Sevyn Streeter stays busy. As a musician and performer, she keeps a full schedule, sharing her multiple talents with the world. The 35-year-old artist began her career in two different girl groups, TG4 and RichGirl, where she used the stage name, Se7en, before branching out and embarking on a solo path. Her first project, Call Me Crazy, But…, was issued in 2013, and her breakout single, “It Won’t Stop,” garnered a larger audience for the R&B starlet. She followed that release with Girl Disrupted in 2016. Throughout her career, she has written for Chris Brown, K. Michelle, Usher, Kelly Rowland, Ariana Grande, Trey Songz, Alicia Keys, Fantasia, Brandy, and more.
Last month, Streeter was set to perform at Ellaè Lisquè’s fashion show for the debut of their Birthday Collection. Designer Maxie J enlisted her to set the tone and introduce the line to the world. This was our first attempt at speaking to each other. While we were unable to attend due to competing schedules, the “Sex On The Ceiling” singer fulfilled her duties, sharing a glimpse of her then-upcoming album, Drunken Wordz Sober Thoughtz.
As its release date loomed, the singer-songwriter sent out invitations to an album release party. We attempted to coordinate a phone call but schedule conflicts pushed back our conversation. (In fact, we attempted to align our itineraries around a journalist’s day-to-day deadlines and a musician’s booked and busy lifestyle). But there was still hope in getting insight from Streeter about Drunken Wordz Sober Thoughtz.
At the album’s release party, the vibe was set for a sultry evening of celebration in a sultry, atmosphere perfect for the ultimate listening experience. After we entered the red light-filled venue, the seductive scene was set by exotic dancers spun up and down pole installations. The DJ ran through the LP while mixing in R&B songs of the past and present throughout the night.
Sponsored by Deleon Tequila, the custom drink menu featured cocktails named after the album’s songs and strong enough to inspire anyone’s Drunken Wordz Sober Thoughtz.
In a gold chainmail outfit draped over her petite frame, Sevyn walked through her party guests, greeting everyone in attendance with an energetic smile, and declaration of excitement. Those closest to Sevyn Streeter as well as other musicians such as rappers Dreezy, Lakeyah, and singer JoJo were in attendance among others.
Alas, we had our face-to-face interview. Although our conversation was brief, we closed with a warm hug, after the realization that we finally connected after weeks of back-and-forth. Hopefully, in the future, our exchange will be the ultimate girl-talk about the inspirations behind all of her music both performed and penned for others, the layers of Black millennial womanhood, and the evolving nature of her career. Until then, read her breakdown on her latest album, Drunk Words Sober Thoughts, provided hours before its global release.
This interview had been edited for length and clarity.
VIBE: The release of your album is finally here. How do you feel in this moment?
Sevyn Streeter: I honestly don’t really know (laughs). I just feel like…well, I feel relieved for one. I really do, because it was just really important for me to give my fans new music that I love and I felt represents who I am today because they haven’t seen me for a couple of years, you know what I mean? So, it was important that they get a very clear idea of where I am and how I feel right now. I’m happy that they have that.
What song are you most excited for fans to hear? What songs are your favorite?
I’m excited…I don’t know, all them ho*s. I’m not even gonna lie to you. I really do. Like I love “Fall Back” because I love the rawness in the vocals. I love “End Up” because it popped the project off with intent and with just an energy that I think a lot of women are going to like. What woman doesn’t want to say “I’m a bad bi**h?” That’s the first line you hear in the record. Now, I think that confidence and comfortability in your skin is everything. So I want the woman to feel that one. I love “Taboo” because I love playing with samples and it has an Alexander O’Neal sample [If You Were Here Tonight, 2005] that’s really cool. I love “Forever” because it’s one of those records…I’ve always loved big ballads. Big, you know, ‘90s, early 2000s pop ballads, like Celine Dion type ballads. I’ve always wanted to sing something kind of in that space. “Forever” was like my R&B take on those types of records.
Can you break down the creative process and inspiration for some of the music?
It’s not always the same. For the most part, my creative process is, well looking at it a couple of ways. But for me, a lot of times one of two ways. Let’s say if I have my brother T Street or I’ll have Bizness Boi send me a pack of beats, I’ll just sit there and flip through ‘em. Whatever I feel. If one catches my ear, I’ll lay melodies to it. A lot of times when I lay melodies, I kind of hear the direction that I want to go in. But I’m a melody person. I’m a melody writer first. And then sometimes I listen back and…it’s kind of hard to explain. Sometimes I’ll listen back and I’ll love everything I did and I’ll just write that straight down. Or sometimes if I have actual producers, I will build things from the ground, and that’s always fun.
What does the album speak to overall?
The album speaks to, honestly, not condemning yourself for being human and having multiple emotions. When you’re under the influence of alcohol, you know, you spill your guts. You say exactly how you feel. But in this particular case, we’re under the influence of a sh*t ton of emotions every single day. I think that because you don’t want anybody to say, “Oh, you’re being too emotional, or you’re being too soft or you’re being too this.” People shy away from that. I don’t think that’s healthy. It’s not healthy for your mental health. It’s not good for your mental health. I don’t think that’s a genuine way to live. Nobody should do it themselves.
What are three words you would use to describe your album?
Provocative, vulnerable. and genuine.
Were you creatively impacted by the events in the past year on any level?
I think it was kind of impossible not to be. We were dealing with social injustice. We were dealing with this pandemic. We were dealing with [a] crazy political climate. We had the wrong person up there in that White House that they got up there. I mean, it was a lot, you know what I mean? I think it was impossible to not be. If anything, it made me want to dive deeper into friendships and relationships and things that actually truly matter. Things that truly affect our everyday lives. That was a laundry list of things, but it made me not want to deal with anything that wasn’t real, at least for me.
What can fans expect from you for the rest of the year?
The rest of the year, they can expect some more really fly visuals from the project. They can expect some performances from the project and expect some acoustics from the project. I want to just dive so deep into Drunken Wordz Sober Thoughtz and we squeeze all the juice out of her. I’ve been separated from my fans for a long time, so we gon’ have fun with this project.