A classically trained soprano accepted into New York’s prestigious Juilliard School of Music at age 15, Sylvia Tosun began her career performing with the New York Grand Opera Company and shortly afterward became one of the lead vocalists of the multi-platinum selling Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Not one to stick to a single style, Tosun’s versatility has allowed her to thrive in a myriad of musical environments besides Classical.
She has since proven that classic songwriting and intelligent lyrics can connect with a dance music audience, and has become one of the most recognized voices in the global scene.
Her latest single – ‘Time Painter’ on Tiesto’s recently launched deep house label, AFTR:HRS comes from the acclaimed Dutch DJ/Producer Baggi, and features her song-writing talents and vocals.
Check out our chat below where Slyvia talks about everything ‘Time Painter’ and her mission to prove that classic songwriting and intelligent lyrics can connect with a dance music audience.
T.H.E – Your latest single ‘Time Painter’ with acclaimed Dutch DJ/Producer, Baggi is out on Tiesto’s deep house label, AFTR:HRS. How did the project come about?
Sylvia Tosun – Baggi’s manager Hosh Gureli, who is a friend and accomplished music industry A&R, was in attendance during a weekend event at Spindle Hill. During our Sunday brunch acoustic performance he heard me sing and was inspired to ask if I would be interested in writing and recording a top line to Baggi’s track that they had been searching for a vocal for. The track was immediately infectious and felt like a time-traveling summer breeze… Anton Bass, my writing partner, came up with the chorus melody and from there, the lyric & verses, emerged almost instantaneously.
T.H.E – What is a ‘Time Painter’ and what is the lyrical message of the song?
Sylvia Tosun – Like most lyrics; there is something different for everyone based on personal interpretation… For me, the idea of being a “time painter” is a symbol of finding the beauty in everything; past, present & future… There is a mystique about “time” and what that means for all of us. In this song, time is our friend and our dreams are timeless.
T.H.E – You’re a classically trained soprano, how did you end up working in electronic music?
In the early 2000’s a friend took me to experience a night of dancing at The Roxy in NYC. The tribalistic atmosphere on the dance floor was a revelation for me, and I felt a rush of melodic inspiration. I found myself sitting on the side of the dance floor writing lyrics that moved to the pulse of the “four-on-the-floor” beats. This lead me to pursue remixes for some of my original songs that were included on my artist album at the time.
T.H.E – Are you on a mission to prove that classic songwriting and intelligent lyrics can connect with a dance music audience?
Sylvia Tosun – I am not sure if it is a conscious mission, but personally, I do appreciate a good lyric in all music genres. A lyric on the dance floor can help create very powerful and emotional moments. I am humbled and amazed every time, when I have witnessed large crowds at festivals and clubs singing along to my song ‘An Angel’s Love’. To know that people can feel the words I have written, as the song somehow resonates, is a wonderful feeling of connectivity :)
T.H.E – You often write about deeply emotive or esoteric subjects, with spirituality also a common thread. Is this deliberate or just a direction you find yourself moving in when writing?
Sylvia Tosun – It is just who I am as a person and as an artist. I actually don’t know how to write a ‘pop’ song. In my world of personal expression, I allow the “fantasy” to evoke emotion beyond the realm of every day reality…the idea that life is spiritual on every level…our words are our poetry…our reality stems from our souls. Anton and I are a good songwriting team because he has the pop sensibility, and the ability to “reign me in” when I go too far inward. Our combination is an interesting blend that has shaped a unique songwriting style.
T.H.E – Which do you prefer, the creative process in the studio, or the buzz of performing?
Sylvia Tosun – Creative process is my favorite – I almost hate to finish a recording because to me, it is never complete…lol…There is always that extra brush stroke to add; one more harmonic undertone… However, Sting once said that “as writers, we never really finish a song; we merely abandon it”…
T.H.E – If you could change one thing about the electronic music scene what would it be?
Sylvia Tosun – More live performances; Singers, Musicians…Acoustic interludes…More authentic theater aspects, I believe, would enhance the experience. I also think the more eclectic the music gets, the better. I hope EDM continues to transform and become more diversified.
T.H.E – What’s up next for Sylvia Tosun?
Sea to Sun has recently joined the Black Hole label family and I am excited for a host of great new music that we have planned for release in the coming weeks. Of course, there are a bunch of songs that I am singing on, including a new collab with Saad Ayub called “Welcome to the World” (release date May 26), at the end of June a song called “Lost in a feeling” with talented new producers from Finland called Pino Benji, and I’m working on a chilled out album that will feature some new versions of some of my previous notable trance and dance songs.
T.H.E – Please give us your 5 artists we should look out for this year and why?
Sylvia Tosun –
Noise Revolution: This band is amazing! Their music is as if Goldfrapp and Radiohead had a baby, while Massive Attack was in the delivery room… So excited to have them on Sea to Sun.
Tom Noize: Tom is a great Producer & Arranger. His tracks always sound fresh and are usually sonic perfection. His new song with Shelley Harland “Unbearable” is fantastic. Shelley has a captivating voice and writes great lyrics!
Pino Benji: Brand new talents from Finland. They sent my manager a demo track last summer that inspired me to write a song called “Lost In A Feeling”. While I am sent a lot of collaboration requests, I cannot take them all on, but there is something special about these guys, and even though they are relatively unknown at this time, I feel a good vibe about them.
Saad Ayub: We wrote a song called, “Welcome to the World” together. He was born in Bangladesh but now lives in Canada and is a fast-rising star in the world of trance music.
Digital X: He’s a hugely talented producer from the Ukraine. I collaborated with him on my next single “The Beginning” and love what he does. He works a lot with Armada Music and writes with the likes of Andrew Rayel and Alexander Popov.
And one extra for you….
Stevie Nicks & Lana Del Ray: I heard they are working on a collaboration right now and am super excited about it. I have seen them both live in concert and cannot wait to experience them together!
T.H.E – Info about other upcoming music?
Sylvia Tosun –
May 12: “The Beginning” – Digital X & Sylvia Tosun
being released on Interplay (Alex Popov’s label via Armada Music)
May 26: “Welcome To The World” – Saad Ayub & Sylvia Tosun
Being released via my label, Sea to Sun (with Black Hole Distribution)
June 30: “Lost in a Feeling” – Sylvia Tosun & Pino Benji
Being released on Sea to Sun
With lots more to come in 2017 from me and my label Sea To Sun!