"I feel like I’m at the peak of my music career"
Stephanie Sansoni is still glowing from the release of her first music video Sihineka Arthaya. I sat down with her to discuss music and the responsibilities that come with fame.
Q/ Why did you start making YouTube videos?
SS: Before YouTube, I already had a couple of videos out on my Facebook profile, for friends and family. I received a lot of positive responses from these posts. In 2014 (while waiting for university admission), I decided to try posting a video or two on YouTube. But, I never expected anything to happen.
Q/ You released your first music video this year. How does that feel?
SS: Making original music is very different to doing covers. It was very challenging because the process dragged on for a year. Now that all the hard work paid off, I couldn’t be happier!
Q/ Have you always wanted to make your own original music?
SS: Yes! But I’ve been a cover artist for three years now — so it’s been an interesting transition from doing covers to original music. Right now, I feel like I’m at the peak of my music career, which is why it was the perfect time to put out an original.
Q/ Do you get recognized while out in public?
SS: I do. I get very uncomfortable sometimes, as a big part of me is still an introvert. I’m also careful about what I do and say in public— but it’s part of the experience (of being an artist) and I need to accept that.
Q/ How do you balance your public vs private life?
SS: When it comes to social media, it’s important for everyone to be careful about what they post. You need to know where to draw the line between staying private and going public. It’s no secret that I’m a singer, and that I have a boyfriend, but that’s just a small part of who I am.
Q/ What kind of relationship do you have with your fans?
SS: I’d say it’s a pretty good one. I always try to respond to their messages and comments. I’m here because of their support and I respect that.
Q/ Has it been hard balancing education and your public persona?
SS: I’m currently in my fourth and final year of university. It’s been a difficult year, education wise, while also reaching the peak of my music career. Sometimes, studies have taken second place to events, but I think I’ve managed to do a good job of balancing both!
Q/ Have you ever felt like your creative freedom is limited, because you have to meet the expectations of your followers?
SS: I have a particular style and type of music I enjoy performing. And, I don’t always receive requests to do songs in my style. The important thing is to find a balance between what is expected by you and what you like to do. I wouldn’t say my creative freedom is limited, but it’s definitely different.
Q/ How do you handle criticism?
SS: There are two types of criticism. When it comes to harsh/lewd comments, I tend to ignore them. But, if someone is giving me constructive criticism, I always try to respond to them and consider what they’re trying to tell me.
Q/ Has social media affected your mental health?
SS: I used to compare myself to a lot of people while scrolling through Instagram. I’ve come to realize that we’re all unique, it’s a simple matter of practicing gratitude every day. I’ve also given up a lot of good habits like reading because of this social media game. But I’m trying, at least, to read one page daily. I also think that there’s enough good that social media has done for me too. I’m here because of the support I’ve gotten from the online community.
Q/ As a self-taught musician, has anyone ever told you that you won’t make it?
SS: I worked closely with an artist who has been in the music industry for a long time. He told me that I wasn’t good enough. I felt insecure about my own abilities, but I didn’t let myself think about it. My family and friends have always been very supportive.
Q/ Do you have any advice for aspiring young musicians?
SS: I feel like a lot of young people on YouTube and Instagram don’t know how the social media game works. There’s a lot of hustling and learning which beginners have to be ready for. I also feel like the music industry is currently stagnant. You see the same faces everywhere. The community needs to start making space for young musicians. We need to recognize their talent, and they need to get on social media—it’s an important platform to be on.
Q/ Is there anything you hope your followers will learn from you?
SS: I actually mentioned this in my song Sihineka Arthaya: Regardless of what happens, I want my followers to always see the bigger picture. You should never lose sight of your goals. It’s something I think my journey reflects on. A lot of my fans, who’ve been there since the beginning have mentioned this to me. They’ve seen how much I’ve accomplished because I kept hustling.
Q/ What’s in store for you in the future?
SS: I’ll be focused on doing more originals than covers. I’m definitely interested in stepping up my game and putting good music out there. I’m hoping to release an EP next year (a collection of 5-6 songs).
This article was originally published as “Unfiltered With Stephanie Sansoni” in the August 2019 issue of Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka. For more inspo, grab a copy of our latest magazine or subscribe online.
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