Vermilion Records presents, “emptiness” singer ‘SVANN’ getting candid about Her music journey, inspirations and struggles with Emma Nainby.
By Shifa Mehra
Photography by Ryan Clair
7 september, 2022
A very interesting conversation between our very own Emma Nainby and the “Emptiness” singer Shisaiah Van Niekerk or as we all know her as “Svann” was held over a cup of coffee at ‘La Boite’. Here is the full conversation recorded specially for you.
Musical mornings at Merlo are held every wednesday’s at ‘La boite’ from 10-12 AM.
Svann : My name is Shisaiah. And then my artist’s name is Svann.
Emma : Awesome. Nice to meet you, So are you playing at Morning at Merlo today?
Svann : Yes that’s right. It is very exciting and Thank you for having me.
Emma : Thank you for being here. So yeah, we just wanted to ask a few questions, to you as an artist? So we will just fire away.
Svann : Yes Please do!
Emma : So your artist name, does it have a special meaning to you or is there a story behind that.
Svann : it’s actually really funny. It was my high school email, like my education email as it is S for Shisaiah, Van for Van Niekerk as it’s my last name. So Shisaiah Van Niekerk is my full name and so the second N is for Niekerk. Yeah, so I literally got it from my high school email address. Thanks, Education Queensland for that one. Yeah.
Emma : Awesome, love it! And did you always want to become an artist? Or is it something like, did you just started writing songs, like, how did this all kind of unfold for you?
Svann : I once had the big dream of being like a singer. And it was not like a pop singer. It was an opera singer, when I was really little. And I was like, convinced I was like, Oh, I’m gonna grow up and I’m going to do opera. And then that kind of faded away when I went into high school. And then I found a new passion for teaching. So then, music kind of took a bit of the background. And it became more of like, more like a hobby than anything else. So, I’d say like, I had, like a little bit of originals here and there. But I think I took it a bit more seriously, probably when I was about 16. So, we had a piano at my house when we came here. And then I was like, oh my gosh, I really want to learn piano. And so, when I learned piano, then I was able to write properly. And I guess so probably when I was about 16. That’s when the writing started. And then I took it a bit more seriously as I had been growing older.
Emma : That’s great! Thanks for sharing it. So how old you were, when you first wrote a song and what was it about?
SVANN : Okay, so I think, that’s such a good question. Um, I think, at the age when I first was like playing around, I was probably like nine or 10, making silly songs about silly things. But I have a distinct memory of when I was in, like grade 10, my music class, we had a composition unit. And I’d probably say that was really like my first, like, actual, “I’m taking this seriously, this is something that I really loved doing” moment. And it was basically about, like, being torn between two places and which place is home and like, being torn between one because you love that place. But it’s good that you’ve left that place, and then being at this new place, and you’re longing, but you understand that it’s still a good place to be. So, I’d say that was the first proper one that I wrote.
Emma : That’s awesome That’s great, because everyone is like moving around a lot these days.
Svann : Yeah. Exactly. That’s exactly right. Yeah. Because I moved from South Africa to Australia. So that’s where like that that underlying like, loss belonging is simulation that that’s where it all came through
Emma : Was that like in primary or in high school.
Svann : It was, so high school, so I was 14. So, I just Well, because in South Africa, we start high school in grade eight. So, I moved when I was in grade eight, so high school, and then I moved into grade nine when I came to Australia.
Emma : Wow, that’s a big move.
Svann : Yeah, so yeah, big, big jump big everything so much change. it’s incredible. Because, you know, I think like, if I stayed there, would I be here right now? And that’s like, those are the big questions you ask yourself is like, Would I ever have this opportunity to be like performing as an artist if I stay like probably not?
Emma : And as far as the influence goes, do you have an artist that inspire you.
Svann : I think the answer is yes. In terms of who, I probably say right now a really big influence on like me and my music is probably Billie Eilish. And it’s always been Adele, like Adele, Adele, Adele, I really looked up to her, I would probably say she’s like my singing role model. In terms of what inspires me to write, I’d probably say that a lot of my originals are based on like experiences that I’ve had or like the world around me. So sometimes it’s like, all this is something personal that happened to me, or this is something personal that happened to a friend. And then other times, we’ll be like, Oh, I saw the stranger on the train. I wonder what they’re going through, and then write like a complete random song about them, even though they might not be doing that. But that’s just, I think, something to flex my creative muscle when I want something challenging. So yeah, it’s so fun, fun and funky.
Emma : Sky’s the limit.
Svann : Exactly. Right.
Emma : And here’s a question if, if you know, other than music, what would your profession be?
Svann : Yeah. So, I’m studying a double in education and drama. So music’s not actually the focus of where I’m headed. I’m actually studying to be a high school drama teacher. So creative arts has always just been a part of me. And then teaching is just like something that I’ve stumbled upon that I find that I absolutely love. So I guess right now, that’s kind of the direction I’m heading.
Emma : Sometimes that can be really powerful because your creative energy is exactly that yeah, thank you.
Svann : Exactly right, yeah.
Emma : Well thank you so much for the interview.
Svann : Thank you for having me. Cheers.