Master of yoga, education and island-girl music
"How do I get it all done? No skylarking! Just get it done."
To understand Sezi is to know that she does everything she wants to do. With a music career that seems to have stopped and restarted, singer-songwriter Sarah Silvera has always been on the grind, one way or another.
"It's been a process for me, and I think it's like a catch-22 because I do all these things with my life. I haven't been able to focus on - or target - one thing," Sezi told The Sunday Gleaner.
Despite being out of the limelight, Sezi has still managed to place herself on a stage - whether in front of a classroom full of students, leading a studio full of yogis, or standing on a platform with microphone in hand. Regardless of her sometimes halting her musical journey, her work continues in other aspects of her life. "I'm connecting to people through my work as an educator, as a yoga instructor, and as a performance artiste. That's what keeps me alive. I'm a complete connector," Sezi said.
"As much as everything seems like it's all over the place, the one thing that always keeps me going is that I'm connecting to people. I think that's what I'm here to do - to connect and inspire people. I don't know if I'm going to have to choose, but there so many things going on with life. Sometimes I have a moment of, 'what am I doing?!' but it makes me happy, so it's fine," Sezi explained.
To meet with the perpetually busy woman, The Sunday Gleaner visited her Kingston home when she had hurried home from a rehearsal with her 'kids', reproducing the musical The Lion King. In one breath, Sezi revealed her day job as an educator. "I'm a full-time drama teacher at the American International School. I love working with kids, and I love being on a stage and I love inspiring people. It was a complete natural move to teaching drama," she shared.
She has been focused on teaching drama for the past three years but has been a teacher for much longer. After attaining a master's degree in education, Sezi has taught at all levels. She also teaches yoga at TruSelf Centre and Core Fitness.
"Yoga became a natural crossover for me because the type of yoga that I do is called Vinyasa yoga, and it's like a dance on your mat." Since the age of four, she has studied classical ballet, all the way up to the second-to-last examination of the Royal Academy of Dance.
"So I play music in my classes, and we flow. There are different types of yoga, but with this yoga, it's a flow. So we go from one pose to another - leading from pose to pose with your breath. For me, it helps me to connect to my true self, and that's what performance does as well," she explained.
Music, a selfish lover
Sezi has been engaging with the local musical fraternity for the past decade. "Or a bit more than that? Ten years of 'stepping into the industry', whatever that means," she said, gesturing with air quotes. "I'm never going to let go of my singing and songwriting because it really is so cathartic for me." She added: "I think music is a selfish lover, and I think that's what it needs. Any musician will tell you this, but I have to embrace my experience," she said.
Born in Jamaica and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, Sezi defines her musical style as genre-bending. "Being an island girl, we tend to have one sound or few parts. Soca, dancehall, reggae - those are the three that you kind of have to choose from. As much as I love those three genres, my music just has never come out that way. It comes out as a mix and blend of all of those things. I think it's completely natural for us as artistes to have this fusion of sound," she said.
Sezi recently released her latest single, Gyal In Bikini, produced by Natural High Musick, the first single of her upcoming EP. She said that it's a dancehall-sounding rhythm, "but when you add in the strings, an '80s synth, it just becomes this melange - this mix. And why not? We are as a people very influenced by our history, which is a whole heap a tings. Perhaps I'm one of the few who are choosing to do this genre-bending, but I can't think of doing anything else because that's just what comes out of me."
Her follow-up single is called Kingly Character. and is expected to hit the airwaves this summer. She will be heading to Europe this summer to promote both. "Before I head to Europe, I'll be heading to Trinidad. I'm taking it on the road - try to get as many interviews as I can, as many live shows, maybe a festival or two," she told The Sunday Gleaner.
Sezi hasn't decided on the title of the EP just yet, but she does have ideas. "The last time that I released an EP, I released it as a body of work, and that's just not the way to do things these days. People just don't have that attention span. So you release singles. In a sense, it has taken away from me thinking of the project as a whole, though it is very much a cohesive sound. I haven't quite decided what the name is going to be just yet."