Editor’s Note: Israeli/American hard rock artist SIMA released her cover of “Love Is A Battlefield” by Pat Benatar today. You’ll be able to check out her cover at the end of this mental health conversation. In this mental health conversation with Madness To Creation, SIMA discusses her single “Runaways”, her incredible story of coming to America from Israel, and what helps push her through each day, especially with the Covid-19 pandemic. Her brand of rock incorporates positivity and strength while being influenced by the likes of Massive Attack, The Cranberries, Pearl Jam, Alanis Morissette, and even System Of A Down. She does an incredible job of incorporating pop sensibilities with her brand of hard rock. Fans can find SIMA at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: You left Israel for America. I’m intrigued by this story. What were some of the fears, hopes, and inspirations that you had coming to America?
SIMA: Growing up in Israel, I was fascinated and influenced by the music culture and the films that came from America. It was mind-blowing, exciting, fresh and so progressive. America had all this powerful, amazing music, fashion, and films, which made me realize there is a whole world out there, something bigger than my life and I wanted to be a part of that. America was a place of opportunities and dreams come true.
To tell the truth, the dream of coming to America was in my head from a young age but, I didn’t know how things were going to manifest themselves. I had no plan. When the opportunity presented itself to come and visit a friend in NYC, I didn’t think about it that much and that far ahead to the point of thinking and planning a move and building a life and a career. It meant to be a short trip that had an opening in it to the unknown. I just dived in. I just came here and fell in love with everything about it. Fell in love with NYC, the art, the music, the culture, and everything that it had to offer that was so different than what I saw and had growing up. So I think in a way because I didn’t think that far and just went and did it, it eliminated a lot of the initial fears that could stop someone from going for something so life-changing and scary because I didn’t really know what it would be like and what it entails.
It was definitely hard, challenging, and scary on so many levels. First, leaving my family, my friends, and everything that I knew behind. I was a kid. My English was pretty basic. I had no money, job, family, friends. I wasn’t prepared for the cold New York weather. I had no proper warm clothes or boots. I didn’t know anyone here except one girl that I stayed with for a month, and then she ended up kicking me out and moved back to Israel after a month or so. It was tough because I had nothing and no one to fall on. I was living on soup and crackers and sharing a room and sleeping on the floor on a mattress, moving around from place to place. But I had to toughen up and figure things out and how I could stay in NYC and build my life and develop my music career. One thing led to another and I started to meet people who helped me out and became my friends, some people who gave me a job, and my first opportunities and from there, I was able to start focusing on my creativity and my music when things started stabling around me.
I remember that time like it was yesterday and with all the challenges and hardship, I wasn’t ready to give up on myself and my dreams. I was definitely protected and guided and I think where I grew up, my strong and determined character had a lot to do with it, my strong morals and values, my upbringing, and pain ended up helping in keeping me safe, strong, and my head clear and balanced. I always had good people around me for the most part and I was a tough kid and I stayed away from trouble. Spending 9 years in NYC, I saw a lot of young kids who came to the big city with a dream, losing themselves and I think I was blessed in a way to never lose my path and forget who I am and what brought me there in the first place.
Madness To Creation: What artists inspired you on MTV to come here? Also, a fun question, give me a Total Request Live MTV video that stood out to you?
SIMA: It wasn’t a specific artist that I saw on MTV that inspired me to come to the U.S. I think it was the whole big picture of the music culture and everything that was coming from here. America was creating this culture of music and music video that we all were so inspired by, especially someone like me that music was everything for me. I remember the Unplugged shows especially watching Nirvana Unplugged was amazing. Watching Madonna music videos. I mean all of it. It was so cool.
Total Request Live with Carson Daly was so much fun to watch. I don’t remember a specific video, but I probably loved watching all of them. I remember when I moved to NYC and I could go to Times Square and see the MTV studios and the line of people outside with signs waiting to see their idols from those big windows. It was crazy and I think that’s one of the things that strikes me coming here, all those people that I use to see on TV and movies now, I can see them in the street, in the store, clubs, and restaurants. It’s wild and then it becomes a new normal especially in NYC and L.A.
Madness To Creation: I’m trying to protect my image here (totally joking), but “Runaways” about made me cry (okay it made me tear up) listening to your words and hearing your story, what inspired you to write this song?
SIMA: Thank you so much for sharing and for being honest and vulnerable. I really appreciate that.
What inspired me to write “Runaways” was my journey mainly. My life experiences. “Runaways” is a rebellious track about staying true to who you are and having faith in what you believe in, and the empowering need to break free from all that holds you back from achieving your full potential. The song represents individuality, empowerment, transformation, and freedom. The song’s message resonates with the chaos and uncertainty that we are all experiencing right now, the despair and pain that people are feeling. Even though I wrote the song before the pandemic started and the protests for social injustice and police brutality started, I think it came from that real place of wanting to create a change in my life and never give my power away and on a bigger scale, when I started working on my peace documentary “Broken Wings,” I started to see more and more how systems of oppression on all levels in society control humanity by injecting fear and disconnect that affecting our well beings and our development as human beings.
I also felt like I was a Runaway. Someone who left something in their past that didn’t allow them to grow and expand. I think it’s a song for people who question things, want more out of life, and for people who can think for themselves. People who are unafraid to be considered outsiders as I felt so many times. It also affirms that life as we know it will never be the same; a positive change as it pushes us outside of our comfort zone. There is a massive need for people and society to go through a deep evolutionary and revolutionary growth and I believe “Runaways” captures the spirit of those who’ve had enough and feel a change must come.
I remember so many times when I felt like I was hitting a wall, feeling broken, alone, and torn apart by life and my choices and my need of being an individual who wants to live life by my own rules and what I feel is the right path for me and on the other side of it trying to please my family, “do the right thing,” go by society norms of what women should be, do and become. Coming here so young on my own was not only challenging in a sense of surviving in a new environment but also finding myself, learning to value my strength, and knowing my worth. I didn’t have someone guiding me and building that self-esteem as a kid and I had to do that for myself. Have faith to keep going no matter what life throws at me. So many times I felt guilty for leaving my family and wanting to live my life for me and give my dreams a chance and then coming here and feeling like I would never be able to fit in, be a part of this circle, this biz, so many times I felt my dreams were taking away from me but in all that I always found strength and kept going and trusted my journey knowing that I have something special to offer the world and at the end of the day, I dared to do something so many would never do and that what’s matter to me.
Madness To Creation: How in the world do you train that magnificent voice of yours?
SIMA: Thank you 🙂 I was blessed to train with some of the best vocal coaches in the industry like Don Lawrence, vocal coach for Bono, Mick Jagger, Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, and many more as well as metal vocal coach Melissa Cross. Now, when I have a recording session or a show I still do my vocal warm-ups, I drink my throat coat tea and I don’t drink alcohol at least 4 days before a session and I drink a lot of water.
Madness To Creation: How are you coping with the Covid-19 pandemic? What’s the first thing you want to do when it’s all over?
SIMA: It’s definitely challenging and weird times. I was lucky enough to finish most of my new record before the pandemic started so I was busy focusing on releasing the first single “Runaways” and promoting it and doing press and then I recorded the acoustic version of “Runaways” and I’m releasing the second single on Aug 27th, so just staying busy and creative helped me a lot dealing with everything.
The first thing I want to do when this pandemic is over is travel and go to see my family in Israel.
Madness To Creation: I love the empowerment feel of your music, what keeps you strong, especially when times are difficult?
SIMA: Mainly God. My faith. Focusing on positivity and trusting my life and that there is a reason for everything and knowing that everything changes all the time and that light spreads in darkness and not the other way around.
Music and writing have always been that fuel and drive to keep me going, it makes me feel connected to my soul and something bigger than myself.
Madness To Creation: How have you adjusted your social media accounts through this pandemic?
SIMA: I try to stay positive on social media and not get into politics, arguments, and negativity. There so much of it right now. I’m trying to focus on music, love, inspiration, empowerment, and put a smile on people’s faces. Just be a source of good vibes and light. That’s usually what I focus on.
Madness To Creation: What can fans expect from your upcoming release this year?
SIMA: I’m releasing the second single from my upcoming new album on Aug 27th and probably releasing a cover song right before that and the full record will be out sometime in Oct.
Madness To Creation: Fun question: give me an artist or album that you can’t live without and why.
SIMA: SIMA:) Because she’s my hero. She empowers and inspires me 😉
Madness To Creation: What else would you like to add in regards to Sima?
SIMA: I would like to tell people to stay in touch on social media and find me on Spotify and YouTube and say hello. I always like to meet new fans and new people.
And there you have it! Check out SIMA via Spotify below:
* Photo Credit: Anabel DFlux