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The People’s Choice
Songwriter’s Monthly - Oct. ‘11, #141 http://www.scribd.com/SongwritersMonthly
Sinem Saniye [See-nem Sahhknee-yeh] possesses a captivatingly innocent sensuality. She is at once tantalizingly alluring and refreshingly wholesome. Her music is sleek and sophisticated with a gentle sparkle like an elegant black dress accented with a silver sequin trim. “Born in Germany with Turkish family roots” Sinem now resides in N e w Yo r k C i ty a n d h e r s ty l e embraces all of her rich cultural background, plus she slips in a few surprises, as well. Songwriter’s Monthly stumbled upon this stunning talent when we received a press release about her being in the running to win a finalist spot in the Mountain Stage NewSong contest. Saniye ended up winning the People’s Choice award for receiving the most votes among all of this year’s regional finalists! [The finalists will perform Thursday, October 20th in New York at the Arts World Financial Center, Three World Financial Center, 200 Vesey Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10281 www.artsworldfinancialcenter.com.] Though Sinem was busy preparing for this and other upcoming performances, she graciously answered a number of questions about herself, her music, and her videos. Songwriter’s Monthly: How long did you live in Germany? Were you old enough for the culture there to influence your life/music? Sinem Saniye: I lived there only till the wee age of 3. So, no musical Songwriter’s Monthly - Oct. ‘11, #141
influence, whatsoever! Born there and then immigrated to New York City shortly thereafter. I had no say in the matter, but I was happy spending the 80’s in “The Big Apple.” It was certainly a magical time. I miss it. MTV was born at that time and it’s basically all I watched. That’s what influenced me the most in the early years. SM: How important are music/ songwriting contests to an artist’s career? Why? SS: Some songwriting contests are good for morale and an artist’s ego (in http://www.scribd.com/SongwritersMonthly
a good way). The first time I won a songwriting award, it was a biggie. The Grand Prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition! It made me feel amazing because I had no confidence in myself as a songwriter because I had never won an award for anything and I just felt like another amateur. But when I won out of 20,000 something entries — both professional and amateur songwriters alike — I was like, “Me? Why me?!” I simply couldn’t believe it. I was humbled, and awestruck, and dumbfounded, and very excited all at the same time. It made me feel like a professional songwriter. I felt all grown-up and legitimized. On top of that, this wasn’t just any competition, it had John Lennon’s name attached to it! And it was started by
won a Grammy or been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame!, I’ve still got a long way to go as far as great songwriting), but with a few songwriting awards under my belt, I
“I had no confidence in myself as a songwriter because I had never won an award for anything and I just felt like another amateur.”
feel really good that my hard work has meant something, and it makes me feel somewhat validated like a “real” songwriter! I feel really lucky and honored. Besides the accolades, some songwriting awards help an artist’s career because they offer great opportunities. Each one is different. Some are a morale boost and a notch in your belt while others are actually helpful in advancing an artist’s career. Also, remember that contests are not the be-all and end-all. Example: Britney Spears lost Star Search to some other kid who won 1st place. But look what happened to her. She became a pop icon! And what happened to the winner? Just one example that awards and winning contests are not THE most important thing. It’s the work you do http://www.scribd.com/SongwritersMonthly
<a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/ f s - b i n / s t a t ? id=hyTjEIK1pMo&offerid=146261&type =3&subid=0&tmpid=1826&RD_PARM1= h t t p % 2 5 3 A % 2 5 2 F %252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus %252Falbum%252Fwhen-i-dont-sleep.. %252Fid271194605%253Fuo %253D4%2526partnerId%253D30" target="itunes_store">When I Don't Sleep.. - Sinem Saniye</a>
Yoko Ono, herself, to honor him. Lennon is one of the greatest — if not the greatest — songwriter’s of all time. It was a huge honor and it really helped me feel good about myself as a songwriter. It was a great morale boost. I’m still not the most confident musician in the world (it’s not like I’ve Songwriter’s Monthly - Oct. ‘11, #141
SM: What artist do you admire the most? What artist is your guilty listening pleasure? SS: Haha! Guilty as charged with
album, is another pleasure. As far as artists I a d m i r e , I l o v e To r i A m o s , J e f f B u c k l e y, Radiohead, Bob Marley, Sufjan Stevens, KT Tunstall, Adele, Elvis Presley, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson, Bebel Gilberto, Astrud Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Michael Buble, Ella Fitzgerald, Tom Waits, The Prodigy, Wu Tang Clan, Debussy, Stravinsky, and Opera! Yes, I can get kooky with my listening collection. I love all music! There are too many artists to name them all, this was just a small list for starters. SM: I love your musical vibe, especially when hints of Bossa Nova and other influences trickle in. How did that style of music enter your life? http://www.scribd.com/SongwritersMonthly
listening to Katy Perry! I bought the second album straight out of the gate and over the months since the album’s release, I am super impressed that so many songs on it have gone to #1 on t h e c h a r t s . S h e ’s a c c o m p l i s h e d something incredible, which is to tie the record with Michael Jackson for the most songs from a single album to reach #1 on the Billboard charts. Just one more and she will break that record. Pretty Cool! Eliza Doolittle’s Songwriter’s Monthly - Oct. ‘11, #141
that really counts.
SS: Thanks to my first producer, Philip A. Jimenez. He brought “Tanto Tempo” by Bebel Gilberto to the studio one day and I was hooked. It was new Bossa Nova, which led me to research the classics, Jobim, Getz, Astrud, and the whole bunch, and I simply loved it! The smoothness of the beat was so soothing and magical. Never had I heard a musical style that was so complex in its chordal structure and dynamic, yet sounded so soft and simple to the ears. I think I will always love Bossa Nova. It’s like . . . my first love. It became my goal, as I was writing new material for my debut album, to combine some Bossa Nova into my pop songs. SM: You seem to be having fun in your live version of “A Certain Kind Of Lovely.” Did a friend film you? Was there anything going on behind the camera that made that such a great take? SS: Hmmm . . . there are a few versions out there. Which one do you mean? On one of them, I’m on a boat in Turkey. I’m in a bikini, just kickin’ back, having fun on a boat trip off the Songwriter’s Monthly - Oct. ‘11, #141
coast of the Agean Sea. My friend taped it. Another one is with the ancient ruins of Kayakoy behind me. My boyfriend taped that one. We climbed the mountain to get to the top for that! It was a magical place to sing the song because the ruins behind me had not been inhabited for many ye a r s ! [ Kaya koy was built in the 18th century and abandoned in the 1920s and is now a preserved “ghost t o w n .” ] It’s definitely a cool place for some live music. SM: In the “I’ll Confide” video, you are amazingly comfortable in front of the camera. I thought that staring directly into the camera was usually a “no no,” but you have utilized that approach to really draw the viewer in close to you, the video feels very personal and intimate. Was that your idea? Do you have any acting experience? SS: Wow! Thank you so much! So glad you like it. The whole video concept, look and feel, locations, and even some of the shots, were all my idea. That http://www.scribd.com/SongwritersMonthly
video is my baby! Of course, I had a director and a team with me to help make my vision a reality — I couldn’t have done it without the director, the one and only Tom Moore, and the fabulous crew.
So there is definitely a difference between the two! It’s not scary opening up to the camera for a music video, but it is scary to be on stage! SM: I often find that on-stage personas are quite different from the actual everyday personality of an artist. For instance, a lot of times artists in metal bands are very sweet (even softspoken) people off stage. Your music is so beautiful and relaxing . . . in your day-to-day life do you find yourself extremely busy with little time to slow down? SS: That’s right! How did you know? On stage, I’m really sweet and relaxed, but in my downtime, I wear nothing but leather and chains and dark black makeup, and I chant strange things. And I carry a whip! Haha, just kidding!!! I think I’m more or less the same person on stage, maybe a more pumped and energetic version of my day-to-day self . . . and certainly more dressed up! However, I am definitely extremely busy and there is little time, normally, to do everything I want to do. Maybe it’s that I want to do too much? It’s so hard for me to not have a full plate. I have a hard time saying, “no.” I want to do it all. SM: What would be the one song you would recommend to a new listener to get to know the real Sinem? Why? SS: Hmm . . . good question. I would say, “I’ll Confide.” It’s the first song on the album and it talks about all my insecurities, my faults, my flaws, and http://www.scribd.com/SongwritersMonthly
“It’s the first song on the album and it talks about all my insecurities, my faults, my flaws, and how I overcome them to try to be the better person I want to be . . .”
I love making videos, and playing to the camera is very fun for me. If I could, I’d make a video every week. I have no acting experience besides school plays. And, for the record, staring into the camera in a music video is not a “no-no,” but it would be for a movie. SM: How does performing for a live audience and performing for a camera differ? Was it scary to be so open for the camera? SS: With a live audience, there are so many elements and you only get one chance. With a video, you can play around, experiment, and do different shots. I think it’s a lot more creative. Songwriter’s Monthly - Oct. ‘11, #141
how I overcome them to try to be the better person I want to be . . . and the better musician I can be. To trust and “confide” in the person in front of me (namely, my producer at the time), so that he can show me the way and guide me to the best Sinem I can be. SM: What’s coming up next in your career?
SS: I’m a finalist in the NewSong Competition! I get to play in front of judges for the top prize (a trip to California and recording with a Grammy-winning producer). I’m playing in the CMJ showcase in New York City [This week!] and making another music video, and, hopefully, continuing to get airplay on radio stations across the nation as well as chain stores like
“On stage, I’m really sweet and relaxed, but in my downtime, I wear nothing but leather and chains and dark black makeup . . . just kidding!!!”
Songwriter’s Monthly - Oct. ‘11, #141
Whole Foods, Cache, and Hallmark . . . they’ve been giving me a lot of love! I’d like to record some new material soon, as well. In the meantime, though, there’s always my current album, WHEN I DON’T SLEEP.., which is available at w w w. c d b a by. c o m / c d / s i n e m s a n i ye, Amazon.com, and iTunes. You can listen to the tracks, get Mp3s of any song you want, even the whole album . . . or have a CD mailed to your house. It’s amazing all the different ways we can acquire music nowadays!
SM: What’s the best way for fans to keep up with all you are doing? SS: Facebook baby! Twitter, also. And my official website. However, if you really want to be in touch, my email list is the way to go. Those are the most personal . . . and the most meaty. Sometimes I give out prizes in my emails. Looking forward to hearing from you! Don’t be shy now . . . See links below to keep up with Sinem!
www.facebook.com/sinemsaniye www.twitter.com/sinemsaniye www.sinem.net Email list: www.sinem.net/cgi/mailing/ dualmailinglist.html Songwriter’s Monthly - Oct. ‘11, #141 http://www.scribd.com/SongwritersMonthly
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