Last year, Sevyn Streeter took the scene by storm spawning hits like “It Won’t Stop” and “I Like It,” but little did anyone know that Sevyn has long been on the scene penning hits for Chris Brown, Kelly Rowland and Alicia Keys. Releasing her solo project, just two years after parting ways with her former girl group Rich Girl, in 2013, Sevyn was going for the kill and this time all on her own. Although charting unknown territory, Sevyn welcomed the pressure. “I feel like it’s all positive pressure, I’m not afraid of anything, it’s just like ‘Alright, welp, here’s your shot,” so man you better work,” Sevyn said of the transition.
With her widely praised EP titled Call Me Crazy, But…, the 27-year-old has found a way to channel all of her emotions, putting them into song and everyone was certainly feeling it. Juggling her solo endeavors while working as a songwriter for Brown’s upcoming X album, she’s on her way to becoming a major R&B force. During a recent stop at the XXL headquarters, Sevyn spoke about adjusting to being a new solo act, learning from the artists she’s worked with, and her songwriting process. She also reveals her dream collaboration, which may be a surprise to some. The hustle continues.—Miranda J.
XXL: How does it feel to finally have your shine after making big records with Chris Brown, Kelly Rowland, Ariana Grande and more?
Sevyn Streeter: I feel like everything just kind of happened how it was supposed to. I didn’t want it to happen sooner, I think timing is everything. I’ve learned over the years to appreciate God’s timing and you can’t rush things, it’s gonna happen exactly when it’s supposed to. To have my music out now, I feel prepared because it happened when it was supposed to. No sooner no later, right on time. So it feels good.
Is there a different kind of pressure being a new solo artist?
Absolutely, I would be lying if I said I didn’t, but I do think there’s such a thing as a good pressure. I feel like it’s all positive pressure, I’m not afraid of anything, it’s just like “Alright, welp, here’s your shot,” so man you better work. So it’s a good pressure and I welcome it and I am excited. I couldn’t be happier. It’s a great moment.
You’ve been in the game for a long time so have you learned from other people and their situations. Like Chris, you guys are really tight and he’s going through a lot of stuff. Have you learned anything from him?
Yeah, I’ve learned so much. I swear I pick up little gems from every artist that I work with. That’s why I’m so appreciative that I’ve been able to be a songwriter first. Just because from working with Alicia, she has this… I don’t want to call it a carefree spirit about music and recording but it comes from a place that it’s just pure and it’s just about what feels good. I mean with Chris, he has a certain kind of freedom with his music and his artistry. He’s so well at expressing himself and he’s honest with himself. I picked up that or from working with Kelly and seeing how she puts together an album. Like little gems from I’ve definitely picked up along the way. I appreciate all of the artists cause they shared a lot of knowledge with me.
Even with the title of your EP, Call Me Crazy, But…, you are giving away a piece of yourself to your fans. Is there any story you could think of that you were like “you can call me crazy but?”
All of it is pretty personal but if I had to pick one little moment today, I would say call me crazy but you acting like a “B.A.N.S.” That definitely touched a little spot for me. The song on the EP is called “B.A.N.S.,” it stands for “Bitch Ass Nigga Shit.” I was really going through that, I just [was] really going through that. He was acting like a “B.A.N.S.,” he was on some “B.A.N.S.” stuff and that song hit very close to home for me. I was hurt and going through it.
What happened with your previous groups? I know you came from two groups before and to me it’s never been clear what happened. You’ve said the solo career happened in due time. Do you feel like you were always going to be a solo artist?
I wish I could tell you that I knew that the story would eventually get to this point, but in life you don’t [know]. When I tell you I loved being in my groups, anybody who knows me, they know that I loved being in my groups. From my first group TG4, I loved being in my groups. I was devastated when we broke up. Just like I didn’t know I was going to be in Rich Girl after TG4, I didn’t know that this phase in my life was going to come after Rich Girl. But I will say that especially Rich Girl—I loved Rich Girl. We had a great four years together. We were signed to RCA, we had a good run. Went on tour with Beyoncé and I loved it but I had no idea. Honestly, I remember towards the end of Rich Girl, I started writing with Chris and after Rich Girl broke up I kinda held on to whatever God gave me. And for me that was songwriting. I love songwriting and to be around music. I started writing songs with Chris, just writing songs with Chris and little bit by little bit, I kid you not that I couldn’t make it up it kind of panned out. God is just amazing the way that he did all of that.