After a few years of musical hiatus, the Canadian artist Saya returns to the spotlight with her comeback single Sick, a letter of introduction to her new era as an artist and singer. She explains to us how this project explores different emotions and diverse narratives, such as love through an irrational but intense desire or allowing yourself to be vulnerable to break free. Talking with her makes you see the forceful determination she has for everything she conceives, from writing her own songs to taking part in the creative process. Now she presents her newest single Death of me, which will be part of her upcoming EP titled Ready to Burn.
It could be said that her work has a particularity that sets her apart from other artists. Through her songs, Saya transports us to an intimate scenario that seems impossible to translate into a song, but she achieves it almost naturally. She sings to us from a perspective that explores the rawest and most irrational part of love. Her song Sick is the key that opens the door to her next EP Ready To Burn, which will have an alt-pop style that flows between genres. You may not have heard about her before, but I can guarantee that from now on, you won't stop hearing about her since she comes with the right mindset to succeed in everything she pursues. In her own words: “I always set high expectations for myself, even if I get disappointed, I try again, I keep going,” this wonderfully represents what kind of artist Saya is.
Hey Saya, it is a pleasure to interview you for METAL Magazine. For those who haven't heard of you yet, how would you define your sound and how would you like to be known from now on?
I would define my sound as genre-bending. At the core it's pop, but I like what I like and I make what I feel – so it's always evolving. I have a hard time describing it most times. I don’t need to be known for anything but I hope my new music can connect with people on a more intimate level.
In the last 3 years, you seem to have taken a break from music. Why did you make this decision?
I never intended to take that much time off from releasing music, it just played out that way. I felt like I was at war with the very thing that makes me feel alive: creating. I took the time I needed for myself to reevaluate my intention with the art I create. I allowed myself to naturally fall back in love with it and took my time making my new project. Some things just take time.
Last October, you released your latest single titled Sick, a remarkably enveloping song with alluring lyrics and a danceable alt-pop beat, where you also show a more vulnerable side. Why did you decide to make this your first single after your musical hiatus?
After my last release – the EP Sugarcoated, I wasn't enjoying making music. I felt disconnected from it, and a bit lost on what I wanted to write about. I hadn't had a studio session in a while and met up with my writing partner Ally Sou and did a one-off session with a new producer, Damian Birdsey, and Sick was created. I felt captivated by the track and it reminded me of the feeling I used to feel when I originally started making music. Sick inspired the entire project and was the driving force of it.
In this track, you are open about the struggles that arise in a romantic relationship. From the chaotic toxicity to recognising an emotional attachment to that person, even if you are aware of the addiction to this kind of love, sometimes it's hard to escape from it. What were your thoughts before releasing the song?
I have a bad habit of romanticising everything. I’m very intense and passionate. I love to love and I love to give and receive love. Sometimes I get carried away, as I tend to feel things very deeply. Not every moment is good and not every moment is bad. Sometimes I can detach quite easily from people and sometimes I can’t.
As humans, we experience a multitude of emotions when in love and when in lust. I’m human and I’ve always been fascinated by the human condition. Desire drives people to irrationality. I thought it would be nice to release a song that was a bit different and that would explore that.
In the music video for your song Sick, directed by Gennelle Cruz, some of the main shots made me think of the movie Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman, especially the mirror scene. It's interesting because the film also tells a story of love, frustration, and madness, just like you mention in the lyrics. What is the message you wanted to convey through the music video? 
Black Swan was actually referenced for the music video, specifically for the colouring and lighting. I wanted to portray weakness and submissiveness throughout my character. I’ve accepted that being vulnerable allows me to be more free and creative and I think it's amazing.
It could be said that, after all this time, you have finally found a place in music where you truly feel comfortable.
I do feel that I am happy with my new work, however, I love to be uncomfortable – it's the only way I can grow and growth is essential for any artist.
In other interviews, you have mentioned that you are also a songwriter. What is your creative process of songwriting?
I’ve been writing music my entire life. I like to collect words or phrases in my lyric book/notes app on my iPhone. Sometimes I write poetry and turn it into a song, other times I watch a film and hear a line I like or I get inspired by the character or narrative. I also am inspired by my surroundings, sometimes I will even pull emotions my peers are feeling in their own relationships. When I feel ready to go into the studio, I still am very involved in the creative direction of the production, usually knowing exactly what I intend to achieve in a session.
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Sick has been your comeback song to music. You will soon release an EP titled Ready To Burn, which will be out next year. What can you tell us about this upcoming project? Will there be any collaborations?
Ready To Burn is intense, passionate, and painful. The project tells a cohesive story, starting with Sick, which expresses a range of emotions that are more deeply explored throughout each track. I collaborated with violinist Amelia Fraser on track four and my dad plays the guitar on track five.
It's noticeable that in your single Death of Me you have defined your sound. Although you haven't released the EP yet, the common thread between this song and Sick has caught my attention; so far, we have seen that it is about this dark but eclectic imagery of lyrics where you talk about an addictive but harmful type of love. When making this project, did you first think of the concept for the EP, or did the songs arise from real experiences that you may have lived?
Immediately after writing Sick, I felt compelled to centre the entire project around those emotions and dive deeper into that narrative. Interestingly enough, I was in a healthy long-term relationship when writing this project. It takes a long time for my darker emotions to surface and for this project, I got a lot of those buried feelings out.
Social media has transformed the way we communicate and consume content, including music. One of the positive sides of this is that it is becoming easier for artists to reach a wider range of audiences, even having the opportunity of going viral on the Internet, although that can also lead to a fleeting success. As an independent artist and musician born and raised in Toronto (Canada), has it been difficult to find your place in the music industry since you started uploading songs on Soundcloud?
Everything came very quickly to me when I released my first song and I am grateful for that, however, it does feel like I am starting all over again after taking so much time off.
I cannot forget to mention your debut single Wet Dreams, which you released in 2016. To this date, it has become one of your biggest hits and it currently has over five million plays on Spotify. How did you feel when you saw how well received it was? Were you scared by the huge repercussion it had right after you started your music career?
I felt excited, however, I just knew it would do well because I set that expectation. I always set high expectations for myself, even if I get disappointed, I try again, I keep going. If I did it once I can do it again.
It is inevitable to see that your artistic influences go far beyond music. Just by taking a look at your Instagram profile and your past projects, we can see a pretty defined aesthetic. From the visuals, hairstyles and makeup you use, we can perceive a strong influence from vintage glamour, especially in the clothes you wear, since you are your own stylist. How important is it for you to express yourself through other artistic aspects?
It's very important. I am inspired by all mediums of art and also express myself through all of them. Artistic expression is inherently a part of the human psyche and this expression allows me to communicate, transform and contextualise myself and my inner thoughts and feelings, consciously and subconsciously. 
Speaking of inspirations, is there an artist you would love to collaborate with in the future?
I want to work with producer Mike Dean and I also want to work with Travis Scott, Don Toliver and The Weeknd.
After a few years of hiatus due to the pandemic, which is gradually starting to be left behind, the music industry has been reactivated, from festivals to concerts. Is there any chance that we will see you performing on the stage soon?
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