Seraphina Sanan, a 15-year-old singer/songwriter, emerges as a prominent voice for Gen Z women, addressing shared coming-of-age challenges from a unique angle. Her musical prowess, reminiscent of Queen’s powerful range, captures attention. Her debut single, “Left It All Behind,” released in June 2023, and the unconventional collaboration with rapper Twista in her second track, “Nothing,” reveal her ability to articulate her inner world through music. Trained in guitar, drums, and performance arts at the Chicago Academy for the Arts, Seraphina relies on music as a coping mechanism, navigating the tumultuous adolescent journey. Her central message emphasizes individuality over conformity. Despite a diverse portfolio including modeling and live performances, she attributes her success to relentless dedication. Starting her artistic journey at four, she honed her skills over 11 years, channeling the chaos of teenage life into her music. Her style, a blend of rock, pop, and heavy metal, showcases collaborations with contemporary artists like rapper Twista. Seraphina thrives on live performances, finding an electric connection between stage and audience. Her songwriting approach epitomizes authenticity, fearlessly channeling her truth onto paper.
- Your debut single, “Left It All Behind,” showcased a pop rock feel, while your latest collaboration, “Nothing,” delves into a mix of heavy metal and rap. How important is genre versatility to you as an artist?
Seraphina Sanan: Separating genres is like having the ingredients to prepare different types of soup and mixing genres is the soup all together. It’s important to use different genres as we mix many other parts of our culture, souls, experiences and emotions. One Genre cannot express all the different feelings and emotions we have.
- “Left It All Behind” narrated a story about a summertime friendship that unraveled before the chaos of the school year. How much of your personal experiences influence your songwriting?
Seraphina Sanan: What I write most commonly relates to my life. And as I grow as a person, I grow through my songwriting. I write about my experiences, which are similar to my generation, and my emotions. I want to be the voice that opens discussion, as life is not always roses.
- Working with Twista on “Nothing” must have been an incredible experience. How did that collaboration come about, and how did it impact your creative process?
Seraphina Sanan: The collaboration came about because my producer was close friends with Twista and also his producer. He showed Twista the project, and Twista was excited and wanted to work on it. It didn’t really impact my creative process as I wrote my verses while he wrote his, separately, but when we did the music video, we merged it all together in reality and it was really cool.
- At just 15, you’ve already released several original recordings. How do you feel your music has evolved since your debut, and what can listeners expect from your upcoming releases?
Seraphina Sanan: Listeners can expect a lot of variety in my new music. My lyrics are more “grown” up as I experience more things in life. Future releases will continue to evolve and discuss more complicated subject matter, but there will still be a fun side.
- Your music seems to challenge norms and embrace authenticity. How important is it for you to stay true to yourself in an industry that often pressures artists to conform?
Seraphina Sanan: Musical artist and celebrities are always told to follow the norm or mainstream, because that is what sells, and then this norm tells society that we can’t be different, and I don’t want my generation to fall into that trap so I want to continue to be the springboard or the one who shows different is better.
- How do you envision your music influencing or impacting the younger generation? Are there specific goals you aim to achieve through your music and platform?
Seraphina Sanan: I just hope people listen to my music and become inspired. I want to inspire people to follow their hearts and believe in themselves. Let them realize that their lives are not perfect and what they are suffering or facing, is not different than most of us. They are not alone.
- How did working with NI Music Group at Sound City Music influence your artistic development?
Seraphina Sanan: I learned a lot about the songwriting process and how there is certain rules you should follow, but you can always break those rules if it makes a good song. Recording at Sound City was amazing. With all its history, it has a magical feel.
- Can you share a bit about the story or inspiration behind “Nothing”? What led you to explore the darker revelations of growing up in this track?
Seraphina Sanan: Nothing is about verbal and emotional abuse from loved ones. I have seen it first hand and wanted to get the message out that it is important to be strong, that no one has the right to treat us that way. It is important to be strong, and verbal abuse is no different than physical abuse… it causes us to suffer.
- Growing up in Chicago, a city known for its diverse musical heritage, how has the local scene influenced your music?
Seraphina Sanan: I go to an arts school, and I always hear people singing in the hallways or playing the drums and many other different types of music, and I get to experience all of that in a regular school day and every day here their music, I feel a little bit more inspired. The city its self has some great artist from hip-hop to jazz and blues. There is so much inspiration all around this city.
- You’ve mentioned your admiration for Queen-inspired sounds. How has this iconic band influenced your music, and what aspects of their style do you incorporate into your own?
Seraphina Sanan: Queen “broke the rules” for songwriting with their song, Bohemian Rhapsody. It doesn’t have a set in stone chorus and it makes me strive to have that much musical ability. Freddie Mercury has always been a legend to me. They were very successful in genre hopping and not fitting a set mold—they where true to themselves and the music they wanted to do—they did not fit nor wanted to be the norm.
- As an artist who dares to deviate from norms, how do you navigate the pressures of the music industry while staying true to your vision?
Seraphina Sanan: I try not to let people change me and many people around me believe in me, and what I write. This is my art and my expressions—I will do it my way.
- “Nothing” showcases a blend of rap and metal. Do you see yourself exploring more collaborations or genres in the future that diverge from your current style?
Seraphina Sanan: Of course, I hope to blend with all different types of music. I am looking into a collaboration with some Bollywood music icons in order to include my Indian heritage into my music. I am open to blending with different artists and genres, again to sow that music does not live in a box nor does it have to fit a square.
- Your music is described as having an insider perspective on the experiences and dreams of your generation. How do you aim to capture and portray these experiences through your songs?
Seraphina Sanan: I don’t shy away from the issues my generation faces. I am living like them, I see what I and my peers go through on a daily basis. I incorporate my life, emotions, feelings and experiences into my music, this is what my generations sees from their eyes, and I want them to know we need to discuss these issues. I want to be their voice and conversation starter.
- How do you balance your acting, dance, and vocal theatrical performance background with your music career? Do these disciplines intersect in your creative process?
Seraphina Sanan: Musical theater singing, is very different from the music that I write. Musical, theaters, singing is very “what’s on the page” while music on the radio can divert from that page. My acting singing and dance complement each other and that is why all 3 are important. All three provide different inspiration and require different emotions.
- What has been the most surprising or unexpected aspect of your journey as an emerging artist so far?
Seraphina Sanan: The most surprising thing is the amount of people who treat me like a human being instead of just chaining on to me for attention or their own success. I am surprised I still get to be a somewhat “normal” kid.
- What would you consider the most successful, proud or significant point in your life or career so far?
Seraphina Sanan: I’m proud that I made it very far because stress and anxiety can push me away from wanting to do this again but I keep pushing through and that’s all that matters.
- Creative work in studio environment, or interaction with a live audience? Which of these two options excite you most, and why?
Seraphina Sanan: I already have a very creative studio environment with who I’m working with now and I haven’t really had the option of interacting with a live audience in a while, but being creative in the studio is a blessing I never want to get rid of. However, I am ready to open up on stage and let the world see me and feel my message. A live audience electrifies me and I do love life on the stage
- Putting aside any accolades or criticisms that fans, the industry, or the media may afford your persona or music, is there anything about you or your music, you think people may overlook, underestimate or misunderstand at all?
Seraphina Sanan: People always mention that I’m 15 and it’s crazy that I’m doing something for my age but I want my work to be recognized not because of my age but because of my talent.
- Do you have a favorite motto, phrase or piece of advice, you try to live or inspire yourself by?
Seraphina Sanan: You don’t only live once you only die once so live your life to the fullest without worrying about making mistakes.
- What do you find most rewarding about what you do? And do you have a specific vision or goal set in your mind that you would like to achieve in the near future?
Seraphina Sanan: The most rewarding thing is listening to the final version of a song and saying “I did that.” And then seeing the world’s reaction.