Sinéad Westwood of the blog, “Peppermint Whiskers”, is a 15-year-old feminist residing in the United Kingdom. Sinéad has been a member of the blogosphere for almost a year now, sharing both her exceptional works of art and musical talents under the pseudonym “SATU”.
So what genre of music would you say your music falls under? And where do you find inspiration? Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations?
I just call my music ‘alternative’, because I think it encompasses a really wide range of musical styles and I tend to flit between electronica, pop, folk, and I’ve even been known to rap. I’d say right now Grimes, Brooke Candy and other grrrls like that are my biggest inspiration. There are constants too, like Patrick Wolf, without whom I probably wouldn’t have started writing my own music!
That’s cool! Those are all great artists. How long have you been blogging and making music?
Well I started blogging with my friend Sophie, on flapjack-owls.blogspot.com, as a joint thing. That was last August, I think. We started it as a summer project and then I decided to create my own separate fashion blog, like an archive for my own ‘style creations’ haha. That’s on peppermint-whiskers.blogspot.com.
And I must have started getting interested in music around the ages of 11 and 12, when I started learning the violin and then got set tasks to write songs in music lessons.
Did you enjoy the structure of set tasks, or do you prefer to do things your own way?
I think with everything I try and keep to some sort of structure, on principal, but then find loopholes to make whatever it is truly my own. In some ways I’m very independent and even dislike other people’s input, but I must admit I think its important to have a basic outline there to support you in what you do because I have unfortunately often found myself just not knowing what to do!
What’s the first song you remember hearing, or rather, the first song you remember really enjoying or connecting to?
Well when I was really little, I used to listen to Radiohead (and worry my parents haha) and Bjork, and Kate Bush, stuff like that, because my parents played them. But I suppose the first songs I really felt a connection to were by Patrick Wolf when I was 12 and I was really taken aback by what he had created.
What is your plan, career-wise? Are you planning on pursuing music as a career, and how do you think you will achieve your goals as such a young person?
I definitely want to be a recording artist as a career, I can’t even imagine doing anything else. I have a feeling it’s going to be hard to be taken seriously right from the start, considering I want to produce as well as record, and I know the music industry can be very sexist. My plan is to try and get an internship at a record label or something in a couple of years, so that’s a head start kind of thing. But I can only hope someone will notice me!
As a woman, what do you think you can bring to the table that others can’t, and do you think you’ll really struggle due to the fact you are a woman? Right now do you have any connections in the music industry, or maybe a jump start on reaching your goals?
I think it’s still refreshing to see, say, a female rapper (I’m so glad people like Iggy Azalea have made it in an admittedly male-dominated genre) or producer managing to be successful. To be honest, I can’t even think of a female producer who is really well known in a mainstream context – which is terrible. I don’t think gender has anything to do with being a potentially brilliant producer! Well, I have a lot of friends and relatives who live in London, so I consider that an important asset already, because if I ever wanted to stay there for an internship or anything, I could stay with someone. Also, my cousin’s boyfriend has a record label so I guess that’s a good connection to have!
Now i know you said your genre of music falls under “alternative”, why is that?
Well I find it quite hard to describe in a more detailed way, and all I feel I can define it with is a genre title with a wider context. Someone once suggested I called it “ethericle-esoteric-chillwave” haha – I’ll just end up being one of those pretentious-sounding artists who describe themselves with words that sound made up.
Haha I actually like that! At least you know what you want to create with your music and your sound. What do you draw inspiration from when you make your music, for example your song “i harry styles” stems from your love for the One Direction member, correct?
Ohhh I am so glad you brought that up! I’m actually listening to One Direction right now, haha. Harry Styles is so cute! I love the boys. I generally (and boringly) get lyric ideas from crushes, *CRINGE* but recently i’ve been doing some experiments with dance music and getting really inspired by people like Calvin Harris’ music. What tends to happen is I want to emulate the style of a particular song, but it never works out right so I just end up with something totally different. Which is kind of good, in retrospect. But the lyrics are more often than not somehow related to boy drama.
I feel some of the most successful female recording artists get inspiration from boy drama, such as Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus (I’m not a fan of either, but they are successful). So finally, what’s next for SATU and your music?
Thats true, haha. Well at the moment I am studying music technology and music performance at college (I know that’s a different thing in the USA – I’m 16 [the American equivalent of a sophomore in High School]) so I’m just building up skills that I’ll need and general confidence in performing. It’s all so exciting! As soon as I finish, I want to try to get my foot in the metaphorical door of the music industry – I can hardly wait!