What have you learned from your experience in the industry?
SIFA: I started the band in June and we started out with four people and the music changed so much. I feel like people can know who you are based on how you look and thats what was one of my challenges, especially in Columbia. It’s not diverse enough. There’s not a lot of people who are doing R&B, Soul, Hip-Hop, and Funk in Columbia all at once. I feel like Black representation of music is not as diverse as it is. Obviously there’s a lot of people in every part of music, but you don’t see that [here], you know? It’s hard to learn some stuff when there’s nobody to learn from.
Especially for a young black girl. I think it’s really important to be able to be like, “How did you do that? How did you get there? How did you understand that? How did you overcome it?” Because you felt the same struggle as me, you see the same stuff as me and as much as it sucks that it happens to us. . . that’s the reality we live in. And I need help sometimes.
How did figure out music was your path?
S: I started listening to music with my cousin and brothers. We would watch 106 & Park, so right when I got out school I would look at the videos and get a lot of my music from there. My parents also played a lot of their traditional music growing up as well. I always knew music could be so different, but that it was also an expression. I knew that you can’t be wrong with music because we all express differently.
What have been some of your greatest accomplishments?
S: Everything! Thinking of where I was a year ago, I never knew where I would be. I think everything is so freaking amazing. Every show I do, every person I meet, everything is great to me because I am growing as a person and I’m growing so much.
I just started a band in June. If I am here in one year, where will I be in two years and three years? Truthfully, everything is amazing knowing how far I’ve come and how far I will come. I think the reason why I’ve come so far is because I’m authentic to who I am. Being able to accept failure but know that there is a purpose and the world will fix itself for what is meant to. We need to self-affirm and put our truth out there. That is how your grow.
Do you think that your band is a good representation for women?
S: There are two girls in the band, me and the piano player. We do a lot. I think that the representation we try to show is that we all need each other in our band no matter what. We need the guys, the guys need us, so that means that no one is above because it’s truly equal.
What advice would you give to other women?
S: Know what you value and love yourself.
If I forget what I value or the love that I need from music and give to people, I lose who I am. And I don’t want to lose who I am in doing anything. Know who you are, know what are your values, where you stand in yourself so that you can move and impact people in the best way while truly helping yourself. When you are in the middle obstacle you don’t know where to go and I feel like for anybody, it’s hard to go anywhere when you are lost. Love and kindness. Do what you love for the right reason. Because, at the end of the day, I want to die happy and as authentic as I truly am and okay with who I am.
What changes do you hope to see?
S: I would want for the future for music for us not to have our own separate women events because we should be equal to men. I want for us to be on the same platform as men. I want our art to be based on our art and not male or female art. When they do that they let guys know they have more power and are better.. They don’t say it, but you see it. I want us women being on top because we are making great music. We should not be having to push ourselves to getting these opportunities, we should be given these opportunities because we are just as great as the guys.
What next for you and the band?
S: I’m going on a Midwest tour this summer from July 17-27th. Hopefully I’ll be able to attend Berklee College of Music for vocal performance, or whatever life throws me.
Click here to check out Sifa's new song, "The One."