Syd of The Internet Channels Inner ‘90s R&B Star with Debut Solo Album

Syd of The Internet Channels Inner ‘90s R&B Star with Debut Solo Album

Fin might be French for "end," but it's only the beginning for the musician's solo career.

Fin might be French for "end," but it's only the beginning for the musician's solo career.

Text: Ilana Kaplan

While the world has gotten familiar with Syd as the lead vocalist of The Internet, she’s ready to stand out on her own. Last week the 24-year-old artist and former Odd Future member released her debut solo record, Fin—a collection of songs that makes you think she might just be the reincarnation of Aaliyah. The LP falls into dark, enigmatic territory, paying homage to '90s R&B along the way. The artist seamlessly oscillates between woozy vocals and rapping, making the perfect blend of baby-making, empowered melodies.

We caught up with Syd about the making of Fin, how she got into making music, and finding stability.

How did you first get into producing?

I think it was a combination of things. My dad’s brother is a reggae producer in Kingston, and a couple times as a kid I got to go out to Kingston, to the studio. That always made me want to have a studio. It was also listening to The Neptunes and Timbaland on the radio as a kid that made me want to produce because I realized at some point I was listening to these songs and was saying, “damn, I wish I could say I made that.” At some point, my dad got me a laptop that had Garage Band on it and so I started making beats, remixing songs in the radio, and then spent time in the studio.

What made you want to write a solo album?

I think it was peer pressure—the rest of my band was working on solo projects.

How is your solo record Fin different than the music you make as The Internet?

I think the production is the biggest difference of all—it’s a harder kind of production style. The Internet is maybe a little happier, [my solo project] has a little more attitude.

Do you care if The Internet fans like your solo work?

Yeah, I will care, as much as I’ll try not to. Naturally, as an artist, whether we admit it or not, we want people to admire what we do. We may not make art with that intention—making things that other people to like—but I made this album for myself. More so, I made songs that I liked a lot and that I could listen to over and over again. I hope that everybody else likes it, too. If they don’t, it’s all good. Hopefully, they’ll like the next album or one of the other band members’ solo albums.

Is it a coincidence that you and Matt [Martians] have your albums coming out around the same time?

Yes and no. I think it was a happy accident. We all started working on them around the same time, so naturally, we were all finishing them around the same time. We didn’t want to drop them around the same day or month because we wanted everyone to have time to promote their stuff, so we wanted to stagger [the releases].

What were you listening to when you made this record?

When I started working on [my solo album], I was listening to Jeremih’s album, Bryson Tiller’s album, Anderson .Paak’s record Malibu, and then, of course, the throwbacks I’ve always been listening to: Justin Timberlake and Jamiroquai.

What do you think sets you apart in the music industry? Has the political climate fed into any of the music you’ve made on this record?

The political climate has not really affected my writing on the album. I did write some songs that were affected by recent politics, but they didn’t make the album. I think for this album, I wanted it to be more carefree, so I didn’t go there.

How did you go about deciding to release the singles “All About Me” and “Body”?

That’s a good question. I think they just felt right. “All About Me” felt cool because it felt like it would answer a lot of questions that people were going to ask about the band breaking up. So, I wanted to answer those questions without answering them out loud. With “Body,” I wanted to show the other side of the album.

Is there a theme that resonates throughout the record?

I don’t think there is. That’s actually interesting. I think what makes it cohesive is just the style of the writing. Everything else is a little different. There might be something for everyone. The overall theme is just “me.”

Is your solo record a one-time thing?

No, this will probably happen again at some point. You never know. I don’t even know what the next The Internet record is going to sound like, and that’ll come next. It’ll reflect what I’m going through at the time, just as this record reflects what I’ve been going through the past year or year and a half.

What were you going through specifically when you were making this record?

It was a combination of things. I was trying to get my mental stability going and wanted to make sure that my team members were taken care of, and I was also just trying to grow as a songwriter. I was just trying to perfect my craft.

What songs do you think are most representative of you on the record?

“Shake Em Off” and “All About Me.” I think “All About Me” is most representative.

How would you describe your personal style?

Kind of laid-back, very casual all the time. I think it makes me look younger, which is a gift and a curse.

Credits: Banner Image photographed by Justin Browne

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