because there are a lot of women like that. You don’t feel like wearing six-inch heels every day. And then you want to be sexy and you want to feel good about yourself. So I’ve learned how to embrace both sides.
I feel like I’ve grown and I’ve learned to listen. I know you hear old folks say all the time, “You need to listen twice more than you talk. You got two ears, one mouth.” But I learned to listen and just soak in all the knowledge I possibly can. And I’ve also learned to not take advantage of a moment, but take advantage of your opportunities. You just never know who may be around or who you may bump into. So, own who you are and take advantage of opportunities.