The pandemic, birthed.
he pandemic, destroyed.
And for some the pandemic provided liberation, as everyday connections were severed and altered forever. It literally kept us inside and for many, forced citizens to take a deeper look at our insides without the distractions of the omnipresent ‘outside’ – a.k.a the responsibilities of work, maintaining relationships, various social interactions and life’s consistent demands.
We’ve heard this story before. Many of us LIVED this story before, and are still experiencing the ricochet of an incredibly weird and destructive moment of our collective recent history. Oftentimes new forms of creativity are born of destruction. Necessity provokes and challenges us, triggering new vehicles for action that our comfort zones would have never given way to without huge push.
Like many others, musician Synead’s life and creativity was not left unscathed. It wasn’t long until she left New York City to journey down to Miami and New Orleans for a change of scenery. But as the pandemic waned and former responsibilities reared their head once again, the musician realized her old way of sustaining herself no longer fit. The last few years proved to shift many things in Synead’s inner and outer world, which brought forth many questions and even more lessons. All of which helped to birth her latest EP, The Pum Pum Room.
How did you react to the world (and NYC) slowing down?
“I’d been working in hospitality since 2013… I was always on the go. Always outside. During the pandemic I realized I couldn’t really do that anymore, but I wound up working anyway in a pizza shop in my neighborhood. I realized, after a while … ‘This fucking blows, no one gives a fuck about any of us and I don’t feel safe or content.’”
As the pandemic started to wind down, how did that affect your routine?
“It’s obvious that I don’t feel good doing this [hospitality] anymore, it’s not good for my body… I’m extra tired, but also I’m not feeling fulfilled. I need something that aligns with my spirit. And what aligns with my spirit is being creative.”
So what changes did you make to get yourself to a good place?
“The last few years taught me to be really selective about my energy. It taught me that I have to always be connected to my ancestors, the Divine, Spirit…Because it gives me a sense of grounding. I always felt like I didn’t have grounding because I was floating from thing to thing to thing… And how can you create a foundation, when you’re not solid?”
Tell me about your creative process, as your life shifted.
“Like I said I used to always be on the go. I never really had much of a plan [in terms of creating]… just sort of throwing things out there. I started meditating every morning…and stretching my body. Getting into that routine. As I did that, my creative path became clearer.”
What’s the story behind your EP, The Pum Pum Room?
“Each song represents someone in the service industry. The first song is the door girl, the second song is like the boss or owner of the establishment, and the third song is the go go girl – the performer. It’s all about [understanding] what’s her energy? What’s her feminine power? I needed to channel that because sometimes when you’re working, you’re put in these positions and you’re empowered to handle shit… and people don’t respect you for that.
The Pum Pum Room is a fictional venue, in this alternate universe somewhere. It’s a nightclub, it’s a safe haven, it’s a doorway to heaven… It’s a church it’s a disco…it’s a frequency. and when you tune into the space, the space will attune YOU.”
Not to get off topic, but you reached another plateau with your HBO debut on Random Acts of Flyness! Tell us about that experience…
“What an amazing opportunity. It isn’t often, in my experience, that I get to work on shows that feel BLACK AS FUCK. Since the end of 2019, I’ve had the chance to work on projects that promote the glory of blackness. Of our spirit. Of our perseverance. What was really special about working on this set was that I knew so many of the artists form prior gigs and life that it felt like…family. And I mean, HBO right? It felt so historical to me. I’m a part of black history! That’s what it feels like!!”
What would advice be to other artists who are looking to take that leap and release their own first projects?
“Keep your faith and have an understanding of the process it takes to release music. It’s not just about uploading music to a server, but about knowing who to talk to about your music and who will talk about it, where to distribute and promote it, when is it best to put out (I count on astrology for that), and why you even want people to hear your music in the first place. This process took me three years because I wanted to give myself and my team the best shot. We deserve it and I have and will continue to work relentlessly to see the impact of this project made.”
Now is the time to be present but what’s next for Synead? Anything coming up on your creative calendar?
“Well… Be prepared for a slew of shows this spring warming you up to what PPR is truly about! This music release is just the first installation of The Pum Pum Room in all honesty. It’s really a traveling immersive theatrical exhibition that promotes “pro-sensual NUnostalgia”.
Yes. I’m creating a lane for myself and all who identify. It’s all about creating an experience designed to encourage individuals to make meaning of pro-sensual healing as well and their own politics around consent and intimacy. Ultimately, I am really striving to rebuild our understanding of what it means to heal outside of our capitalist conditioning by allowing creativity and connection to soar. So keep that schedule open and #StaySyncd for all the upcoming experiences for 2023!”
The Pum Pum Room is available February 3rd on Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp!
Moeima Makeba is a writer and communications professional that has worked in the creative industries (fashion, music, film and art) since 2004 and has been published in Vice, Milk Studios, The Economist and other publications. As a former managing editor, she has worked with creators in New York, Paris, London, Mexico City and other cities worldwide.