Welcome to “Six Questions With…,” a series of interviews with emerging artists, musicians, and bands focusing on the music scene and how they live within it. It started as a quick, fun project, but has quickly gained serious interest, so we’re making this a permanent feature on the site. Over time, the questions may change, but the sentiment will stay intact. This is a way for independent artists to be discovered by new fans on a global scale.
Within in each post, you will find all of their social media links, and also either a link to their music, or the ability to stream at least one of their tracks or videos, depending on the availability.
We hope you enjoy this series, and if you know anyone that might be interested in being part of it, please have them reach out to us for more information.
Next in the hot seat is New York City-based indie singer-songwriter Somaya. We have not had the pleasure of covering Somaya yet, so we are excited for this feature! If you’re not familiar with her, sit back and enjoy! This is what is great about this series – the discovery of new music.
For those who may not be familiar, please tell us about your music: the type of music you play, where you are from, and how you got started?
I grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina and while I started playing piano when I was four, I didn’t discover my passion for music till I was in middle school. I started playing the guitar when I was 11 and would sing just to help myself keep rhythm. I had always liked writing, so I decided to give songwriting a try, and looked up on wikiHow how to write a song, and I discovered how much I loved getting my thoughts out through music. I played my songs for some people and realized that others related to my lyrics a lot more than I had anticipated, so I started posting songs on YouTube. When I play live, my music is very acoustic and stripped back, but on my new album, “Stand Up”, I’d say my songs are more electronic and pop.
As an artist, how do you define success?
My goal in every song I write is to make people feel something. I consider myself successful any time my music evokes emotion, or even a step further, helps someone get through something. I’ve always turned to music when going through a tough time, so to be a part of that outlet for someone else is always an amazing feeling.
What do you find to be your greatest struggle when it comes to the music business?
Comparison. There is so much talent out there. My mom has always told me that talent is universal, but opportunity is not, and I’ve definitely held on to that. So I find that the greatest struggle is not comparing myself to others and reminding myself that everyone is on their own journey. Comparison can take over your life, so I try not to give in to it.
If you could only play ONE of your songs for the rest of your career, which one would it be?
That’s a really tough question, but I think I’ll go with “Stand Up”. The song has a message about sexual assault that needs to be heard. I think it can help survivors realize they’re not alone, and also bring awareness to those who don’t realize how big of an issue it is. It’s also a really upbeat song that I have a lot of fun singing, so I think the song represents me well. I’m someone who feels deeply and I fight for what I believe in, but I’m also a very fun loving person.
Who do you consider your greatest influences?
Halsey and Tove Lo have influenced my style a lot. I love that their music has a dark vibe and deep lyrics, but doesn’t feel depressing when you listen to it. I’m also inspired by Sia’s songwriting because she has proven you can write catchy pop songs about important topics. I think that is the power of good songs. You can write about powerful themes and human emotions while still producing it in an engaging way. It’s a theme you will see throughout my music. There are songs about important human values and issues ranging from alcoholism to seeking closure, but because of the beat and catchy melody, you won’t always realize it unless you pay attention to the lyrics.
Outside of music, what do you like to do that you feel contributes to the creativity that you tap into for your music?
Music definitely takes up most of my time, but outside of it I’m into the typical teenage stuff. I love working out and watching Friends and Grey’s Anatomy. I also consider myself an activist, so I spend a lot of time educating myself and others on social issues.