Editor Gabrielle Boyer talks to Sinead the Flower about Posogo, the importance of collaboration, the effect of the pandemic on her work and her dedication to sharing art.
Firstly, congratulations on the release of your video for Posogo, it’s really a work of art! Can you tell us a little bit about your inspiration behind the visuals?
I’m always saving what I like to call “insp” pics or creating mood boards on my desktop in folders, and on Pinterest and Tumblr. I also have a collage book and sketch. My mood boards are patiently collecting imagery until I’m able to develop an idea further enough to bring it to life. So Posogo basically developed through compiling pictures that fit the vibe I wanted people to feel along with my own ideas and aesthetic preferences. I then shared my initial ideas with my cousin who shared the role of creative direction, and she then added her two cents which allowed for an even more heightened vision.
You had so many creatives work on the video with you, like Jayde Gibbons of Queendom Heights and Perri Furbert of Gold, The Label. What does it mean to you to be able to collaborate with other creatives, especially on such a high level?
As someone who is very proud of my friends for their personal creative achievements, I absolutely loved the fact that my project allowed me to utilise their talents and form of expression in a way that complemented mine. Creative collaboration is very important to me so when you’re able to do that with talented people who you also consider as friends, it’s pretty cool.
And I know you have a team that you trust implicitly, can you talk about who they are and how much their influence and support means to you?
My team starts with my family. My parents have supported me with a lot of the behind the scenes stuff — babysitting, setup, breakdown, providing locations, etc. I do not have management currently, but I’m definitely open to it when the time is right. I have a few producers I have consistently worked with closely: Rian Williams, Akeem Albouy, Derek Simmons and my engineer Cahlii Smith (he prefers to go by W! YP?) who also produces. I’m in the process of developing my team even more. It’s so important to choose individuals who are right for your vision. As I hold more space for creating on a more advanced scale, I’m making mental notes of the people I know will be ‘go-tos’ for different services. I’m just letting it all happen as organically as possible. Even having friends that check in and hold you accountable for developing your ideas is so important to have.
How hard was it producing something of this caliber while also adhering to COVID restrictions?
A lot of the scenes were shot outside so it wasn’t too bad but to be honest, what I found the hardest about this production while amidst a pandemic, was choosing to do it with all of the uncertainty it can bring. Booking and purchasing things when there’s no telling if there will be a lockdown in the near future, or if your items will ship in time with all of the backlog (I actually just received something this year I had ordered for my shoot). Or just spending my own personal money on a “passion project” when people are being made redundant and businesses are getting shut down. I kept asking myself, should I be saving this money? I found myself questioning if it was irresponsible, but then my inner voice reassured me that not sharing my art with the world is more irresponsible than any of my fears. It was definitely nerve wracking though!
You posted a photo on Instagram of you with your daughter on set of Posogo – how important is it to you to show her the work that goes into making your dreams a reality?
My daughter seeing me doing things I love is very important to me. I started taking the idea of being a singer seriously only once she was born. So in that sense, she is my muse. There was a lot of creative energy during pregnancy and the transition into motherhood. I promised myself that I’d make time for things that excite my soul. Happy mamas are better mamas and happy mamas keep kids happy. Being a mother is a huge job that takes a lot of energy. My way of filling my cup is creating space to do things that keep me full. As a primary role model for my daughter, I think showing her that I can do these things and letting her be involved, while taking care of her is essential.
Looking back on your journey as an artist, is there advice you wish you’d had at the start?
Definitely stuff like registering music, and all of the administrative duties that I’m still learning. But I’d just want to tell myself to push my songs as hard as possible. Ask radio stations to play my music. Apply for funding. At the end of the day, I took the biggest step by starting. I’m just learning as I go.
You released Venus Has No Moon in May 2020 when Bermuda was only just emerging from a four-week lockdown – was the forced time at home helpful for you creatively or was it challenging?
I started the recording process before COVID so I was more anxious to get out of lockdown and into the studio so that I could work on all of the finishing touches. Lockdown allowed me to sit with my songs a bit longer than I usually had, really dissecting if there was anything I wanted to change. In hindsight, kind of piggy backing off of the last question, I wish I would have waited to release an EP and just worked on singles for now while I’m still developing myself as an artist. Or I could have at least pushed that project harder but I learned a lot with that process that’s helping me with everything I’m currently working on. It goes back to learning as you go.
How similar or different are Sinead Simmons and Sinead the Flower? Is Sinead the Flower an alter-ego or simply an extension of who you are as an individual?
I would definitely say that Sinead the Flower is an extension of who I am, inspired by Sinead at my core. So it’s Sinead as an expression. Sinead as a person can be other things but Sinead the Flower gets to focus on this one particular part of me that means so much to me — my creativity.
Growing up, were there certain experiences you had that helped to shape you creatively? Or people that influenced how you express yourself?
I was always a child interested in art and I’ve always been the girl who kept a journal. I studied Photojournalism and Commercial Art in university. But in terms of singing, I come from a family background where singing is second nature. My family harmonizes when they sing grace at a lunch gathering. I was also in choir at church and in middle and high school at Bermuda Institute. My papa sang in a few local Christian groups when he was younger and my mom sings in a gospel group now. My youngest brother has created a lot of music with his rapping. And my other brother, although music isn’t his ‘passion’, is definitely musically inclined. They both give me advice when it comes to music and help me out with melodies, etc.
Do you think that creatives are respected to the extent that they should be?
I don’t think that art is disrespected, but I do think that creatives deserve more attention and a bigger emphasis needs to be placed on the arts and the positive impact creative expression can have on the community mentally and even from a standpoint of marketing the island. Artists of all calibers deserve the opportunity to develop their crafts, especially if they are showing the hunger.
For you, what was the highest high of the last year and the lowest low?
My highest high(s) for last year were releasing my first EP, Posogo video production, and more on a personal level, getting my own car and apartment. The lowest low was losing two aunts to cancer during COVID and not being able to fully honour their departure the way that families usually like to.
What’s next for you?
I plan to release more singles, visuals, and perhaps even another EP in the near future, with careful planning of course. I really want to get more of the world listening to my music. I’m also working on merch for my Tribe of Flowers (supporters) and a few other projects I won’t disclose at the moment.