A conversation with SINI about “Higher”

Q: Hi! “Higher” is a captivating title for a song. Can you share the inspiration behind choosing this particular title and how it resonates with the lyrics and melody of the song?

A: Good question. I honestly didn’t put much weight into choosing the final title. It sort of happened naturally during the recording process and I didn’t overthink it. It just felt right, especially since I’m saying “Higher” repeatedly. The message is an empowering one, at least that’s what I’m hoping is conveyed to the listener. and hopefully the title represents that feeling perfectly. 

Q: Can you walk us through the creative process behind “Higher”? How did the initial idea evolve into the final track?

A: I was messing around on my keyboard, and I kept playing this melody that eventually developed into the opening “choir” vocal. Not everything I start writing sees the light of day, but I knew I had to keep going with this one. I wrote the chord progressions and vocal melody first. Still had no idea what I even wanted to say lyrically or what the song was about. I technically don’t know how to “produce”, but since I was hearing all these different parts that needed to be in the song, I grabbed my mic and recorded every little thing that was in my head using my voice as an instrument. Almost all of the backing choir vocals and harmonies were recorded on my laptop while I was in a state of flow. Before I’d even stepped into a studio, “Higher” had written itself. Except for the final lyrics and actual meaning of the song. That took some self reflection and deep diving to complete. 

Q: The lyrics of “Higher” seem to carry a powerful message. Can you delve deeper into what you hope listeners take away from them?

A: If there’s just one person that feels empowered by my lyrics to speak up about or walk away from a toxic relationship, whether it’s romantic, platonic, or familial, I’ll be happy. I’ll know I did my job. I hope that whomever this song finds, they know they aren’t alone and there is a beautiful and fulfilling life without that asshole sucking up their light. 

Q: Which artists or music genres influenced the sound and style of “Higher”? Can you pinpoint any specific inspirations?

A:  During the early stages of “Higher”, there was honestly no concrete artist or genre that directly inspired the development. It wasn’t until I brought my demo into the studio and began exploring the soundscape with Chris Rosa, that some tangible inspiration was drawn. We were hearing Radiohead, Trent Reznor, Bjork, and Portishead in my chord progressions and melodies. We really leaned into that 90’s electronic trip-hop sound when the beat comes in half way through the song. 

Q: Were there any collaborations in “Higher”, either in the songwriting or production stages? If so, how did these collaborations influence the outcome of the track?

A: Chris Rosa did an outstanding job engineering and producing the final track. Although “Higher” was birthed in my room, he took it to the next level. We’re both so thrilled with how it turned out. If we strip the song to its bare bones, piano and vocals, that’s all me. I couldn’t really see past the piano and vocals. He came in and pretty much brought everything else. 

Q: Could you share a bit about your musical background and how you embarked on a career in music?

A: I’ve been playing music my whole life. It’s a part of my daily routine, like brushing my teeth or going to the gym. I began taking classical piano lessons by age 6, although I don’t necessarily consider myself a great pianist or anything. I do know my way around the keys though. I was also a choir kid for a few years. Took a few vocal lessons here and there but was mostly self taught. I’m a lifelong student of music, my studies will continue till I’m no longer breathing. I still have so so so much to learn. After graduating high school, I sort of had an identity crisis. I come from a traditional Soviet Armenian family, I’m a first generation Armenian American, and I think my family expected me to continue living a traditional type of life. I didn’t want to go to college, I knew I wanted to be a musician but didn’t know where I fit. I loved singing but wasn’t confident in my abilities yet. I hadn’t practiced much in high school, due to my severe depression, but I was very young and knew I had something in me. Unfortunately, my mom was diagnosed with 4th stage colon cancer, and passed shortly after. I can keep going on and on with this, but long story short, music saved my life and I know to my core this is the only thing I’m supposed to do. After years of trial and error, a million reasons to quit, and many, many tears, my creative force is more resilient than ever. 

Q: How do you believe your music, including “Higher”, reflects your growth and evolution as an artist over the years?

A:  As an artist and songwriter,  “Higher” represents this stage where I’m honing into my unique writing style but I’m not stuck or set in stone in one genre. I don’t know if I’m explaining this in a way that makes sense, but if someone was to hear “Higher” and then see I went full Pop, or Rock, or something super weird and avant garde, it wouldn’t be too far of a stretch. My writing and vocal ability seems like it’s gotten to a point where I can turn into whatever I feel like turning into. It’s a liberating feeling but also terrifying. The next step in my growing process, aside from continuously working towards being a better writer, singer, and performer, is choosing a lane that feels the most authentic in my self expression. 

Q: Are there any upcoming live performances where fans can experience “Higher” live? What can fans expect from your performance?

A: I might do one last surprise show to end this year off, but I have nothing set in stone yet! So much of my time and energy is spent on my upcoming project, but we’ll see. Whether I’m doing an acoustic set on just the keyboard, with just my guitarist, or a full band set, expect a lot of emotion and energy behind every word. I don’t hold back. Or maybe it’s because I CAN’T hold back. Yup, I’ve just convinced myself. I’m doing one last show to top this year off. Stay tuned 🙂

Q: Beyond “Higher”, do you have any upcoming projects or releases that your fans should be excited about?

A: I don’t want to give out any spoilers, but yes, a project I’ve been writing for quite some time is now in its recording process. I’m really excited to be working with some very talented people. Bringing this to life is a dream. Stay tuned for that as well! I’ll be making some announcements soon.

Q: How do you hope “Higher” will connect with your listeners and fans? What kind of impact do you aim to achieve with this release?

A: Like I said previously, if “Higher” affects just one person, I know I did my job. Whether it’s healing, empowering, or just something that sounds good that they wanted to add to their playlist. If I’ve connected with you at all, I love you and can’t wait to continue sharing my art with you.