Shortly after moving to Asheville in summer 2015 to be closer to his son, local hip hop artist SIYAH (whose name stands for Strugglin' Improves Your Ambitious Hustle) released his debut EP entitled Brief Demonstration. Since then, he’s also released songs “New Chapter” and “The Coronation,” which Alli Marshall of Mountain Xpress picked up for coverage.
“The song’s socio-political themes are clear, punching their way to the forefront of the energetic beat,” Marshall wrote. “There’s a hint of reggae to the song, but instead of going on a laid back direction, it turns that swaying beat into a revolutionary march.
On his website SIYAH’s music is described as “promoting positivity, honesty and originality.” That’s what fans can expect of the artist’s forthcoming performance at the Pritchard Park Singer/Songwriter Series on Thursday, July 20. In anticipation of the show, SIYAH participated in a Q&A led by Asheville Downtown Association.
ADA: How has your music evolved recently, and what was the catalyst?
SIYAH: The experience I've gained over the years has impacted my views of the world, which in turn changed my artistry and the stories I now tell. Performing has also changed the way I write songs.
What aspects of your music do you hope listeners take away?
What draws me in as a listener is hearing new subject matter and topics that make me want to think and learn more. So, I want to make that same connection with others.
What's one strength and weakness of the local music scene from the artist's perspective?
I feel like there are great venues here and potential for a more vibrant hip-hop scene, but there's not enough support for the local rappers and underground artists.
What has been inspiring your recent lyrics?
I get inspired and motivated by the struggle. I think that our common human struggles unite us, and I tell about these struggles to bring attention to them — and to start a conversation about them. I've also been inspired by the realization that my love for hip-hop has changed, and I've been coming to terms with these thoughts and emotions.
SIYAH performs from 6-8 PM at Pritchard Park on Thursday, July 20. The show is free and open to the public. All ages are welcome. RSVP on Facebook here or visit the artist’s website at www.siyahmusic.com.