Sirota for The Meadow
interviewer: Sara Sharif (@sarangelic)
interviewee: Sirota (@isabellasirota)
Sirota is a 21-year-old independent singer/songwriter
born and raised in South Brooklyn. If you personified a
juice box from your fourth-grade lunch bag, gave it a love
for R&B, and terrible hand-eye coordination, you would
wind up with something resembling the five-foot-zero
songstress. A short and determined Sirota commuted
from NY to work with Philadelphia’s finest gem, Bloom
Productions on Grey.
She is not shy of opinions, nor does she hold back from expressing them through her music. However, being the introspective baddie that she is, Sirota is intent on
keeping vocals smooth, warm, and vulnerable, easing and inviting listeners into her eccentric atmosphere.
What do you consider the perfect moment?
"What an interesting question. The perfect moment, for me, is when I feel the most at peace with where I am in the present. When I am accepting of whatever feelings or situations are at hand, those moments become memorable, joyful, and essentially perfect."
* in relevance to our issue #5 MOMENT
t h e i n t e r v i e w
1. Please start with a little introduction about yourself!
Hi! Thanks for having me on Pastel Serenity! I’m Sirota, a 22-year-old singer/songwriter from South Brooklyn! If you personified a juice box from your fourth-grade lunch box and gave it a love for R&B and terrible hand-eye coordination, you’d end up with something like me.
2. What genre would you say your music belongs to?
I’d say, for the most part, the genre my music tends to lean towards is alternative RnB with a bit of pop here and there.
3. Your voice is angelic! When did you realize that this is what you wanted to do? Tell us your story.
Thank you! The quick version is that I fell into singing at a very young age in community theatre, and have kept it in my life ever since! I first thought that I would stick to musical theatre performance, but realized in high school that it felt a bit too restrictive for the kind of storytelling that I wanted to pursue. Songwriting became the perfect blend of theatrics and introspectiveness for me.
4. And how has your journey been so far?
It’s been so new and surprising! I released my debut single in February 2020, and then this pandemic hit, so I’ve had quite a remote journey working on my music so far. But this summer I have been able to perform live for the first time in a year, which I am beyond grateful for. It’s exciting to dive into such a huge community of NYC independent musicians!
5. I adore your latest EP, “Grey”. It is so soulful. Tell us what “Grey” means to you and what your aim was during the making.
I felt a bit of pressure, with “Grey” being my debut EP and all, but the whole thesis of Grey, which gave me some solace, is that things might not always be clean-cut and that things may be confusing, open-ended, hazy, but that’s okay, and part of what makes life exhilarating. As somebody who doesn’t deal well with uncertainty (I mean, who does?), I felt that writing a body of work dealing with young adulthood would be a great chance to celebrate losses, heartbreak, and a whopping lack of clarity!
6. How was the process of the making of the EP?
I worked with Misha Scott and Noah Levine of Bloom Productions in Philadelphia over the course of two years to make “Grey”. It was quite hectic at first because I was a full-time student in NYC commuting to Philadelphia every weekend to work in their studio. Then, suddenly, the pandemic hit, and we had to quickly figure out how to produce remotely and attempt live sessions remotely. I’m extremely grateful and quite proud that we were able to pivot so quickly and create an EP amidst some extremely difficult times, it was definitely a great escape for the three of us.
7. What is your creative process?
The most exciting work tends to happen when it’s just me and my piano, which I can only quasi-play, but I try not to be too harsh on myself for that. Sometimes it feels like I’m writing an essay because I often start with a thesis or some sort of topic or overall message I want to share in the song. The sonic inspiration is frequently from whatever artists/songs feel the most connected to or representative of my self-perception at that given time.
8. Who is your musical inspiration?
I adore Carole King, and not just because she’s from Brooklyn. There is something so grounded and warm about her voice, which combined with some of the most beautiful lyrics and melodies of our time make for timeless inspiration. Mac Miller is a more modern source of inspiration. His simplicity and raw vocals remind me that imperfections can make a song so inviting and human, he really let us into his inner world through music, and I hope to do the same with my work. Stevie Wonder, Rex Orange County, and Orion Sun are some others to name a few!
9. Any tips for our musicians out here?
Above all else, practice kindness and gratitude, it will always be most important! Also, if a choice you make artistically no longer feels right to you, don’t be afraid to change your mind (within time and reason), trust your artistic gut! I switched up my “Grey” cover art a few times, and am so glad that I did because this final cover feels the most like me!
10. So, what should we expect next, in the near future?
I recently finished filming a music video for my song “Matches”! That will be out this summer, and I can’t wait. It’s going to be kooky as heck.
11. How do we gain access to your music?
Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Tidal, etc.! You name it, I’m there! Just look up ‘Sirota’.