A couple of months ago I reviewed Bishat, a rising alternative vocalist who deftly mixes genres such as R&B, electronica, and pop into her music (check out that review here). She recently released a sparkling acoustic rendition of her newest single, SOBER, and I had the pleasure of speaking with her over Facebook Messenger about her artistic process and beginnings. The acoustic version of SOBER will be available digitally on April 29th, and keep on the lookout for another release in May– I’ll put it up on here when available.
Rhythm Endlessly: First of all, I’m loving Sober and I’m glad it’s getting a heap of attention! It seems like the sort of song that’d have pretty widespread appeal, given its mix of different genres (R&B, electronica, etc.) So I was wondering, are there any other artists/media you drew influence from while Sober was first taking shape?
Bishat: Well, not really, I write about my own experiences and so that just came from me + the vibe we had going in the studio. The music came first with Sober and I just started singing and it came out really quick, but there are of course artists that influence me and everything I listen to. I guess you can trace bits of in my music from Alicia Keys and Lauryn Hill to FKA Twigs, The Weeknd, Lana Del Rey and Flume.
RE: That makes a lot of sense. The two singles you’ve released so far don’t sound derivative of any other artist, which is obviously a sign of originality. I can definitely hear some Flume and Lana in your vocal style, though, which is certainly a compliment! Did you have a part in the production/instrumentals of Sober as well as the vocals?
B: Yeah, I was there the whole way through. I’m very hands on. A lot of the time I write something and do the foundation of the production in Logic and the bring it to my producers where we continue to work together. I need it to sound how I want it to, even if I don’t yet have all the technical skills to get it there, but i’m working on it. Though I love collaborating with others. I think having other to bounce ideas of and help push each other is the best way to create great music. It was a team effort, but the lyrics always come from me.
RE: I figured the lyrics were yours; they’re certainly personal/relatable enough! In the same vein, what brought about the creation of the acoustic version? How was that experience different from the original?
B: Happy to hear that! Well, the piano is my back to basics. That’s how I started writing songs in the first place, when I was 13 just sitting in front of my piano, playing other songs or improvising up stuff that eventually turned into songs. And when I write, regardless of if it’s in a session or I write on a beat or track, I like to play it on my piano at home, to feel it for what it is and see if it works, stripped of production. If it doesn’t feel good it’s not good enough. I think the melody should work just with a single instrument. Maybe old fashioned. But Sober felt good and I love how it became something completely different. I think you can relate to the heartache more. I love the production. It’s messy and raw which is great. You can dance to it and really care which the song is also about. Giving in, letting go… but acoustic it becomes more contemplative. Sorry for the long answer!
RE: No worries– it’s really cool to get a glimpse into your process/beginnings, especially in such detail. It really shows the effort and personality in your work. Any live performances so far?
B: Yeah, did one and have another coming up soon and then a few gigs this summer, but I really wanna get more tunes out there so you can go big. I love and hate live. I get so nervous, but once I’m on that stage there’s no better high. I can’t wait to get to travel and see new places and meet new people and share what i’ve been working on.
RE: I hope you get to that point soon; I’m sure the nervousness will fade a little as more gigs come and go (which I’m sure they will)! It sounds like you’re in a really good place musically (not to mention you seem a lot more humble/down-to-earth than a lot of the bigger names out there, which is always admirable). Speaking of “more tunes”, I have to ask: any original tracks/new releases on the horizon?
B: Aw, thanks! Yes, I do, should have a new tune out in May I’ll make sure to let you know when date is set and there’s more info.
RE: Can’t wait– would love to get word of that when the day comes around! Finally, is there any experience/emotion you’re trying to inspire with your music? In other words, what are you hoping your fans will take away from your work?
B: I want people to relate. I write ’cause that’s my form of therapy, and growing up I loved listening to music that made me feel like I wasn’t the only one going through whatever I was going through– whether that was heartache, euphoria, feeling like an outsider, racism or just growing pains, you know?
RE: Awesome. That’s all I got for you today! Thanks so much for talking, I can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with next. So cool to see that music and its associations have always been really close to your heart– that’s what makes great art, after all!
B: Thanks so much- lovely to chat with you. Take care!