In celebration of the release of “My Way”, we caught up with singer & songwriter Sirota, who has established a confident, cool image, has built a strong, supportive fan base, and plans to do a whole lot more.
Iuliana: Hey Sirota! How are you? Excited to interview you today! So given these unusual times, what does a typical day look like for you?
Sirota: In times like these, when monotony has the potential to take over, I find it very important to create “pockets of joy”, as I like to call them. I recently re-quarantined in my family home in Brooklyn after having been quarantined with my s/o for about four months. It’s been quite the transition, but I’ve reframed monotony as routine “pockets of joy” that are almost ritual at this point, and they really help keep me cheerful. I look forward to my morning coffee (as I am sure a large handful of the world does) and I spend my mornings and afternoons writing and producing music, although a lot of what I am writing right now is mostly for fun and therapeutic purposes. I have also taken a huge liking to drawing during quarantine, and have been keeping a book of all the characters I doodle. (I even created a fun lil instagram page for them called @braindookies, and I’m pretty proud of it!)
Iuliana: What have you been listening to during the lockdown period to keep you feeling hopeful and grounded?
Sirota: I’ve actually been curating a quarantine playlist that is a mix of both chill, uplifting vibes and sounds for when the walls start caving in; I like the term “playful insanity” to describe it. It’s got some Tobi Lou, Orion Sun, and Kota the Friend on it, and I’d highly recommend checking them out! The playlist is on my spotify page if anybody is feeling curious ;)
Iuliana: What drew you to the music industry? Who inspired you to make music?
Sirota: I started in musical theatre as a young kid, and for a while I was pretty set on following a career path in that world, because the idea of storytelling has always intrigued me. I went to LaGuardia HS in Manhattan (a performing arts HS) for acting and slowly learned that the toxicity and rigidity of that industry didn’t make me feel good about myself, and left me discouraged with absolutely no confidence. Freshman year of college, after going through some heartbreaks and sad times, I turned to poetry and songwriting to help make sense of my feelings. It was incredibly freeing to feel like the way my voice sounded couldn’t be “wrong” because it was my music, my perspective, and my story to tell.
Iuliana: You recently released a single – “My Way”. What was the writing process like? Can you elaborate on the point you were getting across while writing the track?
Sirota: “My Way” was a really fun song to write, and it came to me pretty quickly. I had recently gone on a very bad date, yet at the end of the night I still felt bad being disagreeable, and expressing my lack of enthusiasm for the budding relationship. I went home feeling frustrated for not having the confidence to express how much I did not enjoy myself, and the song followed from there. It isn’t that I have all the confidence “My Way” shouts about after having written it, but it is what I am working to attain, and singing that piece surely helps.
Iuliana: As far as songs go, do the lyrics or the music come first?
Sirota: For me, the songwriting process is pretty fluid. Sometimes I play around with chord progressions I like on the piano, and then work to add melody and lyrics after. Other times I’ll have these sentences or “thesis statements” running through my head that I work to find the right sounds for. The one constant in my experience has been knowing the feelings/topic I am going to write about. That is always the true starting point. Oddly enough, having to write what felt like one million essays in school has helped me develop a structure for songwriting. For me, the formulas are very similar (intro, thesis, body, conclusion), and help achieve maximum clarity in my music!
Iuliana: What are you doing to maintain connections with fans while not being able to be on the road?
Sirota: I worked with some NYU students, as well as some University of the Arts students in Philadelphia to do live sessions and those have been super fun! It’s a bit of an adjustment for sure, seeing as live energy always enhances performance, but in times like these, everybody is learning to adapt.
Iuliana: Have you been taking part in any virtual performances across Instagram? Have you found it an effective way for artists to connect with their audience?
Sirota: This is totally a new wave of connection for artists with fans. I am very excited to see how these virtual tools continue to be utilized post quarantine life. Bloom Music Group (the awesome producers that I work with), are Philly based, and have actually found a way to do live producing and mixing sessions virtually with me. “My Way”, and my upcoming song were both worked on remotely, and it is really exciting to see that this new technique for creating music proved to be successful and very doable.
Iuliana: If you could quarantine with one artist, who would it be and why?
Sirota: Although it may sound wildly corny, my Boyfriend is a musician as well (Yoder aka @Deyoderant), and being quarantined with him was a really transformative musical experience. We co-wrote a single together that is coming out in early August, and I had so much fun working with another artistic mind that I trust, value, and feel very much in sync with. Other than him, I’d say that Carole King would be a dream to be around in quarantine. She’s always been a source of inspiration. I very much admire the way she seems to navigate life through her music, and I could probably pick her brain for days.
Iuliana: What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Sirota: This doesn’t pertain specifically to music but, “The wisest thing you can say is that you know nothing.” It is a loose interpretation of the Socratic paradox (Philosophy ahhhh), and it really is a great perspective! It allows for constant growth, and comfort in humility. It is impossible to have insight on everything, and that is very okay! I think that this can be applied to any piece of a person’s life. As a new artist in the mix, it is easy for me to feel discouraged when I don’t have all the answers, and I feel unqualified to be putting myself out there. This advice truly helps keep me focused, grounded and powerful.
Iuliana: What else do you have planned for 2020? Are there any future projects that you would like to let our readers know?
Sirota: Aside from the collaboration with Yoder coming out in August, I have my first EP coming out in the fall. With COVID-19 making us all move a bit slower, dates are tentative, but it is still looking bright! I am very excited to share a full body of work that is reflective of a very personal side of myself.
All profits from Streaming “My Way” will be going to Colorofchange.org, whose online campaigns are aimed at dismantling injustice on political and corporate levels, to support and empower Black communities nationally. Stream “My Way” to contribute, and go to Colorofchange.org to read more about their mission!
Follow Sirota on Instagram here.