Shockingly, Columbia R&B artist Srä has released absolutely nothing until Alaska, an entrancing collection of songs she dropped on Nov. 29 via Soundcloud. Inspired by musicians like Sade, Srä opens the album with rain forrest sounds, the gentlest of guitar strums, and her stunning voice she has spent her life sculpting via everything from church choir to high school chorus. The result is spa-like immersion into what she fittingly says was one big therapy session for herself, but that description is certainly applicable for listeners as well.
We caught up with the singer recently to get the lowdown on how Alaska came to be. Here's what she said:
KRS: How long did you work on Alaska and was there a force that motivated you throughout its creation? A muse or ongoing theme?
S: It took me exactly two-and-a-half months to work on Alaska, the writing included. It was a struggle for me. I'm horrible at communicating. Whether romantically or platonically, being able to say how I felt and even feel is a struggle but also what motivated me. Feelings are my motivation. I've skipped way too many therapy sessions, and isolation just so happens to be my favorite coping mechanism, but I needed to vent through my passion. This was one big personal therapy session.
My muses were my favorite things. My favorite color is orange, which resembles sexuality, intuition, and emotions, but when blocked, orange represents guilt, restlessness, confusion. Even though it's uncommon to favor a plant, I love cacti. They resemble endurance, warmth, and protection. My favorite animal is a flamingo, which represents balance and healing, and lastly, mermaids, which represent enchantment, seduction, and destruction. I connect with simple things.
KRS: What does the work mean to you now that it's done?
S: Now that it's done, I feel like I can breathe. This was one big personal therapy session. I feel proud of myself for being vulnerable because vulnerability is a superpower. It means something to me very deeply. It matters because I feel like my words hold weight. I feel lighter.
KRS Can you briefly touch on each song, give us listeners a window into the process to gain better understanding as we listen?
Well, it's like a trip inside of my mind and about my highs and lows. I'm explaining how sometimes my world is sweet even though it's "Deceitful and Shakespeare." The repetitive question "Can we feast on the highest?" is a question to myself to say "Can you be positive for once? Life is not as bad as it may seem." "It's all good down south" is simply stating even on my low days, I'm still going to be fine as long as I know that happiness is attainable. I wanted all to feel hopeful.
Sade is my favorite singer, and she's a Capricorn women like myself. She comes off as very sultry and sexual, when in all reality, she didn't see herself in that light as she explained. She drove that man bananas in her interview with all the giggling and flirting. I'd like to think of myself as sultry and intimate but, in a baggy jeans and eye contact kind of way. I wanted people to feel ... aware.
It's about me wanting someone, who didn't want me. Simple. I would've done anything for him, but he didn't see me. He couldn't see how good I could be to and for him. Dealing with that, those feelings were definitely a scooter to the ankle. I wanted people to feel used.
Leisure means free time and I would lose it to have a lover to continuously adore me in their down time. It's me telling them everything I have to offer, what they do to my mind, and letting them know it's completely OK to put me on a pedestal. There are a million fish in the sea, but if I want you, then you're my fish. I wanted people to feel demanding, possessive even.
Taking a bath is relaxing, that feeling of submerging yourself is so nurturing. That's what sex is supposed to be. Nurturing. It's supposed to feel like you're intertwining with another vessel and willingly giving yourself to them in the best and worst way. Women don't talk about sex enough, so I needed all to feel aroused in some way, shape, or form.
KRS: Who did the cover art?
S: I did my own cover art, with at least three different apps on my iPhone.
KRS: Will you be performing anytime soon in Charleston?
S: I hope so, I pray so. 2019 is definitely the year I finally show my face and stop hiding in the shadows.
KRS: Can readers buy Alaska either physically or digitally?
S: It's free and on Soundcloud. I want to give people something to feel that's easy to access for the time being.
KRS: What's next for you?
S: MORE MUSIC. I'm always writing, thinking. I learn and unlearn myself and others every single day, and with that comes the art.
KRS: Anything else you would like to add?
S: I didn't wake up one morning and decide this is something I wanted to do. It has always been inside of me and I'm my own worst enemy. It's taken years, pain, happiness, love, sex, depression, and self-reflection to finally tell me I'm ready. I have been terrified for years. I'll never be done figuring myself out but I will enjoy this version of myself. Behind every sentence was a breakdown or breakthrough and I gave up on my voice so many times, but not anymore. I just want to be a light, and make people feel, so here goes nothing.
You can listen to Alaska now at soundcloud.com/channelsra.