SVRCINA

SVRCINA

SVRCINA is a singer/songwriter from Dearborn, Michigan.

Growing up in church, SVRCINA started singing and writings songs at an early age. After signing a publishing deal at the age of 13, the singer/songwriter has since then collaborated with various artists such as TWENTYSOMETHING, Arcando, Built By Titan, Fancy Cards, Man Cub and Sj.

The Nashville-based artist is now delivering a new single entitled “Insecure”. Written by SVRCINA, Gaby Feldman, Omar Olvera and produced by Josh Hawkins, “Insecure” designs a powerful production along with timeless pop melodies. Blending elements of pop and electro, the new single offers a fresh and colorful sound.

“Insecure” is about being willing to recognize when you’re in an extremely unhealthy relationship, and regaining a sense of freedom and independence by establishing personal boundaries,” explains SVRCINA.

“Insecure” is now available worldwide.

Photography: Bree Marie Fish // Artwork H&MU: Lorrie Bradshaw

Photography: Bree Marie Fish // Artwork H&MU: Lorrie Bradshaw

Introduce yourself - where are you from?

Yes! My name is SVRCINA, and I’m an independent, alternative pop artist based in Nashville, TN. Originally from Dearborn, MI, I moved to Nashville in 2010 with my parents at 14, after signing my first publishing deal with a local company. Living and working in Nashville has been a slow and steady journey, and the artist I am now is not the artist I thought I would be when I moved, but I’m so grateful for the refining process. 


What's your story?

I started singing at a pretty young age, initially pursuing country music, and would travel to different fairs and festivals around the Midwest performing cover songs. There was a publisher from Nashville that I ran into at several events in the Detroit area, and after crossing paths more times than coincidence merited, she invited my family and I to take a trip and explore the songwriting aspect of music. After a year of taking trips back and forth, I was offered to sign with her publishing company at thirteen years old. My family is strong in our faith, and felt convicted that this was a God-given opportunity. With the publishing offer on the table, my family was willing to sell just about everything we had and move to Nashville. The journey here so far has certainly not been easy, but far beyond music, my family has flourished and honestly, I’m still in awe and so grateful that we get to live here. I wholeheartedly love the music community and friendships that I’ve made. 


When did you start writing songs?

I’ve always been a journaler, but I can remember a moment when I was eight, leaning over my mom’s bed, and my mom and I were having a conversation about music. She’s also a singer, and taught me how to hear/sing harmony. She saw a gift in me to sing, and encouraged me to start writing songs, putting words and melody together. The thought had never crossed my mind before, but after that conversation, I began to write simple verses and choruses in my notebooks. I couldn’t play an instrument, but even as I would try to write, I would hear the melody in my head (even before I had lyrics), and would sometimes go to the piano and pick out the notes and write them on top of each word. My first song I wrote at eight was about going on a date with my dad.


When did you realize you could sing?

I grew up in church, and my mom and dad were very involved with the praise and worship team. My mom would sing, and my dad would help with the live sound engineering. Sundays at church were an all day affair, from early in the morning practice/services, to the evening. I was maybe three, and as I would run around the church, sometimes I’d hop on the stage, and my mom would let me hold the microphone and sing a few tunes. At six, my children’s pastor, who was very sensitive to seeing potential and gifts in the kids, asked me if I would lead praise and worship like my mom, in children’s church. He was the first person to see and acknowledge the potential in me in a public setting, and the encouraging atmosphere made me consider the possibility that I could sing. I certainly was loving every second! 


Growing up, what were your favorite records to listen to? Why?

Definitely a pretty eclectic mix here, but here we go:

Rascal Flatts - Feels Like Today: I confess the song “God Bless The Broken Road” was the original spark that inspired me to want to be a singer. At eight, I essentially heard the song and saw the music video, and somehow determined that singing was something I wanted to do in some form or fashion, for the rest of my life. I would come home from school, and run down to the basement in our house, turn on the album, and practice singing to all the songs for hours. I love the storytelling aspect of country music, and this was my first introduction to the genre. 

Brooke Fraser - Albertine: I don’t even remember who introduced me to this project, but I remember buying it when I was twelve (probs my mom buying it, thanks mom!), and it was the first artist I was exposed to that wrote all her own songs. I would listen to the album from top to bottom, over and over again, reading every word in the CD lining, and enthralled by how beautifully poetic the lyrics were. And even in my limited understanding of the meaning to most of the songs, I was inspired by the idea of using music as a vehicle to say something meaningful.

Ellie Goulding - Halcyon Days: I have one older brother, Dallas, who’s four and a half years older than me. After he left for college and started working, my mom would always encourage us to not lose touch with each other, but for us to do everything we can to build/strengthen our relationship, no matter what direction our lives took. My brother is a true music lover, and has such a great ear. He started sending me artists he was discovering, and sharing new music became a way we started building a genuine friendship. I remember this album was one of the first that he shared, and I completely fell in love with every single song, and even more with the idea that we’d found something to relate to each other. Right around that time, I was also just beginning to explore pop music artistically, so this album became a significant reference point. 


Could you tell us about your first experience in the music industry? What lessons did you learn as an artist?

My first introduction was meeting and beginning the artist development process with a music publisher from Nashville. I was singing country music at twelve, and would perform at fairs and festivals in the midwest, and compete at karaoke competitions, but had no real understanding of the industry. She must have seen some potential in me because, at her invitation, my family and I started taking trips back and forth to Nashville. We were all extremely naive and honestly, I had no idea what being an artist really meant. I was so young, and because I didn’t know who I was, I found myself in meetings trying to present myself as the artist I thought the person on the other side of the desk would be impressed by. I sought affirmation more than anything else, and it’s been the slow and steady process of creative exploration, enduring rejection, doing a deeper search for the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’, and partnering/learning from an amazingly gracious, strategic, and patient team, that’s helped me develop. I learned there are no legitimate shortcuts around the process of refinement, and while it can feel excruciatingly slow and painful, growth upon a solid foundation is crucial for longevity. 


How did your sound and artistry have evolved over the years?

Around the time I graduated high school, and was starting college classes, I felt super lost and super confused about what in the world I was doing, questioning if I even had it in me to be an artist. In the first four years of living in Nashville, I swung from country music, to a Norah Jones jazzy phase, to an Adele vibe, and then tried exploring some pop elements, then tried some 80’s retro flavors… Needless to say I was a bit all over the map and I definitely took my poor co-writers on quite the genre roller-coaster ride. But early in 2014, an amazing producer/musician in town, Fred Williams, reached out to me and asked if I would be up for collaborating on an electronic artist project he was doing called Built By Titan. My schedule had pretty much dried up like the Sahara desert, and his phone call was such a lifeline, because I was at such a crossroads, and even at the point of quitting music altogether. Working with Fred, toplining to his track, I fell in love with that kind of collaboration, and he exposed me to different styles I never considered before. We released a song called “The Darkness,” for his EP, and through that collaboration I met my now manager, the glorious Wendy Duffy. Every time I think about it, I basically start crying, because despite my severe confusion and discouragement, she saw potential in me, and was willing to take the biggest leap of faith and walk alongside me in the process to artist development. In our time working together, she challenged me to stretch myself, and I started taking writing trips to LA, London, and Berlin. The international travel and working with pop/electronic producers and writers from all over the world, laid the foundation for the music we’re now releasing! 


How would you describe SVRCINA, the artist?

As an artist, my sweet spot has been creating and collaborating with a fresh blend of alternative pop and some global elements by both sonically and visually pairing cultural influences, too. I would say that my voice, while sharing textures with some familiar artists, has an interesting, unique tone and delivery that blends an ethereal approach with more intense/emotive vocals— balancing the two back and forth. I’m inspired by a lot of different things and artists, but my voice is my own, so I’m not seeking to recreate anything or anyone in particular, and just let it be what it is.


You recently released your new single "Insecure". When did you start writing this song? Who did you work with?

Every song has a story, and I might be biased, but I think “ Insecure" has quite an interesting one. Originally, it wasn’t an intentional co-writing session, but a rehearsal. I had scheduled a rehearsal with a friend of mine, Omar Olvera, to accompany me on the piano to play a set of Christmas songs for some inmates at one of the metro prisons in Nashville, last December. We met up and started practicing, and during the practice, I discovered there was a miscommunication about security clearance, and we missed the window for Omar to get his clearance and accompany me at the prison. Our rehearsal was cut extremely short, but instead, at Omar’s suggestion, we made the most of our time and asked if I’d be up to write. We spent a few hours exploring melodies on the piano, and felt like we landed on some really interesting ideas. As we were working, a friend of mine from across the pond, topline queen Gaby Feldman, came to mind. I felt so strongly about looping her in to work on this song, and once Omar and I had pretty much dialed in the melody, Gaby and I started going back/forth on lyrics for about 2 weeks and wrote the topline nearly entirely via email/Google Doc, as Gaby lives in the UK. We locked in a piano/vocal version of the song and sent it off to my team, and I was completely blown away by the feedback from my manager Wendy. It was an immediate, unanimous no-brainer to put this on my project. Over the next few months, Wendy and I had many conversations about how to bring the project to life, and who to partner with on each production. She was a relentless advocate for collaborating with the Nashville-based producer Super Duper aka Josh Hawkins. I trust Wendy completely, so I was super excited to expand the collaboration, and true to her conviction, Josh Hawkins brought “Insecure” to life in the freshest, most unique way! With further recommendation from Josh, I had the privilege of working with another phenomenal Nashville native, Ian Keaggy, on vocal production.  I cannot stress enough how each collaborator was integral to the song being what it is. The process was super unconventional, but it totally worked and I’m SO grateful and excited with how it turned out!



What did you feel when you wrote that particular song?

This song honestly felt digging for buried treasure… and I loved it! It took about 2-3 weeks from start to finish, going back/forth with my co-writers, and lyrics were written nearly entirely via email/Google Doc. I fell in love with the whole process of writing all over again, and pulling from the emotions I’ve felt on numerous occasions, inserting them into the context of a specific relationship. Piece by piece, it transformed into something everyone was really proud of, and the journey to get there was really enjoyable!



What can you tell us about the music video? Who came up with the concept?

I have such gratitude for the fabulous director Bree Marie Fish and her crew for her creativity for this video. We had a brainstorming session with Bree and my manager and team at Resin8 Music, Wendy Duffy and Emma Smith. We really dove in and talked through the core message of the song and what would aesthetically feel authentic. Bree’s concept sparked from the themes of recognizing when a relationship is unhealthy, and exercising the freedom to establish personal boundaries. We also talked through the project as a whole and certain goals we are trying to accomplish visually, combining ethereal and sophisticated elements with a global feel wherever possible. Creating a music video is new territory for me, so it was majorly helpful to process everything together, and really stretch myself to think outside the box in how a universal concept could be expressed in a different, artful way. After our round table discussion, Bree created the video concept and sent our team a treatment, and there was no question in our minds that this direction was a super creative, artful way to go. 

What message do you want to convey through "Insecure"?

“Insecure” is about being willing to recognize when you’re in an extremely unhealthy relationship, and regaining a sense of freedom and independence by establishing personal boundaries. It was really important for me to be sensitive to not communicate that I think it’s a good idea to simply wash our hands clean of people and relationships, but to relay that loving someone and caring about them doesn’t always mean staying in close proximity, especially if it’s an abusive situation. And in a bigger picture sense, I believe that having a solid core of identity can help prevent a person from seeking relationships where identity is at the mercy of another person. 



You've written a lot of songs. What biggest lessons have you learned as a songwriter?

Over time, I’ve been learning to be way more open in the dialogue of co-writing. Sometimes in sessions, I would sit in silence for hours because I was afraid of saying something dumb. But that’s just part of the process. Collaboration is awesome, because even if I say something that’s way off base, my co-writer can use that as a trampoline, and it could spark a much better idea. But if I had withheld a cheeseball idea, we might not have landed on the gold. Haha. Or at least would’ve taken three times longer than it could’ve. I’ve also learned that it’s helpful to identify personal strengths as a writer, and then partner with collaborators that will compliment/bring other strengths to the table. Also, I’ve learned that you can write anywhere, in so many different ways. Technology is a beautiful thing, and I’ve written songs via Google Doc, email, FaceTime Audio, Skype, in person, texting, WhatsApp— there are so many tools/resources that will help you collaborate with anyone, anywhere, and it’s been a learning curve, but a fun adventure to try different methods!


What advice would you give to young songwriters?

Songwriting/co-writing is such a unique process. I really believe humility is a treasured virtue, especially in the context of co-writing. It’s a beautiful blend of having a willingness to be vulnerable with ideas, and on the other side, a willingness to let the best ideas win (not just the ones you came up with). I would also say patience is also a treasured virtue. Sometimes I feel like it’s easy to get frustrated when it seems like the process is taking a super long time. You can come to the writer room and give your best, but if you don’t finish a song in a day, it doesn’t mean you failed. Some songs take extra digging, extra refining, and some perseverance. If you feel like there’s real potential there, it’s worth going on the journey, and exercising the patience to see it through. 


What appeals you the most about music?

I think what draws me to music most is the wonderful opportunity it provides to inspire hope and creative expression that could reach far beyond music itself. As a person who desires to live from a place of conviction and purpose, the idea of creating something that would outlast my own life, and could inspire creativity in someone else, is very exciting for me, as music is one of the ways I feel I’m best able to communicate.


How would you define pop music?

I am simply one of many opinions, but I think I’d define pop music as the sound of popular culture. There are so many sub-styles that can fall under the ‘pop’ umbrella, and as artists and creatives explore and fuse influences, production, vocal styles, songwriting, etc, even subtle deviations set new trends and gradually transform the face of the genre. But in the song structure itself, I think strong and catchy choruses/hooks are a key ingredient. 



In your opinion, what would make the world a better place?

In my opinion, I truly believe that living in a generation with a heart to passionately love, and serve others well, and to consider others before ourselves, would make the world a better place. It’s a much easier thing to say than to live out, but it’s worth the journey of learning what it means to live this way. Our world is full of broken and hurting people, but I think there is something powerful in allowing our own lives to be transformed and filled with love that the outpouring of our hearts would bring healing to others.

How do you want to be remembered ?

Truly, I want to be remembered for loving Jesus, and loving people well. I hope I withhold nothing from my heart, and can leave lasting imprint of love and hope in my music, and who I am as a person. 


As an artist and as a human being, what do you want to accomplish?

My hope as a person and artist, is to inspire people and fill them with hope. I pray the message of the songs I write translate in a tasteful way and people are able to find some way to apply it to where they’re at in their life. It is my hope they also may hear and see the creativity my team and I have put together, and feel inspired to create something or do something with purpose, with whatever God-given gifts and talents they have.

With all sincerity of my heart, it is my greatest passion to know and emulate the love of Jesus to everyone I meet. When I was in college, I found myself in such a deep depression, and came face to face with the reality that all the achievements and validation I had been pursuing as a little girl, trying to draw identity, meaning, and value from what I could “do” and how well I could “perform” had no sustainable value at all. I was operating from a place of paralyzing fear, always self-conscious of what people were thinking about me, and I couldn’t actually live or love others well because I made myself the foundation and couldn’t bear the weight. I had a moment of surrender at my kitchen table while I was taking online classes in total isolation, and was filled with hope and purpose not based on what I could do or accomplish in my own ability, but based on the love of Jesus for me, and what He could do through me. I love music and creative expression so much, and I thrive on collaboration with other people and being inspired by their creativity as well! The brightness of the music I’m creating now is truly an overflow of the joy and freedom I’ve personally experienced!  

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Devin Kennedy

Devin Kennedy

Gold Complex

Gold Complex