- Sivers Tha Third on Freud, Hip-Hop and Self-Awareness -
Bajan hip-hop artist Sivers tha Third started a movement in 2020 with his single "Bridgetown" which literally took over our feeds on social media. It featured remixes from the best of the local hip-hop community from Teff, to Rubytech, to XO Jumpo, among others. He was nominated at this year's Gine On People's Choice Awards for Hip-Hop Song of the Year and Hip-Hop Artist of the Year.
On April 1st he released Thirdian Theory, an 11-track project available on Audiomack, YouTube, and Selecta Charts. It is thoughtful and smooth as Sivers seamlessly blends Hip-Hop and RnB. He is joined on the project by Bajan artists Kris Fields, Chef Lex, Barri G, Meme Glitz, Buff Poet, and Jahmantha.
Leigh: Before we talk the album, I've always wanted to know "why" behind 'Sivers Tha Third'.
Sivers: I'm the third child in my family, Sivers is my surname, so I'm Sivers Tha Third.
Leigh: What is the "Thirdian Theory"? Tell me about the album title and the artwork.
Sivers: Thirdian theory is a spin-off of the Freudian Theory (Freud’s Structural Theory of Personality) that says there are 3 versions of self that make up your personality and accompanying behaviours (Id, Ego, and Super-Ego). Based on that concept, I wanted to talk about the three sides of my personality. Thirdian Theory is more of an intimate look into my life. My three sides are the introvert where I keep my thoughts to myself, the extrovert who represents my charismatic side, and the mediator who determines which side comes out, which side you see. Kia Redman captured this perfectly in the album artwork.
My music is very personal, it's very intimate on this project. The album is sequenced, it starts broadly with my origin story and as the album continues it gets deeper into my personality, I become more vulnerable and explore more serious topics. These tracks were written over a 5-year span, and the aim was to make it into a listenable project.
Leigh: How many visuals can we expect from Thirdian Theory?
Sivers: There are 3 visuals out so far: Wutang for the Children, Warm Water where I'm joined by Monet Sun, and Chika. On April 9th we are also releasing a visual for Gusto. The aim is to continue to release visuals throughout the year for the project, I want to do a visual for every track on Thirdian.
Leigh: Thirdian Theory was written over 5-years, tell me about your writing process for the project.
How do you know when a song is right?
Sivers: How I wrote for Thirdian was different from how I write now. I wrote a verse every day for about 2-3 years and when I had all the verses I wanted, I went and started looking for beats to pair them with. I would sit down and try out verses and put bits and pieces together. Once I started understanding the formula for a good song, in terms of the hook and verse, and the subject matter was similar I would know ok this is a good song.
The Production for Thirdian is a mix of internet producers. So there are beats by YONDO, Mister E, Broke Boi, False Ego, and Union 44. Then Mad Mixy of Diverse Hit Studio did the recording and the mix and master.
When I started recording with Mixy I realized some of the content felt dated. I went back in and rewrote pieces, tightened up my metaphors, and similes, to make it more cohesive to make it flow better with the story I was trying to tell and added other singles. Some songs I just heard the beat and knew exactly what I wanted to say, Gusto was like that, I was just freestyling to beats in the car with my label mates.
For Chika when I found the beat I knew I wanted Barri G. on it but I also wanted a female perspective. I hadn’t met Meme in person but I heard her music on Instagram and thought she was dope so I asked Mixy to introduce us. So there were a lot of different processes going into the creation of the project.
Leigh: Who are some of your influences?
Sivers: My influences are J. Cole, Isaiah Rashad, Chance the Rapper, Joey Badass, Kid Cudi, and Frank Ocean.
Leigh: Talk to me about your label, Red Isle Records. What made you decide to start your own label and why do you think that’s important in a Caribbean context?
Sivers: I'll start with the name. The label’s name was inspired by a local film called “Once Upon A Time in Ichirouganaim” where they said that the Arawaks named Barbados the red island with white teeth or Ichirouganaiam. I loved the concept and that's where our name is from.
I started my own label because I had some negative experiences in the industry, I kissed some frogs. But, it helped me to grow and learn lessons along the way. Thanks to those experiences I actively started trying to learn the industry for myself.
It was also a case of right place, right time. I came into the company of like-minded people and we were each into different things. There are actually only two of us on the label who actively want to be artists, everyone else is into production, marketing, film, and the other tools that you need to have on a team.
Sivers: Generally, I strongly believe it is vital for artists to be independent, the whole model of a traditional label is basically becoming outdated. Even for Red Isle, the vision is to become a sort of digital aggregator where we find the best pockets for artists to put their music on whether it’s the best streaming services, NFT’s, or synchronization deals for Film. I don’t want to be limited to us putting out records.
The reality is that every artist may not have a hit song. But, there are many successful independent artists who never have a hit song yet they are able to make a living off of these other outlets and get placements. I want to work with artists here and discuss where they want to be, where their heads are at, and help them with a concrete plan to get to where they want to be without going through some of the things that I went through.
I feel like it would do us a great service if we as a people can detach ourselves from focusing on the challenges and just find ways to make the most of our environment. Even though she's not a musician, I watch a lot of Sheena Rose's business practices. If I could apply some of what she has accomplished in art, to music, and the way she just keeps going and pushing boundaries I would feel good.
Leigh: What advice would you give to artists who, like you, want to go into a “non-mainstream” genre in Barbados?
Sivers: Before you look to conquer the world, try to figure out your game plan. Getting the basics right will save you a lot of heartache and pain. Build a team. Look around you and see who your music already affects at the rudimentary level. Who’s interested in what you’re doing in your circle? Who is actively supporting you?
Next, invest in getting your own equipment, learn how to record yourself, or build a relationship with a studio. Find people in the music and creative industries around your age and level who produce, make beats, and work with them. Avoid the internet beats as alluring as they may sound. In the long run ownership and publishing are where the money is over time.
Surround yourself with a network of creatives, get to know dancers, videographers, managers, PR people, and find your own ecosystem and build together. Also, educate yourself! Read books, watch YouTube, watch lectures, figure out how the music industry makes money, and set yourself up accordingly.
Leigh: What’s next for you?
Sivers: Visuals for Thirdian will continue to drop, Gusto comes out on April 9th. And then more music! A joint project, a few singles and I'm working on new music for my next solo project.
This Easter weekend, I'd encourage you to take some time to explore Thirdian Theory by Sivers Tha Third. Leave your comments under this post and let me know what your favorite song is on the project.
Also, let me know in the comments below which of your favorite artists you'd like me to chat with for my next feature! I'm wishing you all a safe and enjoyable Easter weekend.
Until next week my Loveleighs.