By Nicholas Jason Lopez
2020 might’ve stopped live music, but it hasn’t halted the momentum of Los Angeles-based Israeli/American hard rock solo artist SIMA, who has delivered a number of both hard-hitting bangers and soft-to-the-touch ballads.
SIMA will release her second full-length independent album ‘Runaways’ soon, but in the meantime, has unleashed her rendition of “The Syndrome,” a Grey Daze song she was heavily moved by and sought to pay tribute to the late Chester Bennington, who played with the Phoenix-based group in the 90’s before he joined Linkin Park.
Influenced by an eclectic blend of artists that range from Massive Attack and Bjork to A Perfect Circle and System Of A Down, her fascination with music has helped SIMA adapt to American life, yet still be herself.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with her about her career so far and more.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about hard rock?
SIMA – What excites me the most about hard rock is that it’s super energetic, driving, fun and it allows you to rock out and let it go.
Music Bugle – Which of your songs are you most proud of?
SIMA – I’m proud of “Breaking Down The Walls” from my first record, ‘This Is My Truth,’ “Set It All On Fire” and my single “Runaways,” plus a few other songs from my upcoming record.
Music Bugle – What has been your biggest struggle lately?
SIMA – I don’t know if I’d call it a struggle. Consciously, I always chose to use different terms. Let’s say my biggest challenges are dealing with the current situation that we are all facing and trying to figure out what’s next for me as an artist and woman, thinking about all the things that are important to me at this point in my life and what I want to achieve. Missing my family back in Israel is a big one. Just a lot of thinking and prioritizing and at the same time, trying to keep creating and doing what I love and moving forward.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
SIMA – I have a few tattoos that are reminders for me when I’m facing challenging times to stay humble and grateful for everything. One that says, “That too shall pass.” It keeps me at the present moment, knowing that everything changes all the time and it won’t last forever, good or bad, so you learn to appreciate the here and now. Faith is big for me. Keeping the faith and moving forward, trusting my life, myself and the creator. I have a few other tattoos that are all reminders and symbols for me that keep me in harmony with life, strong on my path and my journey.
Music Bugle – What was it like putting together your album ‘Runaways’?
SIMA – Putting together my album ‘Runaways’ was a process that I really took my time with. I didn’t feel any pressure, even if it’s been a while since my last EP ‘Beautiful Liar.’ I just want to release music that I’m proud of and captures my essence as an artist and my growth. I changed so much and experienced so many things that I wanted to create a record that takes on that journey with me with every song in it. Being an independent artist, it’s freeing in many ways. I can do things my own way and have full control over my creativity and artistry. I started working on the record while I was also working on my first documentary called “Broken Wings,” so a few songs are definitely inspired by the film and what I was experiencing and learning about myself and life while working on it.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
SIMA – It’s definitely a challenging time all around the world. Life as we knew it will never be the same. As an artist, I have to focus on what I can do right now to advance my career and stay creative, keep releasing music as much as I can. I can’t play live, so social media becomes the place that you focus on to introduce your music to the world, which can be challenging. On a personal level, like I said, missing my family back home. They’re back on lockdown in Israel, so I’m trying to figure out when it’s safe to go visit. Missing celebrating the Jewish holidays with family. It feels hard sometimes not being able to socialize, meet new people, or make any plans for the future because we don’t really know what’s going to happen next. The biggest thing for me was when my dog was sick last month and I couldn’t go inside the hospital with her. I had to hand her to them and wait in my car and that destroyed me. There are people that their family members are sick and they can’t go see them. It’s heartbreaking.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
SIMA – I’m listening to a lot of old jazz music right now, chill electronic music that puts me in good vibes like Rufus Du Sol and Phaeleh. It makes me want to take a road trip. (Laughs) Also, Grey Daze’s new record. I heard it and loved it and decided to cover the song “The Syndrome.” I recorded only vocals and piano and it came out super powerful.
Music Bugle – What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
SIMA – Completing my first record ‘This Is My Truth’ and ‘Runaways.’ I think those two records really defined my journey here in the U.S. and my evolution as a woman and an artist. Releasing the single “Runaways” was incredible. Seeing all the love and support that the song got was incredible. Also, directing and producing my first documentary “Broken Wings.”
Music Bugle – Does social media make it easier or harder for a musician to stand out these days?
SIMA – I don’t know. I’m really turned off by Facebook and all the mess on there. It’s really hard to stand out in general because there is so much of everything in your face all the time. Constant information and content and stuff gets lost. I think the key is to find those who want to hear what you do and would appreciate your art.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you feel the need to escape?
SIMA – I go to Ojai, Joshua Tree, or the beach. I crave nature all the time. I feel more myself and in tune with my soul and life when I’m in nature. Escapes are very important to me and I try to do them as much as I can.
*Photo credit – Anabel DFlux*