Sy Smith: The Queen of Underground Soul

Credit: Crewest Studio

Some artists are chameleons, constantly evolving to meet the demands of a changing creative landscape. today’s guest Sy Smith, meets this definition and more. Sometimes referred to by her peers as “the hardest working woman in underground soul,” Sy is a renowned actress, songwriter, and session singer who helped transform Los Angeles’ progressive nu soul scene over a decade ago to cultivate.

The following comes from Crewest Studio, a company DMN is proud to work with.

Welcome to The administration, a podcast featuring candid conversations with professional musicians, bringing listeners the unvarnished truth about life as an artist in the music industry. In tonight’s episode, host and LA-based DJ, producer and musician Dan Ubick (aka Constantine “Connie” Price) sits down with Sy to talk about her creative journey as a singer and performer. “Singing is such an intimate thing,” she tells Dan at the beginning of the interview, which chronicles the singer’s precocious entry into the music industry and her rise to become the “queen of underground soul.”

Sy was born in New York City and grew up in Washington DC. Thanks to her parents, who introduced the young girl to reading, writing, museums and theater from an early age, she understood the value of creativity. “Travel has always been a part of my life,” adds Sy, who encountered local hip-hop on her creative journey across the country. Eventually ending up in LA, where she now lives and works, Sy began as a session singer while supporting legendary artists such as Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Usher and Sheila E. Over the decades, she has released five critically acclaimed albums , including her youngest, the 2018 Sometimes a rose grows in concrete and her acclaimed debutpsycho soul. Sy received two NAACP Theater Award nominations and has numerous roles as a television actress. You may know her from the hit FOX show ally mcbeal, where she had a long-term recurring role supporting Vonda Shepard. Her voice is also heard as the character Aisha in Saints Row, an action-adventure video game with original music and production by the artist.

Sy also shares her thoughts on making a living singing and making music, what it was like to be a black artist on a predominantly white record label, and why she ultimately decided to start her own business. She gives aspiring singers and musicians some practical advice on auditioning, recording, publishing and performing rights. “Publishing and performance rights are ever-changing,” she says, urging working artists to keep up with the rapid changes in the music industry.

Sy draws inspiration from her surroundings wherever she goes and appreciates how growing up in a creative environment has fueled her imagination for a lifetime. Her inquisitive and flexible nature has enabled the nu soul artist to embark on a diverse career path that is dear to her heart. Tune in to today’s episode with Sy Smith for an inspirational story of steadfastness, perseverance and gratitude.

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