Music has come a long way since the days of those haunting Gregorian chants from the Middle Ages thanks to artists always striving to push art forward. Bands like Metallica took rock music to new heights, as did Garth Brooks and country. Now artists like SZA and newcomers like Syfr are looking to do the same with R&B as the 21st-century ways of the genre stay true to the foundations of it all, but with a little something extra on top. We talked about not only that, but also his latest single “Scars,” the world outside of Florida, and more in this back-and-forth exchange.
Kendra: You’ve got this sound that feels very now, but also reminiscent of someone like Sade. Being that you were about 12 when she dropped her last record, I’m wondering what artists you did grow up listening to that made you want to go down that music path?
Syfr: To be honest, I’ve never heard of her before but now I will be doing a deep dive into her music catalog, so I want to say thank you for putting me on to her.
Honestly, looking back at my childhood I don’t know what made me go down this music path. I’ve just always loved the concept of it. But my top three artists during that period of my life were John Legend, Sam Cooke, and Mali music.
Kendra: Again, you were a legit ‘90s baby having been born towards the end of the decade. Do you ever think about what it would’ve been like to try and be an artist back in the day before the internet was part of our everyday lives?
Syfr: I think about that all the time comparing the ‘90s to now. How hard they had to work to get to where they were compared to the present day. You had to actually want it back then there was no TikTok or Instagram at their disposal you had to fight for your dreams. They helped pave the way for all of us. And I look forward to paving the pathway for the next generation to come.
Kendra: With your style, you’ve taken the foundations of R&B and given it this 21st-century makeover. I’ve noticed that genres sort of started to intertwine more and more in the past decade or so. Why do you think that artists are less inclined to stick with the, we’ll say, traditional ways of genres now than ever before?
Syfr: Each generation is becoming more progressive straying away from traditional things.
Kendra: You started dropping singles last year and to date have dropped three singles. Are you working towards a whole EP or LP, or do you like the freedom that dropping singles at your own pace gives you?
Syfr: I love EPs. I love making bodies of work. I’m working on my first EP, and I’m excited.
Kendra: Your latest single of the trio is “Scars.” This song explores the story of a woman who hasn’t had the best of luck in life and to make matters worse, her partners never quite know how to give her the emotional support she needs. Was this song inspired by anyone in your life that you have seen go through this?
Syfr: “Scars” wasn’t written about a woman’s journey. It’s about self-love, “I need to learn to love my scars.” So it was written for anyone on the journey of self-love.
Kendra: Those in Florida may have heard this and your other singles live because you’ve been trying to stay busy performing. Do you have plans to do any showcases in places like Los Angeles or New York City in the future?
Syfr: Eventually, that’s the plan first. I have to get my name on the map in Florida or at least Orlando first. Then I’ll work on branching out.
Kendra: Now it’s time for a side note – with it being May, I always think of the end of the school year and all those memories of field trips, parties, and yearbooks. With that, I’d love to know what your fondest end-of-the-school-year memory was?
Syfr: My fondest end-of-the-year memory would be saying goodbye to everyone I knew in high school. I moved away from home shortly after graduating. I was excited to see what life had to offer.
Kendra: Lastly, with “Scars” out now, what else can fans expect as we continue towards summer?
Syfr: Moreeeeeeeeee music!