Istanbul born, Brooklyn based singer-songwriter/producer SIRMA showcases pure emotive pop on ‘On’, evoking the likes of Sigrid and Alice Merton, whilst also harnessing ties with modern soul-pop and electronica.
SIRMA says: “My vision for the video came after a photoshoot I did with Bao Ngo Her current art is all about bold colours and I was very inspired by it even before we worked together for the first time. Then, I asked her if she would be down to shoot this music video that’s all about colourful lights and we came up with the concept together. It was her who recommended Xavier Portillo as the videographer. Bao directed it, Xavi shot it, I edited the video and did the effects as well, and the colour grading was done by Bao after that. This was the first time I ever tried editing a music video by myself, so it was a learning experience, and a very positive one at that- because it has given me a chance to picture what else I can achieve with the visual component of my project in the future.
I’m getting deeper into stuff like editing photos and videos on the side now, and my goal is to eventually design my own cover art and be able to fully make my own music videos, too. I produce, mix and master my songs, so having a solid relationship with technology already helps me learn faster: and the more creative control I have, the better I feel.”
Watch the DIY styled music video directed by the GRAMMY-nominated photographer Bảo Ngô – BELOW:
SIRMA has been on a mission to become a self-sufficient artist ever since she graduated from Berklee College of Music, landed on two successful collaborations with Illenium and Said the Sky as a featured artist titled “Drop Our Hearts” and “Drop Our Hearts (Part II)”, and eventually releasing her debut EP, “To Love”, in 2017. With her very first self-produced Turkish single, “Belki Bir Gün”, landing on #3 on the Spotify Viral 50 Turkey chart and her follow-up single “Coming Undone” making its global radio debut on Apple Music’s Beats 1 with a stellar introduction from Brooke Reese last year, SIRMA, growing with confidence, has turned her focus to not only writing, performing, recording and producing her material, but also engineering, mixing and mastering it.
While her entirely self-made single, “Put Your Faith In Me”, crafted in solitude and released earlier this year, showcased SIRMA’s vast skillset when she’s in full creative control, her collaborations with guest artist and producer Mallow shines a new light on her abilities as a vocalist and sound designer. SIRMA is not only credited as the performer, songwriter and co-producer on both “On” and “24 Hours”, but as the sole mixing and mastering engineer as well.
The collaboration began with Mallow showing SIRMA the initial beats that eventually led to “On / 24 Hours”. Describing the process, Mallow says, “I used a bunch of sounds that I recorded on my Zoom field recorder- just random things around the apartment to create the beats. Between those sounds and samples from an old unreleased track of mine, it all came together really fast and organically. I showed both demos to SIRMA a year later and she liked them, so I sent her the stems I had bounced at the time, which she then re-arranged, wrote and recorded vocals on top of as well as finishing the production with a few additions and touches of her own. She also mixed and mastered both tracks, so the collaboration went pretty smoothly for me because my input came at the very beginning and she did her thing after that.”
While Mallow (aka Ian Barnett) has begun to gain more widespread recognition recently as a producer since earning co-production credits on three tracks titled “Dribblin’”, “Family” and “Speakin’ (Intro)” on NY-based rapper Marlon Craft’s latest chart-topping album, “Funhouse Mirror”, he’s been recognized as a renowned drummer for quite some time in the American music industry. As the primary drummer for both Marlon Craft and Pop artist Betty Who, he has played numerous headlining tours, as well as in support of artists like Katy Perry (on Prismatic World Tour 2014), Kylie Minogue (on Kiss Me Once Tour 2015), Kiesza (on Sound of a Woman Tour 2014) and Dizzy Wright (on Still Movin’ Tour 2018). Ian has also performed with Daya on the TODAY show on NBC and a New Years Eve set airing live from Times Square in 2015. Additionally, Ian’s performances as a drummer can be heard on two tracks, titled “Crawl” and “Justify” off of Tei Shi’s 2017 album, “Crawl Space”.
Describing the reasons why she was so drawn to collaborate with Ian, SIRMA says, “I was just fascinated by how differently Ian’s brain works than mine does. He thinks like a drummer and produces like a drummer. I, on the other hand, think like a singer and produce like a singer. So, once I took the ideas that he initiated, I was also taking on the challenge to find a way to make these two creative brains talk to each other, both arrangement-wise and lyrically.” She adds, “The breakbeat of “On” led me to play around with glitchy sounds in the production- just lots of modulation, grainy delays and bit crushers. Then, the more I worked on the sonic details, the clearer it became to me: this has to be a song about a couple fighting.
Listen to ‘On’ – BELOW:
I just pictured myself and my boyfriend fighting about some petty bullshit, which we both know is a waste of time at the end of the day because we’re in love and we’re not going anywhere. So, naturally, my vocal performance and production reflect this sentiment, too. In the verses, I’m in it, I’m practically yelling at him, while in the Chorus sections, I just repeat the mantra to centre myself, calmly: “We will always be ‘on’.” Initially, I wanted to release “24 Hours” separately, which I wrote about the days when we didn’t have a care in the world and we just stayed in bed literally all day, completely clueless about how busy life could get as we got older. But then, I realized that both lyrically and sonically, these songs belong together. They both have that dreamy, inviting and intimate quality about them. They’re like little snippets from private but relatable moments of a long term couple.”
SIRMA’s “On / 24 Hours”, featuring Mallow, is out NOW on all major digital platforms.