In our (re)discover vinyl campaign we created some fun pictures with spoken word artist Smita. She grew up with records and music instruments laying around the house.
How did music play a role in your childhood?
My parents are really music fanatics. When my brothers and I were young they always played records or listened to the radio on the weekends. My dad also played guitar and we would sing along. This sounds a lot like a Hollywood movie, but for us it was just a lot of fun. Because of my parents I learned to appreciate different styles of music and I’m very grateful for that. Listening to records gives me a nostalgic feel because it takes me back to a time that has passed. But I can still enjoy these times right now because of this record player.
What do you experience when you listen to music on a record?
I hear the pureness of the music when I listen to vinyl and you feel a direct connection with the artist. The whole analog experience is more sensitive in comparison when you play an album digitally. I remember when I was younger I wasn’t allowed to touch the records with my fingers. It makes holding a record very special, like you're holding a piece of gold, and it still feels this way.
What was the first record you bought?
That was ‘Small Talk At 125th and Lenox’ by Gil Scott-Heron. My biggest aim was to collect spoken word albums when I started collecting my own records. Gil Scott-Heron is a big inspiration to me. He takes you back to the times of the civil right movements and his lyrics are very poetic. At the time I didn’t know anything about spoken word and when I was researching the genre his name came up. I found this record in a local record store and it felt really special. I loved the crackling sound when I played the record for the first time.
How would you describe your current record collection?
I would not call it a collection, it is still very small. I have a good selection of records from my parents. A few of my favourite records are Ponda O-bryan, Womack & Womack and Gladys Knight.
I found the Ponda O’bryan record at a record fair in Amsterdam. It is traditional percussion from Suriname. I saw the cover and thought that’s something I want to listen to. I bought it for 3 euros and this album takes me back to the era it was made in.
The song Teardrops on the album Conscience from Womack & Womack is one of my favourites. This is pure nostalgia for me. I also have a Gladys Knight ‘Best Of Album’, her song ‘Midnight Train To Georgia’ is such a great track. Her raw and honest voice speaks to me.
What I love about collecting records is that you find so much information about artists, their music and I like this approach to connect with music.
This record is called Full Color from KD Soundsystem and it’s the first record I collaborated on. I’m very proud of my friends who created it. The cover art is perfect to hang on your wall.
What role does music play in your life right now?
Music is like breathing to me, that is how I grew up. I was always making music and researching, that is how I found my big passion for spoken word. But still on this day I combine spoken word with music. Music is another way of communicating and it connects me with others and it creates unity. You don’t have to know each other or have the same ideas to listen to a song and enjoy the music together.
Which music do you connect to with your friends and family?
My mom and I love the Kid Rock version of Sweet Home Alabama. Everytime my mom hears the song on the radio she sends a voice note to me. That is how we listen to music these days. If we hear something we like, we send it to each other to share it!
How do you create your music?
I’m all about lyrics, but I’m inspired by sound. I listen to the tones and sounds I can create with words and after this process I create the story. after this process I create the story. This is a significant feature of how Chris Ci and I create our songs for Poetronic. We make sure that the music and lyrics interact with each other. The voice is as much an instrument as a guitar is. I learned to work like this by listening to jazz for example, experiencing the sounds and trying to imitate it. After a while I created my own sound and that is where I am now.
Do you have tips for people who want to experience music on a deeper level?
Take time to really listen to a song or album and listen to it as often as you can. Your experience will be different every time you put on the record. It depends on your state of mind what you focus on. It could be one instrument, the lyrics or a certain riff. You will be amazed by what you’ll hear and experience the next time.