When you have a lot going on, it is easy to lose focus. Sinead Simmons is grateful she has her daughter to keep her grounded.
She had Mila in mind when she released the video for Exotic Marigold last month. The soon-to-be two-year-old also came to mind as she considered her first live performance — she will take the stage at the annual Made in Bermuda Festival this Labour Day weekend.
“When you have a kid, that pushes you to explore yourself,” said the 29-year-old who performs under the name Sinead the Flower.
“She’s my muse, my motivation to try to be fearless. I want to leave something behind for her.”
It helped that she grew up with entertainers. Her “whole family” sang in church choirs at various points. Her mother, Carmalita, sings with Shema, the female gospel group; Bermuda knows her brother, Jelani, as a rapper.
However, apart from her blog tribeofflowers.com, Sinead kept her talents to herself. And then last September, she put out her first song, Lilikoi.
“I had been in a church choir before and maybe done something at school but no one really knew I sang,” said the BF&M administrator, who studied communications and photojournalism in university.
“This was me coming out as a singing artist.
“I was afraid to put myself out there but at the end of the day, life is short; I know it’s a cliché but it’s true. At the end of the day, if I don’t do it, I can only be upset with myself.”
She made a short video to accompany her second song, Nectar Kisses, and put it on social media. The April video for Lilikoi was her first “full-on production”.
“I consider myself an artist as opposed to a singer,” she said. “This allows me to explore all different areas of art. I get to write, I get to sing and to be behind the direction of videos and put my ideas with that.
“If I decide to do an album, I can paint the cover myself. It’s all just creative expression for me and I’m really having fun doing it right now.”
She is grateful for the support that has come her way, from her family and her production “team”. Woahkeemosabi (Akeem Albouy) produced Lilikoi and Exotic Marigold; 8Track (Rian Williams) put out Nectar Kisses.
“I have a team I’ve established over time,” Sinead said. “Chloe Simons is the director and editor for my music videos. She shoots everything. With songs, I let her hear them and give her my ideas. After the first time, I knew she’d be able to execute.
“Both producers I’ve worked with are extremely talented and I love how their works are able to fit perfectly with the concepts and lyrics that I want to portray when I am writing my songs. In the beginning, I wanted quick results for everything but now I’m learning more about the process, that things just take time.
“I’m trying to keep the fun. If it becomes too serious then it will make me not want to put it out there because I’ll be afraid [of reactions], afraid because it won’t be perfect.”
Nectar Kisses “got a little bit of radio play”; all three of her songs are on SoundCloud (soundcloud.com/sineadtheflower).
As thrilled as she was to release Exotic Marigold, making the video was especially difficult. Her grandmother, Lois Simmons, passed away just as it was getting off the ground.
“We’d recorded the song and got one shot for visual but had tons more I wanted to do,” she said.
“I really had to push myself. [Her death] threw me off schedule and so I was nervous [about the end result] but am very pleased with the production.
“I had 1.3K views with the first video; Exotic Marigold hadn’t been out for a week before it got 1.4K views. I’m pleased. I’m just a small-town island girl.
“I am exploring myself as an artist right now, still developing my brand of who I am. I want to keep it fun. Criticism comes with anything. So there may be someone who doesn’t like my stuff, but I just do it for me in hopes that other people will enjoy it too.”
Her mother, her dad, Kenneth, and her brother have all been supportive of her journey. Her hope is that one day she and Jelani will make music together.
“I can say that he is very talented in my eyes and hopefully we will be creating together at some point in the near future,” Sinead said.
The thought of her first live performance is already giving her butterflies.
“I know that I will be extremely nervous — I already am,” she said.
“But I was told that nerves are a good thing sometimes so, fears or not, this is going to happen. It’s a great opportunity for me to continue my bloom as an artist.
“I’m just grateful to be alive, and I want to take any meaningful opportunities while I can. I already have friends and family confirming that they will be there to support and vibe with me, so that helps to put my mind at ease a little.
“Overall, I’m excited to perform alongside a live band and to be able to explore the performing aspect of being an artist.”
• Look for Sinead the Flower on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. See her videos here. Grammy Award-winner Monica Brown will headline the Made in Bermuda Festival, which runs from August 30 to September 3. For tickets and times, visit ptix.bm