Tyler, the Creator might have had the gobby chat and Frank Ocean the yearning soul, but Syd Tha Kyd was always the most intriguing member of early-2010s Los Angeles rap crew Odd Future. Quietly forging serious beats in the background while mayhem played out at her feet, Syd subtly slipped out of her shell and in 2011 debuted her lush and airy vocals with neo-soul side project The Internet. She’s now dropped ‘Tha Kyd’ from her name – well, we’ve all got to grow up sometime – and has branched out alone, releasing the stunning and downright sexy R&B solo album ‘Fin’ at the start of February. We caught up with her to talk the future of Odd Future, baby-making music and activism…
How long was ‘Fin’ in the pipeline?
“I started writing it right after we released ‘Ego Death’ with The Internet in 2015, but a lot of it I was writing with the intention of giving it to other artists. I was really loving what Miguel was doing at the time – I thought it’d be cool to write some stuff with him in mind.”
At what point did you decide, ‘Actually, I want these songs for myself’?
“Erm, I think it was when I was having a hard time trying to give it to these artists! It was like, ‘Maybe I need to put this out myself’ just to show people I can write this kind of music. So I consider my album a menu of my services.”
Apparently, your mother calls ‘Dollar Bills’ “the stripper song” – does she mean that in a good way or bad way?
“In a good way – that’s her favourite song on the album. Initially I wrote that song with a male artist in mind and that’s why I even said on the first verse, ‘I’m feelin’ like the man’. I just couldn’t think of a better word to replace it. That song was inspired by a drunken stripper fantasy.”
It’s very rare in R&B for a woman to sing a love song to another woman, but that happens on ‘Fin’.
“I think the world is just starting to become ready for this kind of open-mindedness. I’ve written songs about women since I’ve been involved with women, but I do know a few gay female artists who back in the day would write songs about men. One of my old friends, she was a rapper and she rapped about men and being involved with men. I think I asked her one time, ‘Aren’t you gay?’ She was like, ‘Yeah, but all my friends are straight – I make music for them to ‘enjoy.’ I thought that was really interesting. But for me, I make music for myself to enjoy.”
Pharrell Williams said your voice “feels like clouds”, which is an amazing compliment. How did it feel to hear that?
“Ah man, unreal. He’s my biggest influence. I love that his music doesn’t sound like anybody else. I was up ’til three in the morning with friends watching music videos last night. I was saying to them, ‘I don’t know whether you guys realise this, but every music video that Pharrell’s ever been in has been fire.’”
From: Los Angeles, California
Live: London Scala (April 9, 10, 11) w/ The Internet
Buy: Album ‘Fin’ is out now