“Summertime” Love: Q&A with Satya

Kelly Kerrigan

Oakland R&B artist discusses her journey as an independent artist, her writing process & her heartfelt latest single

Early on in Satya’s newest single “Summertime,” she manifests the kind of love she’s looking for: “You wanna know me, I see it in your eyes/ You want the whole me don’t care ‘bout no disguise.” With a voice like silk and honey nights, the R&B singer perfectly encapsulates the warmth summertime reintroduces to the world after every long winter. 

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“I wanted to write a song about my desire and how I want to be loved by somebody else. I want to be seen and loved for more than the exterior beauty but also everything that comes with it, and all of the flaws. It’s about wanting to be loved in my most present form.” 

Listening to Satya’s lyrics, it’s incredible to fathom that she is just 20 years old. Her most recent EP Flourish Against Fracture moves mountains with its jazzy undertones and gentle ballads. Her song “Soil” best displays the singer’s vulnerability as she sings, “I think it’s time to sink your feet in the soil/ Inch by inch and row by row I’m going to make this garden grow/ I don’t know where I am but the trees said they’ll guide me home.” 

Independently led by herself and her team, Satya has had to learn a lot in the moment about navigating the music industry.

“Something I’m working on is trusting myself. That’s been a really huge journey for me. In the past, I’ve felt very intimidated. I’m a musician – I’m not becoming a manager or a lawyer and I’m going into a lot of meetings where I’m learning on the spot about a lot. One of the things that’s been really helpful is I have a really beautiful team of people helping with my music, I have a beautiful manager and I just feel like having a very tight-knit group of people has made me feel very secure. The main thing is learning to trust myself.” 

With her newest single “Summertime” and a new project on the way, the Oakland-native has found that her intuition is her greatest asset. Read more about Satya’s journey as an independent artist below and be on the lookout for a new single in June and her new project in the fall. 

“Summertime” and your EP ‘Flourish Against Fracture’ are very different sonically. ‘Flourish Against Fracture’ was released in 2020 and “Summertime” in 2021, and being as the past year has been, “Summertime” feels like a warm welcome to the future. What ways have you been able to overcome this past year that we all have had? 

My last project was a different feel. I’m happy there was a difference I feel like I’m always going to be changing my sound. The producers I work with and I are were starting to explore more sonically. This past year has been a lot, good and bad. I’ve had so much beauty come with this year along with the Black Lives Matter protests, that was definitely a very heavy time. I think one way I’ve overcome a lot, is first I’m surrounded by very beautiful people. I live with a lot of my close friends who are also artists and I feel like I’m constantly inspired by them too. I write a lot, not even just with music. I write a lot, for myself as a form of therapy. My notes app looks crazy, my journals. That’s just been therapeutic since the start of the year. That’s been a huge thing. I’m working on a new project right now. It’s talking about my whole healing process this year. Being around amazing supportive people has been a really helpful thing and I’m constantly inspired by them and what they do.

Your music video for “Summertime” was incredible. Where did you draw inspiration from for that?

The whole process for that was very organic. I saw a music video that I loved, and I remember I actually just ended up looking at some of the people that were a part of it. I worked with a girl a year before I wrote “Summertime” and we just had this connection and she was saying that she had never directed her own music video before so we always just stayed in contact and I was just like I would love to work with you someday when I have a song ready. And then when I had “Summertime” I was like this is perfect. I sent it to her and she loved it and she came up with so many ideas and the process for it was really natural. I had an idea for the vibe of it but I didn’t know how to tie it together. Something that really helped me when we first started working on it, she was like, “let’s break it down, when you listen to the first verse what are the feelings that you are getting, what are the colors, what scenes, just anything it could be random.” We started collaborating and I was like “I see a couch in the middle of a field, I see a bed.” And like I said, once I started to trust myself I started reaching out to the people I wanted to work with.

Your lyrics are serene and poetic. Where do you tend to draw inspiration from when writing? What does your writing process look like?

I see my writing separate from the music. Again, a lot of the times I’ll free-write. My journals are crazy filled and once a day, for ten minutes, I’ll set a timer and I’ll just write. I won’t lift up the pen and I’ll let whatever comes out come out. And there is a lot of studies where they’ve done free writing for people with PTSD and trauma and it helps and unlocks a subconscious part. So a lot of it is jibberish and also a lot of beautiful lines will come out. Whenever I’m having a block I’ll just free write and it’s really helpful getting over judgment with yourself. I think a lot of time as musicians and artists, we’re just really hard on ourselves. I usually write on guitar. I have a lot of poetry in my journal and then I have a lot of chord progressions and I’ll just mend the two together.”  

Being a 20-year-old black female artist, how have all of your identities influenced your time in the music industry?

The music industry is definitely very white male-dominated, along with a lot of other industries. I think that something that as my music has been growing and learning a lot more about the music business, it hit me pretty hard in the beginning. I feel like I became very aware of the fact that I’m a black woman, and not even just in the industry but going about life I realized how I’m perceived in the world. It’s a very big thing that I’m learning about and learning to overcome. 

You posted unique covers by Fleetwood Mac, Billie Eilish, and Billie Marten on Instagram. Who are your other musical inspirations?

I have millions. The artist India Arie, I listened to her a lot growing up. She always talks about empowerment, she’s a black woman. I was always very drawn, she’s very authentic, her stuff is very raw and vulnerable and open. My other biggest inspirations are Ms. Lauryn Hill,  Erykah Badu. I love Lenny Kravitz and Prince. All the people that I’ve done covers. I love Fleetwood Mac so much, I love Billie Marten. There’s an artist Feist. I listened to a lot of Feist in high school. I listen to everything, I’m not really drawn to one particular genre.

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