An Interview with Simone
17 year old singer/songwriter Simone sat down to chat with us about her new single 'Manhattan'.
How did you get your start in music?
Music was always a big part of my life. Growing up, my brother and I would put on performances for family and friends all the time. We were just always singing - like an annoying amount. My parents were a big reason for this. My dad used to burn me CD’s of his favorite songs and there was always music playing around the house. Naturally and quickly it became my passion. I was around 11 when I started writing songs that were somewhat decent and actually meant something to me. That was when everything changed, I think. When I realized that I could express myself through words and music. Songwriting became my outlet. I just fell in love with it.
Where are you from?
I’m from New York City! I’m so glad I got to grow up there, I truly don’t think I would have the same passion for the arts if I hadn’t. My parents used to take me to Broadway shows and concerts at venues like Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden. All of it was so inspiring. I reference the city a lot in my music because it was such a huge part of my upbringing. I feel very grateful to have been raised there.
Tell us the story behind your new song?
“Manhattan” is a song I wrote on one of my first trips out to LA for songwriting sessions. It was one of my last days in town and I was dreading going back home. I got in the studio with Kevin Fisher, who produced the song. It was our first time meeting but I can usually tell pretty quickly if I connect with someone, and he was someone who I clicked with instantly. I started talking about some of the reasons why I didn’t want to go back to New York, specifically because I was starting to feel like everywhere I went was tainted by memories of things I wanted to forget. It felt like I couldn’t leave my house without being bombarded with this uncomfortable nostalgia. So we ended up writing “Manhattan” about this longing to forget someone but not being able to because the memories of them surround you in the city you live in.
What’s your favorite thing to do on a Saturday?
Since I’ve moved to LA, my favorite thing to do on a Saturday has been sitting by the pool and reading. Which is such an annoying thing to say! But it’s true! You can’t do that in New York and I’m trying to take advantage of all that LA has to offer. Unfortunately growing up in Manhattan means I’m a terrible swimmer and can’t drive, which are two things that are pretty important in LA. But I’m adapting! Hopefully by next year I’ll have my license and be able to do at least 5 laps.
If you weren’t a musician, what do you think you’d be doing right now?
I’d probably be in college.
What is one album that changed your life?
1989 changed my life. I was 10 when that album came out, so I think that was one of the first albums I had ever listened to in full. I played that album over and over again until I knew every single word to every single song. I went to see it live and left thinking “I want to do that”. It was a game changer. I learned the set list and put on the whole show in my bedroom. Costume changes and everything. I even made my parents sit through it once. Bless them. I just loved that album and I got into Taylor’s whole discography after that, basically studying her songwriting and career. That album is really the reason I picked up a guitar and started writing. I cried when it won Album of The Year.
What’s up next for you?
I have a bunch of music in the works right now. I think it’s the best stuff I’ve ever made and I’m really excited to start putting it out into the world. I just want to keep releasing music that I love and feel really passionate about, that’s the most important thing. And then hopefully an album and a tour and a Grammy or two.
Stream 'Manhattan' HERE