Feature Friday: Sereena Shares How She Switched to Music Full Time
Written by Kayla Albee
Nashville by way of Ohio musician Sereena released her latest single, “Vibes,” a few weeks ago. While Sereena’s music refuses to be pigeonholed into a genre, “Vibes” offers chill, relaxing beats and thought provoking lyrics.
Prior to immersing herself in music full time, Sereena worked behind the scenes doing PR for big name artists. Her experience on the business side of the music world has provided her with the knowledge and confidence that’s necessary to succeed in what can often be intimidating waters.
Sereena shared with us how she made the transition from PR to doing music full time, how she unplugs from social media, local artists that inspire her, and more! Continue reading down below to check out our interview and to listen to “Vibes.”
Q: As someone who's been on both sides of the music industry, what have you learned from the PR world that's helped advance your career as a musician?
A: I think the biggest thing for me is understanding that when people don't respond to your emails or say they aren't interested, that it isn't anything any other artist hasn't been through. When I was doing PR for other artists (big artists too that had been on Good Morning America), even they would get no's from certain media outlets. If I wouldn't have seen that, I probably would have gotten discouraged when pitching myself. Because of the fact that even big artists get told no at times, I am able to not take it so personally when outlets show no interest in my art.
Q: How long have you been writing music for, and at what point did you decide to pursue a music career?
A: I have been writing music full-time (meaning almost every other day) since April of 2018. However, I've always written and played music. I think my first song I ever wrote was when I was like 10 years old in the bathtub. I remember my mom told me the secret to writing a song. She said words had to rhyme in songs which is something I didn't know. Right after she said that and walked out of the bathroom, I wrote my first song. I still know the lyrics too!
I wrote my first full song (with chords and the piano) in probably fifth or sixth grade. It was a song to my dad. I was in trouble from talking back to him or something and I felt bad so I wrote a very emotional song apologizing to him. He still has never heard it.
I decided to pursue music full-time in April of 2018. I moved to Nashville after college in 2014 but was determined to make everyone happy and get a "big girl" job with the degree I got from college (PR). I did PR, marketing and graphic design for four years. Music was a weekend project during that time. I wasn't feeling fulfilled at my day jobs so after a year of contemplating quitting and doing music full-time, I finally grew a pair and quit last April. I've been doing music ever since! I do not regret making that choice in the slightest.
Q: Your latest single, "Vibes," explores the materialistic money mindset that many people promote across social media. What's your favorite things to do when you unplug from social media?
A: Ughhhh social media is so hard to unplug from though! My way of unplugging is honestly driving back home to Ohio. My parents live in a farm house way way out in the country. There is no service out there and neither of them are ever on their phones, so it's awkward when I'm on mine. It forces me to just put the dumb thing down. My parents don't have internet or cable at their house so we literally have like 7 channels to choose from...it's the best thing ever. So spending time with them and my brother is something I do when the phone is put away.
I also just received my certification to teach yoga so I tend to get on the mat and flow as another way to disconnect. Yoga forces me to be in the present. It enhances my awareness of my breathing and what poses my body can and refuses to do. Journaling while drinking red wine is also a go-to when the phone is put away.
Q: What artist would you love to perform with (alive or dead)?
A: I have two. Even though I don't write country music, Shania Twain has ALWAYS been my inspiration. Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of singing on stage with her. I have all of her music videos on VHS and almost every single CD she has put out. I LOVED her growing up.
The second artist would definitely be my most recent inspiration. She's a Swedish pop artist that goes by the name of Leon. I love her music and lyrical content. A lot of her stuff is the inspiration behind a great amount of my own lyrics. She is coming to the Basement East this May and I'm crossing my fingers that the venue will let me and my band open for her. I emailed them last week and waiting to hear back!!! Praying for that!
Q: When it comes to Nashville's music scene, what artists have inspired you recently?
A: There is an artist named Jade Million that I just recently discovered. She did a cover of “Paper Planes” that sounds so fire. It has inspired me to want to record more covers, so I'm thinking the team and I are going to start putting out more covers in the near future.
Another artist I find inspiring is a young woman named Megan Swindler. She is not actively performing right now because she is recovering from vocal damage. However, she has taught me so much about life and how what you intend to happen might not always happen. She is an amazing singer but because she is in vocal rehabilitation, she is writing music for other artists. Her passion and drive keeps me motivated to keep going even when it feels like no one is listening to me. Her obstacle hasn't stopped her from making music and so I have been putting that mentality into my journey and it has helped me tremendously to stay positive.