[INTERVIEW] SAINVIL

Meet Sainvil, Florida’s latest rising star in the music world. Setting trends and gifting the world with his refreshing genre-bending sounds, Sainvil combines the smoothness of R&B with the grittiness of hip hop and creates a whole new meaning for the term “hybrid artist.”

His project ‘2020 Was Hijacked’, speaks on the notion that everything in the past year was taken from us. Songs like ‘Boxed In’, ‘Sweet Sweet’ and ‘HBK’ give the listener a nostalgic feel, reminiscent of pre-corona times. This week he released a brand new single, ‘Need 2’.

VIPER spoke with Sainvil to discuss growing up in Florida, ‘2020 Was Hijacked’ and what the future looks like…

Who are you? 

My name is Sainvil. I am from Miami, Florida and I’m about love, art and hope. 

What was it like growing up in Florida? Were your parents supportive of you pursuing music?

Yeah. I was raised in Miami, Florida, then I moved up to central Florida towards the end of my teenage years. Not at first. Now they are. I only have my mom, my father passed when I was a kid. My mom, she really didn’t vibe with it. Haitian people, they’re told you grow up, go to school and you work for somebody, you get a good job. So all the artsy stuff that I was trying to do, she didn’t think it was realistic until now. Now she’s like my number one fan.

Do you feel like Florida has influenced your sound? 

Yeah, I don’t want to say too much though, because I listened to a lot of music that people from Florida wouldn’t listen to. But it definitely played a part, the influence is there you know. Florida’s the place where everyone drives by in their car with huge rims blasting music. You always get that vibe. We always liked screwed music, not chopped, that’s more of a Texas thing. So, yeah, it did. Actually more than I realised it did until you asked me. So, yeah, actually it did a lot.

When did you first start writing music? 

I first started writing music seriously around 19 or 20. I had this broken laptop that I used to set up. The screen was broken, so I HDMI’d it to a TV or whatever and I had the old Mbox Mini, this old interface, it was metal. I used to go into a corner of my room because I didn’t have a sound booth and I just started writing music. 

How does it feel to be the first R&B artist part of Alamo Records? 

It feels good, it lets me know that they want to be in different spaces. I’m a person who believes in covering a wide space with whatever I could bring to the table, which is why I have so many deliveries. To see the company that I rock with move like that, it feels good to be the oddball or the underdog, it feels fire. I like the way they move, they’re so free. It feels good to be treated like a rapper sometimes too.

What do you mean when you say ‘2020 Was Hijacked’? 

What I mean by ‘2020 Was Hijacked’ is basically, everything you probably planned to do has been taken from you. The path everyone was walking on was hijacked and we all had to pivot. There were a lot of people who kind of just sat there and faded to the darkness, and there’s a lot of people who started to shine. I feel like that’s what that title means to me, it means taking your time back or at least acknowledging that last year was jacked. Our head space while making a project, I don’t even think at first we were even trying to make a project that was about something. I feel like we’re just trying to make relatable music that vibes well. Certain subjects just kept popping up, the lyrics kept popping up, and the vibes kept popping up. We just followed the flow.

It seems like you and Melli have really great musical chemistry. What was it like shooting the video for ‘HBK’?

It was easy man. We didn’t do the song in the same space. When we wrote the song it was it was in the heat of covid, when it first started. I recorded my part in L.A. I think she recorded her part in New York. I ended up sending it to her and when I sent it to her, she sent it back fast. We were vibing, a little while later we did the video. We still had COVID in mind which is why we’re not in each other’s space for too long and all of that stuff. She’s an angel, bro! She’s really easy to work with, she’s funny. She kind of dropped a couple of dimes on me, I feel like I learned from her while kicking it with her.

What was it like working with Westside Boogie? 

He is the truth, man. We wanted someone that could deliver a strong message. I feel like I kind of set the bar and of course, Boogie is going to meet me, it’s Boogie! We sent them the track, he sent it back. I’m feeling like every single line hits and resonates with me. I love what he did. We didn’t look anywhere else, we knew exactly who we wanted it to be. 

Do you like to have a hand in the creative processes when you’re shooting music videos? 

Yeah, I do. Me and my creative director, Hannan Hussain, we collaborate on everything creative. I like to get my say in, you know what I mean. I have aspirations to be in film and to make movies one day. One of my greatest inspirations is Childish Gambino. I like to have this healthy competition in my head to outdo the people that I admire. I’m watching the bars they set.

Do you think you’ll release a full sized album at some point this year? 

Not this year. If this year, the end of this year, I think I got two more EPS. Right now we’re more focused on just giving the people what they want. I really want to start servicing the people who are already there. I just love them so much. They’re supporting me, so we’re going to give them some more music and hopefully they’ll live to it and make memories to it. 

Have you been recording new music? 

Yes. I have not stopped. I only go to the grocery store, home, and to the studio. That’s pretty much it, I have not stopped. I have one project in the bag that we’re working on getting wrapped up. I hope the world sees it pretty soon. Then I have another project that I’m currently working on and almost done. So yeah I think about two more EPs for me.

Do you think you’ll be doing any more visuals off ‘2020 Was Hijacked’ or are you moving on to the next project? 

Everything’s possible. For example, right now ‘Drowning’ is doing really well. So if ‘Drowning’ was to do phenomenally good, we would have no choice but to give it to the people. I think for right now, I’m more focused on this next single that I have dropping with Guapdad 4000

What’s something that you look for in a beat? 

Anything that I think doesn’t sound like two things. Anything that doesn’t sound like anything I’ve heard on the radio and for the last two years, anything that makes me see a place. I feel like the number one thing for me to get into the vibe is, if I can’t hear myself on it with four different deliveries, I don’t want it. What I mean by four deliveries is, I’m looking for something that has so much sonic movement that I can attack it from different angles. It’s all about the product.

What’s some advice you wish you could have given yourself five years ago? 

I would tell myself to to drop music very often and not to worry about the politics. I used to worry about the perfect way to drop stuff and I wasn’t worried about servicing the people who already cared. I was being way too political, way too structured. But at a certain point, if you don’t have a plan anyway, you may as well do something to cater to the people who already support you. 

Any new merch coming out? 

We actually started new designs earlier today. We’re doing that very soon. It’s going to be something small, start off with a new T-shirt and then roll out into other things. It’s going to be going to be super dope. I want it to promote hope, that’s what the music is about. It goes back to that question that you asked… servicing the people who already care. Yeah, everyone wants new listeners, but those champions, the more and more they bond with you, the more and more they’ll post it every day. I even start to know these people who post my music every day. 

Do you think that you’ll participate in doing a virtual show or do you think you’ll wait until live music again?

I feel both ways, but I know 1000% I would participate. Just for the simple fact of servicing the people who care and I feel like they would want that. 

What’s something that you miss about live music? 

Connecting with people and seeing how they react to the music. Performing live for me, it’s like that moment where you worked in the studio and now you get to see how it affects people. You get on stage, you see all those people, you see them vibing. You hear the music around you. To see their faces and to see the lips move on time, to connect with different people. There’s a transfer of energy and love bro. I miss it so much. 

What’s next for Sainvil in 2021? 

A lot more music. I’m trying to get on camera too which should be fun. Just a lot more art. I feel like it’s our job to reflect the time, but it’s also our job to lift spirits. That’s all I’m focused on.

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Interview by Calvin Schneider

Photos by LVTRKEVIN