NXTSTYLE’s 2020 Songs of the Summer: Syd Silvair “Heroine”
INTRODUCING NXTSTYLE’S 'SONGS OF THE SUMMER,' HIGHLIGHTING OUR FAVORITE TRACKS WE'VE DISCOVERED THIS SUMMER. OVER 70 SONGS FROM NEW AND INDEPENDENT ARTISTS FORM OUR SUMMER 2020 SOUNDTRACK. TODAY WE FEATURE SYD SILVAIR. THE NEW YORK BASED SINGER/SONGWRITER HAS SO MUCH TO HER ARTISTRY. MIXING TAROT WITH MUSIC, YOU’LL FIND HER APPROACH TO CREATING HER EP VERY INTERESTING. LEARN MORE ABOUT SYD SILVAIR IN OUR FEATURED INTERVIEW.
When looking at Syd Silvair the artist I see several unique influences between your sound and image that fit so naturally. There’s so much thought and conviction put into your artistry. How would you describe Syd Silvair the artists and her purpose in music?
Thank you so much! I’ve always admired artists who create little universes around their music, and I aspire to do the same with mine. I want to give listeners a place to escape to that is lush, cinematic, and multi-dimensional. I’m going to continue expanding the sound and visuals, weaving new colors and textures into the world of Syd Silvair. I also feel called to bring the archetype of the witch into focus with this project. Though this figure has been historically cast aside and demonized, she finds ways to tap into personal power and honor the complexities of human nature. I think the symbolism of the witch will become more and more relevant as we evolve collectively and begin to reclaim the divine feminine within all of us. My hope is that listeners will connect to their own divinity through this music.
On the flipside you’re a tarot card reader by day. Describe your connection to the spiritual world and what led you to become a tarot card reader.
I’ve been fascinated by the occult from a young age. I always collected tarot decks, rune stones, crystals, pendulums—any objects that were tangible representations of intangible forces. I loved the idea that magic wasn’t necessarily supernatural, but rather something that bridges the gap between earthly and ethereal. For a while, I used the tarot deck as a tool for songwriting, which helped me develop a deeper understanding of the card meanings. But years later, I found out my great grandmother had been a card reader, and that was the spark that inspired me to take my reading practice to the next level. I felt like I needed to honor that legacy.
Has there been a card that consistently shows up bringing significance to these trying times and how to navigate through it?
There seems to be somewhat of a consensus within the tarot community that 2020 has been reminiscent of The Tower card. Not only do I totally stand behind this idea, but I’ve pulled this card several times since March! The Tower typically indicates that life as we know it will suddenly be turned on its head—false senses of security will come crumbling down leaving us to pick up the pieces and rebuild, but this time with a new understanding of what stability, safety, and structure are truly supposed to look like. It’s a card that challenges us to find new clarity through chaotic times, and I can’t think of a better way to sum up 2020 so far.
``HEROINE`` NXTSTYLE'S SONGS OF THE SUMMER
Getting into your EP Reverie, in my deep dive on Syd Silvair I saw that each song speaks to a different tarot card (pretty intense!). How did this process play out? Did you draw 4 cards or choose specific cards?
The lyrical themes and melodies of the songs came first, and then when I began to tie in the tarot references, it was pretty clear to me which of the Major Arcana cards aligned with which song. Once I decided on the corresponding cards, I tried to capture the essence of the card in the arrangements and instrumentals. Building these soundscapes to embody the cards was really fun because it allowed me to interact with the cards in a more abstract way. I love how music can communicate certain feelings and moods that are impossible to put into words, and this was an opportunity for me to dig into that during the production process.
As a grouping what’s the significance of those 4 cards and how does it speak to the messaging of this EP and “Heroine” specifically?
I love this question. My favorite part about reading tarot cards and writing songs is the element of storytelling, and there’s definitely a storyline at play with these four cards. The Moon (Obsidian) and The Tower (Maraschino) both evoke a sense of unease—when they come up there’s always the possibility of succumbing to fear of the unknown. But on the flip side, there’s also the possibility of conquering and embracing the unknown. That’s where the Magician (The Moth) and Temperance (Heroine) come in. The Magician’s power and boldness are present, helping to combat the fear. And Temperance is there to guide us towards that divine gray area, where we can get comfortable with the unknown. I think the sentiment of the Temperance card and the song Heroine really get to the core of Reverie (and of my songwriting style in general), which celebrates those liminal spaces, and finds those sweet spots where opposites and contradictions intersect one another.
What would be the ultimate sync placement for “Heroine”?
I would love to see Heroine used in season 2 of Euphoria! Season 1 had an awesome soundtrack, and a few of the characters actually remind me of the “Heroine” of this song.
What artist, songwriter, or producer would you most love to work with?
Too many to name, but recently I’ve been very into Blake Mills’ production—I love everything he does with Perfume Genius, and “Sound and Color” by Alabama Shakes (which he co-produced with the band) is one of my favorite albums.
With more down time this year due to the pandemic, people have placed their energy on things they previously didn't have time to focus on. What is something you’ve been able to connect with that you wouldn’t normally have time for or even think about?
I’ve been escaping the city to explore parks and go on hikes, and taking the time to reconnect with nature has made me realize how nature-deprived I was before the pandemic! I’ve always loved being in the woods, but other than the North Woods of Central Park, I don’t know of any place within the city that feels remotely like a forest. It’s been so healing to spend time truly appreciating the outdoors in it’s more untouched forms.
What can we expect from you in the final months of 2020? Where can people get a reading?
I’m going to release at least one more song this year (if not a few more!). To book a reading, DM me on Instagram or send me a message through my website: https://www.sydsilvair.com/tarotbysyd. With Halloween season coming, readings fill up fast, so if anyone is interested, don’t hesitate!
Is there a charity that means a lot to you that you urge others to look into? Any particular connection you have to it?
There are so many great ones that are finally getting some much-deserved attention—one I’ve been particularly drawn to is The Okra Project, which is a collective that provides meals and resources to Black Trans people across the world. When it comes to social justice, I think it’s so important that we direct our activism and support towards the most marginalized groups first and foremost.
SYD SILVAIR's Top 5 songs this summer:
- David Byrne “Strange Overtones”
- Light Asylum “Dark Allies”
- Fiona Apple “Fetch the Bolt Cutters”
- Steve Lacy “Dark Red”
- Grimes “Delete Forever”
Listen to all of our featured artist’s favorite songs of the summer on our special Spotify playlist.
Syd Silvair’s ‘Firsts and Favorites’
First concert: Bruce Springsteen when I was 6.
Favorite Album: I don’t think I can choose one favorite, but one that’s consistently in my top 5 favorite albums is It’s Blitz by Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
First song you fell in love with: “Case of You” by Joni Mitchell
Favorite Crystal: Labradorite
First performance: Battle of the Bands in high school
Favorite thing to do outside of music: Picnic in a graveyard.
BROWSE ALL OF OUR ‘SONGS OF THE SUMMER’ INTERVIEWS
MUSIC IN 2020 INTERVIEW SERIES
WE INTERVIEWED MUSIC PROS AND TASTEMAKERS TO GET THEIR PERSPECTIVE ON WHERE MUSIC IS HEADED AND TO DISCOVER WHAT NEW MUSIC THEY'RE LISTENING TO.
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THE ‘NEXT IN MUSIC’ PLAYLIST
Discover a wide range of new music we’ve recently added including our featured songs of the summer. Follow the ‘NEXT in Music’ playlist on Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud.