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Sevyn Streeter Interview: Singer Opens Up About Working With Kid Ink + Chris Brown [EXCLUSIVE]

Sevyn Streeter
Steve Erle

It’s all about honesty with Sevyn Streeter.

Whether the singer is debating if she should get back with her ex in her latest track, ‘nEXt,’ or lending her songwriting talents to hits like Mac Miller and Ariana Grande‘s ‘The Way,’ Sevyn isn’t afraid to be truthful. In fact, that’s her goal.

We caught up with Sevyn as she was in midst of putting together her upcoming full-length album. She gave us behind-the-scenes details about filming her ‘nEXt’ video with Kid Ink (they even stage an on-camera breakup!) and shared her secrets to writing a hit song.

At the beginning of your ‘nEXt’ video, you and Kid Ink break up. How did breaking up with him on camera compare to a real life breakup?

That’s a good question. I mean, I guess I was a lot less heartbroken, but it the spirit of the video, it was still a breakup. Breakups are still uncomfortable, period, and especially when you really are in love with somebody. They are not the easiest things to deal with and once you break up, you’re trying to get used to not being with that person. You wanna go back and sometimes you do and sometimes you don’t… It’s just a whole lot of emotions. To answer your question, it was a lot less heartbreaking, but nevertheless, it was still a breakup!

I definitely think the song touches on a tricky topic. Trying not to give into the chemistry you have with an ex is something that everyone can relate to. Do you have any advice for people in that situation?

I don’t know if it’s necessarily the best advice, but I can tell that I did this. I went back to my ex a couple of times and regardless of how many times you hear from your parents or your best friends or whoever that “Oh, you should let it go and be over it and let him go. Move past it and find somebody new.” Regardless of the advice that you’re given, you kind of have to do whatever makes you happy. So for me to give my advice to somebody who’s thinking about going back to an ex or keeps on going back to their ex, you’ll know when you’re done. You’ll know when you’re finished with that person. You’ll know when you’re over them and ready to move, but nobody else can tell you that. You have to make that decision for yourself. You’ve got to come to that conclusion.

In both the song and the video, you and Kid Ink have such natural chemistry. What was it like recording the song with him?

Working with Kid, we both have really busy schedules. I heard his verse that he did and I just loved it. We didn’t get the opportunity to be in the studio together at the same time — we’re both working — but I definitely got to hear his verse and I was just happy. When we got on set, it was our first time actually working together and that was a lot of fun. He’s a sweetheart. He’s such a sweetheart and he’s so easy to work with. We just had a great time. We were laughing, sitting on the couch and I’m in his lap. Those laughs are really genuine. They’re really real because we were both laughing and dying because it was so hot with that glass and the sun outside. It was burning up. He was just great to work with. He made light of it and so did I.

Watch Sevyn Streeter’s ‘nEXt’ Video (Feat. Kid Ink)

For ‘nEXt,’ did you write your part first and then he sent you his verse?

Yeah, absolutely. ‘nEXt’ has been on my ‘Call Me Crazy, But…’ EP, so we already had the verses and when it came time to do a video, we really wanted a remix to it. He was perfect. It worked out perfectly. I loved his verse.

You’ve co-written quite a few massively successful songs. What is the key to a hit song?

I couldn’t even tell you because half the time, I’ll be honest, I don’t know how well the song is going to do. When we write, I just try to have as much fun as I can writing it and you’re sitting there and you chip away at the song in the studio. You chip away it and you change different melodies and you find words. “Oh, I don’t like that word, let’s change that word” or “I don’t like this cadence.” So you just chip away at it until it feels as good as it can possibly feel to you in the studio. And then from that point on, how it does once it leaves your session and leaves your hands, that’s completely up to the people. But you do try to write songs that you feel like people can relate to and you try to be as honest as you can so that people hear your records and they feel like, “Oh, my god. This is exactly how I feel. I went through this.” If anything, if there is a key, I would say to just try and be as honest as you possibly can and you chip away at that record until you’re satisfied with it.

When it comes to writing, is there anything that’s off-limits that you won’t discuss?

That’s a great question. No, there isn’t anything that I won’t write about, but that doesn’t mean I’ll put out everything. I may really be going through something where I’m mad at somebody today. I’ll be as vulnerable as I can and record anything, but I won’t say that there’s anything I won’t put out. It all depends on… there are certain things that I probably would not put out. If putting out this record would be detrimental to a friendship of mine or would really hurt someone’s feelings who I love or I’m close to, I probably won’t put that out. I won’t put that out, but I’ll get that out in the studio.

What can you share about the upcoming album?

I don’t have a release date yet because right now I’m just focusing on not having the pressure of a release date over my head. That’s awesome because I kind of get to just be in the moment and just write about how I feel when I wake up in the morning and take my time with it and be able to go back and re-visit songs. A release date, we don’t have one yet, but I can say one thing about the album. I want it to be, like I said, it’s important that things are very truthful to me. As truthful as they can be. I like to write about things that people go through but we haven’t necessarily talked about. That’s why I love the ‘nEXt’ record. It’s about going back to an ex. Or I have a record on my EP called ‘B.A.N.S.’ It can be a little harsh and it goes there, but it’s honest and people relate to it. In terms of having a release date for my album, I don’t yet because I’m focused on making sure that it’s good music. It’s good music that I can put out.

You’ve worked with so many amazing artists, like Chris Brown. Will there be any collaborations on the album?

I would love to have a couple of collaborations on there. Of course, I would love to have more collaborations with Chris. That’s my family, so I would love to do more records with him. I have dream collabs that I would love. I would love to do a record with Usher. I would love to do a record with Bruno Mars, with b.O.b. I would love to do a record with a bunch of different females… I would love to do that. I’m definitely looking forward to when it’s time to listen back to the album and go, “OK, we should put this person on this song.” I can’t wait for that moment.

NEXT: See 14 Artists to Watch in 2014

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