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A Dirty Dozen with SIMA – July 2020


According to a recent press release: “Israeli/American hard rock solo artist SIMA (Sima Galanti) has released her pulsating new single “Runaways” along with its accompanying music video. Hyper-charged guitars roar between an arena-ready beat offset by scorching synths on the rebellious song about staying true to who you are and having faith in what you believe in. “Runaways,” the title track of SIMA’s new independent album to be released later this year, represents individuality, empowerment, transformation and freedom. The song and video introduce the ritual element of fire to symbolize burning down the past and present in order to discover something better and new like truth and transformation. The chains in the fiery video show SIMA’s empowering need to break free from all that holds someone back from achieving their full potential including old ways of living, habits, fears and pressure from society.” We get Sima to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

Photo Credit: Shay Galanti

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

“Runaways” is a hyper-charged, rebellious song about staying true to who you are and having faith in what you believe in. “Runaways” represents individuality, empowerment, transformation, and freedom. It represents burning down the past and present in order to discover something better and new. Although “Runaways” was written before the COVID-19 stay at home orders, the song is definitely reflective of the chaos and uncertainty we’re all experiencing right now amplified by racial injustices. When people hear “Runaways,” it resonates with them right away and they think that I wrote the song as a protest song due to the current political climate and events. But, I’ve always been an artist that cared about what’s happening around the world. I don’t see things as black and white. I wrote “Runaways” because I was looking at the world and our society as a whole and I saw a broken system that creates limitations and suffering. Systems of injustice, oppression, judgment, and disconnection on all levels and it can be as simple as your own upbringing.  Our parents, teachers, “leaders,” people who put us down, manipulate us, those we trusted to protect us, be honest and they disappoint us or lied to you. Our experiences in life can create self-animosity and inflicted pain that we carry on throughout our lives. “Runaways” is for all those people like me who decided to not allow certain things to dictate their lives and self-worth. People who left something in their past that didn’t allow them to grow and expand. People who question things, want more out of life, and can think for themselves. I think what I was trying to say is, that everything that we experience, do, feel, the way we behave, our belief system comes from something deeper and I wanted to create healing and transformation through lyrics, music, and visuals that break through barriers. I wanted to push myself and others outside of our comfort zone and force us to discover new ways of being and living. I believe that there is a massive need for people and society to go through a deep evolutionary and revolutionary growth and we can’t continue to go about our lives and turn a blind eye for all this suffering and injustice that happens all the time all over the world. On some level, “Runaways” captures the spirit of those who’ve had enough and want to create a change. I think people who follow me and my music know that I always drip messages in my songs, in my photography and videos. It’s always about being truthful to myself, challenge myself, and create transformation and awareness. Every song is part of my evolution as a human being, spiritual being, woman, and an artist. I’m always shedding layers and light on situations that affect me. Working on the “Runaways” music video, I wanted to create something that fits the rebellious vibe and lyrics of the song. I wanted to bring symbols, rituals, and tribal elements like a fire that symbolize burning down the past and present and everything that doesn’t serve us anymore in order to discover something better and new. I also used chains in the video as an empowering message of breaking free from all that holds someone back from achieving their full potential including old ways of living, habits, fears, and pressure from society. Like a phoenix rising.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I loved music since I remember myself. I started singing at a very young, I was about ten years old. Music is a big deal in our culture and in Israel. I sang in school plays and different holidays, and different singing competitions and festivals. My mom always pushed me to sing at Bar and Bat Mitzvahs and family events. Music has always been a part of my existence and the way I expressed myself. As a young girl, I used to lock myself in my room for hours and sing in front of the TV and listen to music that came from the U.S. At an early age, I instinctively knew that my innate music abilities were incredible gifts that I should embrace and pursue. Music saved my life, gave me hope, and allowed me to dream. Music and singing made me feel like I’m not alone. It allowed me to connect to something bigger than myself. I was introduced to rock and metal music by my sister Janet, who I shared a room with growing up. She introduced me to amazing records and bands like Pearl Jam, AC/DC, Nirvana, Pantera, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Guns and Roses, The Doors, The Cure, and many more. She also took me to my first rock concert to see Deep Purple when I was 11 years old. I also went to school with this kid whose parents were artists, painters, sculptors, and educators. I loved spending time in their home; it was completely different from my home environment. At my friend’s house, I was exposed to poetry, art, classical music, and classic rock. My friend was an amazing guitar player, so we spent a lot of time together singing and playing music. He also introduced me to some incredible rock bands like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, Sting, and many more great artists.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I listen to a lot of different music and was inspired by many amazing artists, but I think those who truly struck a cord were Bjork, especially the first three records, Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill, Dolores O’Riordan from The Cranberries, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Tracy Chapman’s first album, Pearl Jam’s first album Ten, The Cure, Metallica, A Perfect Circle, Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite For Destruction, Kate Bush, and Cyndi Lauper.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

My main influences come from artists like Bjork, The Cranberries, Massive Attack, Tool, Portishead, A Perfect Circle, and many more.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

That’s a hard one. There’s so many and most not alive anymore but, I would like to collaborate with Corey Taylor from Stone Sour, Slipknot, Dave Draiman from Disturbed. Also, Maynard James Keenan from A Perfect Circle, Tool. Maria Brink from In This Moment, Amy Lee from Evanescence, Lady Gaga, Metallica, and Bjork.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

My music is a hard rock, hyper-charged, driven popular music with a mix of electronic influences, intense and powerful vocals coupled with poignant and honest lyrics. Most people say that it reminds them of Evanescence, Paramore, Linkin Park, In This Moment. Although I don’t scream, I guess more the feel of it. I never heard any comparisons that made me cringe. I respect all those artists and think that they all great, talented, and successful so I’ll take that.

7.  When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I don’t get starstruck, but, it’s weird, I find myself watching a lot of Johnny Depp interviews lately. It’s like I discovered something new when it was always there for years and everyone knew about it and obsessed with it. Yes, he’s good looking but, I never really cared and never watched any interviews with him, so I’m just realizing how weird he is in a funny way, the way he talks so slow and cool and the rocker in him.

8. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best thing about being an artist and musician is the ability to express your deepest thoughts, emotions, and feelings through the universal language of music. Music can break down any barrier between people and bring people together. It allows us to say and express things that most people are feeling and dealing with on a daily basis and sometimes they can’t really express it, or they believe and think that they are alone in it and no one else can get it and understand them and when they hear an artist write about it and sing about it, it makes them feel that there’s someone perfectly capturing exactly how they feel.  As artists, we are given a safe space, the stage to express ourselves by shading the layers and exploring life conditions. My dream job has always been to be an artist, musician, and actress. But I always loved Psychology and I would love to work with families and kids. Maybe family and marriage therapist. Working at a job that allows me to travel the world and help others.

9. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I don’t know, I guess every interviewer asks about the music, current releases, about being an artist, so that is all good because I like to keep the focus on the music and what I’m currently working on and trying to achieve. I would say, being asked all the time about an artist, or a song that influenced me, it’s so hard to narrow it down to one thing.

10. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do-over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I don’t really have a ‘do-over’ moment because I truly trust that everything in life is a lesson and happens for a reason. It gives you the ability to grow as a person and as an artist and allow you to thrive to become a better human being. But, I would say that letting go of self-doubt and identifying myself with my past experiences and upbringings were a big one for me. Learning self-love, trust, and appreciation that’s when my biggest transformation and breakthroughs happened; when I truly start seeing how others see me and look up to me. Sometimes you only see and believe in the ‘story’ that you’ve been told growing up, a story that you end up believing that is true. When I start trusting myself, my inner strength and abilities to rise up and show up to anything that life throws at me and stop looking outside of myself for a savior, it allows me to take my power back and empower myself. It’s a wonderful feeling to be guided by your gut, soul, and spirit rather than exterior circumstances.

11. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

This is a hard one. There are many records that truly changed my life like, Pink Floyd / The Wall, Led Zeppelin / IV, Fleetwood Mac / Rumours, Michael Jackson / Thriller, Metallica / Metallica, Pearl Jam / Ten, Alanis Morissette / Jagged Little Pill, The Cranberries / No Need To Argue and all of Bjork. I remember when I heard The Wall for the first time, it was a musical experience I had never had before. I was probably 12 years old and I was introduced to the record through a friend whom I grew up with back in Israel. It was so different, diverse, and unique. It’s a genius, timeless, and rare record. It was so raw, uncomfortable at times, and honest. It made me see things on a deeper level and open my eyes to harsh realities. It’s the first time that I heard a band that sounded so different musically, Psychedelic, experimental, and trippy. I was fascinated by the story line of the record and each song. The movie put it all into such strong and powerful visuals. It talked about the human condition, struggles in life, pain, sex, fear, loneliness, addictions, family dynamics, especially with our mothers. I could relate to that because my mom was also very over-protective of me. It also touched on important issues in our society like war, depression, and suicide, the education system. It was symbolic and used powerful metaphors like the wall and the breaks in the wall to express all those emotions of isolation. It was and still is a piece of art. Interestingly enough, I ended up writing a song called “Breaking Down The Walls” many, many years later.

12. Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine/shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

I discovered that I truly love being on my own. I love my privacy. Cooking and playing jazz music. That I’m really good at keeping myself busy. That I’m much more focused when there are no distractions. I miss traveling, hanging out with my friends, going to the beach, movies, live shows, having great dinners. That sense of freedom to go and do whatever you want. Looking at people’s faces without wearing masks or worrying about getting sick.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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