Can you talk to us more about your latest single “It Ain’t Hard”?
Yeah! “It Ain’t Hard” was a song I wrote with my friend Ian Salazar around this time last year actually. He was playing the chord progression and I was kind of just improving over it which I think is a huge reason why the structure of the song isn’t very traditional. It was naturally a song that just had a lot to say, it was a fun track to write and it’s such a fun one to perform too. A sexy, groovy vibe for sure so it was super cool to be able to reveal that track to everyone first.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Seems to be pretty obvious that someone needed to be put in their place ahaha. But it is written from a third person point of view because of the situation it was inspired by. I basically watched what a friend of mine was doing to all these girls and I was finally the one to kind of lose my shit on him and tell him that all of that crap is gonna come back to bite him and get him nowhere. I wasn’t intending to write anything about it the song just naturally came out that way.
The single comes off your new EP Fiorella – what’s the story behind the title?
Fiorella is my middle name. My mom opened her dream business a few years after I was born which was a boutique called Scarlet Fiorella. So not only was it named after me but everyday after school she would rush out the store, come and pick me up, than take me back to the store and I would help her. So I watched her hustle and work for so hard for what she wanted my entire childhood. She was self employed so it just informed a lot of my childhood as well as my work ethic. It was a place that had a huge influence on me. I also have it tattooed on my arm.
How was the recording and writing process?
The writing process was over the span of a year and was just me writing on guitar or piano or kind of the way I wrote with Ian on “It Ain’t Hard”. The recording process was super fast ahaha it was in the span of like two months. My engineer, Austin Anderson, and I were basically grinding it out about everyday. I would arrange all the instrumental parts beforehand when we would have session musicians come in and then Austin and I would stay afterwards and work on vocals, guitar, production, or editing. He was amazing to work with.
How Nina Simone and Amy Winehouse has influence your writing?
Both are definitely muses for me. Amy inspires the way I write lyrics a lot because she is just so blunt and to the point. Super sarcastic and I just love how her songs can make people laugh even if it’s a dark situation.
How do you go on balancing your classic roots with your much modern influences?
Still figuring that out in all honesty. I just think I have to keep writing and see how I evolve. “Small” and “Best Friend” on the EP I think are good examples of me pushing my boundaries and are more the type of genre I’m moving towards.
What role does Philadelphia play in your music?
It’s cool to be in a city with a lot of R&B/soul roots. Philly attitude is huge in Philly artists too. I write really sassy tunes sometimes and am definitely super sassy when I perform. I feel like once people hear I’m from Philly they’re like “ohhh”.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
Lyrics normally come first and then the music follows. Or I’ll have a melody stuck in my head and add lyrics to that. Lots of different inspirations. Many are personal stories or events or confessions of how I feel. “Small” is about a dream I had. It just really varies on what happens to inspire me.
Any plans to hit the road?
I’m hoping to next summer!
What else is happening next in Scarlet Cimillo’s world?
I’m going into the studio again this summer so that I can take a little more time and kind of see what I come up with. The last two processes have felt rushed so I’m trying to see what I can make with no time constraints to worry about. I’m also attending New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at Tisch in the fall.