Satoya Foster is a vibrant, intentional vocalist, songwriter, and musician who cares deeply about conveying honesty and transparency in her music. She and her husband, Jason, moved from New York to Chattanooga with Chris Sorenson in order to open up what is now The Camp House. Like her husband, an accomplished bassist, she does a lot of freelance music work locally and nationwide. Look out for Satoya’s first EP, “Emergence,” which will be released on November 1st, 2017.
Who are your musical inspirations?
Satoya: I look to a variety of musicians for inspiration. I love Brandi, Whitney Houston, my husband, and my brother. My brother is a jazz pianist and he was a huge influence for me as a kid. I would go with him to all of his gigs. Many of my musician friends are also inspirational to me because they are very skilled, but they also have really good character which, to me, is of equal importance.
How have they shaped how you write music?
Satoya: I think the biggest way that they’ve shaped the way I write music is to really be intentional about how a specific sound makes something feel and how different words sound being sung. There are certain words that sound awkward as I’m singing because they aren’t regularly used in my vocabulary. Those words haven’t integrated with me as a person so it doesn’t sound authentic when I’m singing it. My friends have inspired me to be intentional about what I’m singing, how I’m singing it, and analyzing what emotion goes with that. I think coming from a songwriter’s perspective, I take the singer into consideration as I write. It has influenced a lot of my writing because I think about things as it’s executed as well as what’s being written.
What does your creative process look like?
Satoya: It depends on what I’m creating at the moment. There are times when I’ve written a song in an hour or a couple of hours, and then there are some songs that have taken me a few years to finish because I write things according to what’s true for me, my heart, and what I’ve been through. Certain songs I couldn’t finish until I lived the rest of the song. There was a song that I started a couple of years ago that was about my dad and about my disappointment in being his daughter. When I got to the bridge I was stuck so I waited a couple of years until I was in a better place emotionally and able to process through a lot of that trauma. One day, the bridge came and the song was finished.
Other times I’ll start writing something and if I’m feeling a sense of “writer’s block,” I’ll take a break and do anything but think about the song so I can free up some mental space so I can go back and think about it with fresh eyes later on.
If I just went through something very emotionally taxing for me, the lyrics may come to me before the music. Sometimes I’ll be tinkering on the piano or hear Jason playing and I’ll hum something and words will come.
What is the most intimidating part about writing?
Satoya: The core desire that is prominent in my personality is to protect myself. The most vulnerable thing I can do is sing and share something that I’ve written because I’m bearing my soul. I constantly have to push myself and remind myself that it’s brave and strong to be vulnerable, not weak. That’s probably the thorn in my flesh.
Can you tell me more about the new album you’re about to release?
Satoya: This is my first EP; I’ve sung on plenty of things with other people on compilations over the years and I’m very excited and nervous about it because, as I said before, I’m bearing my soul. I’m excited though because I get to share my stories and stories are really important to me. My music pulls out my story and explores the ways in which I’ve been able to overcome things to live a life with this ideal of practicing redemption.
What’s the name of your EP? And what inspired that?
Satoya: My EP is called, “Emergence.” There are a couple of inspirations. It had a different title before but it didn’t resonate with me the way that Emergence did because I think it’s my emergence as an artist. This is my first project out that’s purely mine, but it’s also me challenging myself to be vulnerable and put myself out there in that regard. Sharing my story and not hiding from it because I’ve grown and learn and developed from everything. It’s scheduled to for release on November 1st, 2017.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a full time musician?
Satoya: My first instinct is to say don’t. I think that being a full time musician can be very fulfilling but it’s definitely not easy. I was listening to a podcast where the guest on the show said that doing creative work was still work and creative work takes emotional work. That’s really hard, and I think when people have the idea to be a musician that they forget you have to do things you don’t emotionally feel like you want to do. You have to connect with people you may not want to connect with. You have to make certain separations because it’s your job. Making music your job alters the way you interact with you. People need to be more realistic about what they’re walking into when they make that commitment. It’s very long hours.