Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Free Fall”?
“Free Fall” is about the first romantic relationship of my life. It was the last song I wrote for the EP, and in each song that came before it, I realized that I had an educated opinion on the aspects of falling in love or lust. So I kind of wanted to go back to the person who represented all the firsts to me, and tried to get back in touch with my teenager self discovering all the essential things about being romantically involved with someone. The innocence you hear in this song comes from this very place. It’s in a major key, which is a first for me, I usually write in minor keys… I’m also really proud of the vocal arrangement: I kept hearing these fluttering vocal parts in my head and the arrangement just came to me really naturally. You can hear my entire four octave vocal range in this song, and I love that because it was so fun to record! But also, I think it serves a purpose… In my opinion, my performance in “Free Fall” is the most expressive one on this EP.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
To add to what I mentioned above- I guess it was the writing and recording process that brought me to the point of coming up with “Free Fall”. A little bit of nostalgia mixed with some self awareness.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
No, but I do have a live performance video of it coming out soon. 🙂 Possibly at the end of August.
The single comes off your new EP To Love – what’s the story behind the title?
I came up with it while I was working on the vocal arrangement of “Free Fall”. First, I heard these ambient back vocals in my head at the end of the first verse, when the lead goes “To love is to rely” right before the pre chorus. And I took that idea and explored it more in the post chorus sections of the song. Then, when the project was done, I realized that that line, “To love”, is the very last thing you hear when you finish listening to the whole EP. And it kind of explains the entire theme of the EP to in a very blunt way. Every song on the EP explores a stage or phase that I found myself in in romantic relationships, so it just felt like all in all, it was the most appropriate title for the whole project.
How was the recording and writing process?
It took WAY longer than I predicted. I recorded many other projects before, but I took this one as a personal challenge… It was the beginning of something. It was all about refining my sound and finding my musical identity. There were way too many takes, way too many demos and drafts… It was mostly an isolated experience, since I did all the writing and recording, except for a couple additional recording sessions, at my home studio. I collaborated with other musicians at the production stage, but even then, it was mostly me, going through every stem, editing and listening and editing again… Sometimes you just get in your head, you know? But it was all worth it in the end, because I feel more confident in my vision now because of this process. The new material I’m currently working on is flowing a lot more naturally.
How has your upbringing influenced you as an artist?
I grew up with a healthy dose of independence. Both of my parents are journalists, who work long hours- I mean, my mother knocked on our neighbor’s door one day to drop me off when I was 4-months old because she had to go back to work! Just said “I’ll pick her up at 9 pm- thanks!” That’s the kind of household I grew up in. Both of them were very ambitious individuals who loved their jobs. And somehow, they have always been amazing parents too. They always treated me like an adult and an individual. Whatever I was interested in, they respected it. So when they discovered my musical inclinations, they let me take piano and solfege lessons. Then, vocal lessons. Workshops, seminars, competitions until finally- Berklee. I consider myself very lucky in that sense. Also, growing up in a city like Istanbul – I wouldn’t have traded that for anything else. The first 19 years of my life I spent there, led a very urban lifestyle even when I was a kid. I grew up within that rich culture and all its music. I think all these things somehow gave me the courage to leave everything behind and move to the States to pursue music here. What I’m doing now as a result of all this is kind of like living a double life. I have a life there and I have a life here… And I love it.
What role does Brooklyn play in your writing?
Most of my friends and collaborators live in Brooklyn. Some of the people I make music with in fact live within a walking distance. That’s the biggest appeal of Brooklyn for me at this stage. But I really like how laid back the vibe is here as well. I always wanted to live in New York, it was a goal of mine even when I was a teenager. I don’t know for how long I’ll remain here, but for now, Brooklyn, with all its music, sustains me.
What aspect of love did you get to explore on this record?
Every song represents a different aspect of it to me. “Dancing Into Life” is about being intrigued by that one stranger that catches my eye and developing the courage to forget about my own routine for a little while and follow wherever that person takes me. “Eclipse” is about falling in lust, and how abstract that whole concept can be, especially when it involves someone who doesn’t quite fit into my reality. “Love In The Dark” is about meeting that one person I was afraid of finding because I knew as soon as I did, I’d fall hard for him- and having been burned before by past disappointments, I’d be a bit hesitant to open up, all the while knowing that the mystery of it all would be half the fun of falling in love. And “Free Fall” is about recalling that very first experience of falling for someone after all these experiences, when it was all new and I had no idea what love even was.
Any plans to hit the road?
As soon as I have the budget for it! Hopefully sometime next year. I want to put out more music first. But I am playing a show on August 12 in New York, as part of the Summer Streets festival. 10:20 am at the Midtown Stage at 25th Street and Park Avenue. Free show!
What else is happening next in SIRMA’s world?
I’ve got a few more things to put out within the next couple of months and in the meantime, I’ll be working on new music! So stay tuned. 🙂