The journey of a true musician has many beginnings. There isn’t a particular cookie-cutter path to take, much like a doctor, a lawyer or a pharmacist. A musician’s true path is much like a maze that has an infinite amount of endings. So is the case for Sylvia Tosun, the singer/songwriter that hails from New York City. Sure she attended Juilliard to study voice, but this didn’t lead to a job as a vocal coach for a small-town choir. Instead it led her to travel the world and witness the true face of culture through music. Now regarded as one of the most sought after voices in electronic dance music, Tosun keeps with her music as well as with her label, Sea to Sun, that’s expected to have one hell of a Winter Music Conference.
Clubplanet recently caught up with Sylvia Tosun and chatted about her recent work, what we can expect from her at Winter Music Conference, and what 2010 holds in store.
Clubplanet: How’s the year treated you so far?
Sylvia Tosun: Not bad actually, we have some really good alliances going on. We did a really great party in Amsterdam in October last year and we’re going to do another one this year. Now we have the Winter Music Conference event coming up and we have some great releases. We’re releasing a couple of songs from Alex M.O.R.P.H., one of them is called "Sunset Boulevard" and it’s really great. He’ll be spinning at the party too. We have a record with Freedom Wiliams called Party Time which is super cool and we also have a girl called Carla Werner who’s working with Loverush UK on a song called "Give Me Your Love."
CP: You have a great balance with your songs between pop music and electronic music, and they truly appeal to both listeners. Which of the two genres do you think has the better fans?
Sylvia Tosun: I think the dance music fans are always a lot more fun because most of the time they’re in a really good mood when they’re listening to the songs. (laughs) I’m a hardcore dance floor person myself. It’s funny because I started off studying opera at music school and I even had a rock band, and I did rock operas, and I’ve gone all over the genres, but I always went out to clubs. I was totally into clubs and the whole scene. Now it has evolved into “This is the music that I’m making,” and it’s a super cool experience. I like the people involved around the world.
CP: Looking back, did you ever think it would get to this point?
Sylvia Tosun: I did but a lot sooner. (laughs) Everyone always says, “Well you got your number one record,” but it was 20 years in the making. (laughs)
CP: On your track Push and Pull there seems to be an underlying reference to struggle [You're pushing me under/you're pulling me over]. Can you go into that a little bit?
Sylvia Tosun: Well on this particular song I’m really influenced by David Lynch. The original track that was done was titled Twin Peaks, and it was a pretty good track by Matteo Marini and he actually asked me to write a top line to it. I said, “I’m a huge David Lynch fan, do you mind if I go with that whole Twin Peaks vibe?” They were good with it so I was inspired by Lynch’s Twin Peaks. The whole idea of a show within a show, living in an alternate reality and the constant struggle with what you want to achieve for yourself, and then what reality delivers to you. So it’s a deeper concept than just pulling me, pushing me, killing me. The ‘pushing me, pulling me, killing me’ concept comes from the fact that how we perceive ourselves is usually very different from how people perceive us and that could mean that we have a low self-esteem and others think that we’re mighty and powerful, or we think that we’re all that and everyone else doesn’t think so.
CP: Winter Music Conference is essentially around the corner and you’re set to perform at a very special event that you’re also helping put together for your label Sea to Sun. Can you go into that event a little bit?
Sylvia Tosun: It’s going to be at the home of four-time Grammy winning mixer Tom Lord-Alge. He’s mixed everything from Pink to U2, Annie Lennox and Coldplay. Him and his brother Chris are the top two mixers in the U.S. and arguably of the world. He mixed one of my original studio albums, Jump In and we became friends. I told him that we should have a party at his house during Winter Music Conference to bridge the gap between mixing and remixing, and he liked the idea. He opened up his house to me and I’ve invited a selected group of people and it will be covered by the press. We’ll have Getty Images covering the red carpet. Chris Lawrence is also performing, so we definitely have a lot going on.
CP: When it comes to your label, what do you look for most in an artist?
Sylvia Tosun: In an artist I’m driven by the vocals. If I hear something in a track that hits me in an emotional way, it’s a visceral experience for me. I’m looking for someone to tug on my heartstrings. We have some really great artists. I wanna hear richness, I wanna hear pain.
CP: When it comes to your songwriting where do you normally find inspiration?
Sylvia Tosun: Everywhere. If I’m sent a track to write to sometimes I get inspired by the actual track. I just go with it and I allow it to happen. You learn to let go a lot more and just let the creativity come through you because you don’t know how to control it. It happens in all different kinds of ways.
CP: Now that electronic music is starting to spread in the U.S. a lot more, how do you find the crowds here in the U.S. as opposed to those in Europe?
Sylvia Tosun: I think both sides go crazy. (laughs) If you’re there you’re jamming out at 2 a.m. and enjoying a really good DJ set and all of a sudden the lights go on and there’s some sort of a stage and someone comes out in a costume and starts singing live, it freaks you out. (laughs) I can feel the energy and I think that’s what bridges the U.S. and the rest of the world. I wouldn’t be able to compare both sides because I think it’s the same. The musical tastes are sometimes different.
CP: What can we look forward to from you for the remainder of the year?
Sylvia Tosun: I have a new single coming out that was mixed by Tom Lord-Alge, Above All. We’re going to have package together for it. Kid Massive is going to do a mix as well as other keynote players. We also have the album coming up and we also have Amsterdam coming up after WMC.