See - Music in SF

Q&A: SEE Prepares to Play the Cafe du Nord in San Francisco

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SEE, the twenty-one-year-old singer/songwriter with the trippy eyes is currently on tour and making her way to play live music in San Francisco with a gig at the Cafe du Nord on June 10. She recently released a new music video for “Green Line Killer,” which is a follow-up to her first single “Potions,” which has already amassed over five million plays since its release.

SEE first began writing original songs at the age of 15, after teaching herself the drums, guitar, bass, piano. She eventually became the primary songwriter and drummer for an alternative indie rock band based in Long Island. It wasn’t until the age of 18 that she began to sing and perform as a solo artist and decided to forgo college to pursue a music career full-time.

She recently took the time to talk about her career and to answer a few questions for Music in SF where we tackled issues like what her live shows are like, what cities are her favorite to play and what her inspiration is for those striking eyes.

You’re currently on a US tour. How’s it going so far?

I’ve loved it! This is my first time touring consistently for a few weeks. Nina has been incredible to play with every night, and I’ve been learning so much. Just happy to be playing music and meeting fans and making connections with everyone.

Any crazy road stories you can share with our audience?

We had a beautiful (not necessarily crazy) trip yesterday where we drove on Highway 78 to get to San Diego from Phoenix. We saw the Imperial Sand Dunes, and none of us knew they existed, so it was the coolest thing. Wish we could have gotten out to take pictures but it was 112 degrees at the time 🙁

You’re playing San Francisco this week. Have you played here before?

Nope! Never played or been, so I’m looking forward to it. I’ve heard a bunch of great things about the city, and it looks stunning.

What can San Francisco audiences expect at your live show?

I’m excited to be doing a stripped down set on this tour, so it’s kind of back to my basics. The songs I write all start off acoustically, so I think it’s interesting for people to hear the way they initially sounded to me before production. I’ll be playing some songs from my EP “Ties” and some new ones as well.

What have been some of your favorite cities to play so far?

I think my favorite date of this tour so far was Phoenix. Mostly because of the great food we got and the fact that I felt great about my set. But all of the cities have been unique in their ways, but I 100% cannot ever deal with the heat that we’ve encountered so far, haha.

Your video for “Potions” has raked in over 5 Million views to date? Why do you think it’s connecting with people so much?

I think people like something real and not super manufactured seeming? The video was low budget, and we all worked hard to make it something authentic, and I think it’s been coming through. Obviously, people are looking for more LGBT representation, and I’m very happy to be a part of the new up and coming scene of artists.

San Francisco has a large LGBT community, and it seems like your videos have had a major following within it. Why do you think that is?

People just want content that represents them! Finally, we’re starting to hit a time where people can be more open about who we are, and I think we almost have some sort of mini gay renaissance, at least in the bigger cities. Not to say that there isn’t danger because there is, but I’ve seen such a massive change in the past few years.

Being that you’re from New York, can you describe for us what the music scene is like over there?

The New York music scene is a little bizarre, at least in my experience, especially for solo female pop-ish artists. I’ve found that I float between the singer-songwriter scene and the alternative scene more so than anything else. There are so many talented people, but I’ve also found that I’ve made a lot of musician friends over the internet more so than meeting them in NY.

What are some of your biggest influences?

Radiohead, No Doubt, As Tall As Lions!

What inspired you to include those striking contacts in your look?

Just as a form of expressing myself and feeling different from being norm. The last thing I want is to have a show and not look different or crazier than everyone attending it. It’s fun to take style risks and play around, so I’ve been having a blast with it.

Nina Diaz plays live music in San Francisco with SEE at the Cafe du Nord on June 10, Doors: 8:00 p.m. Show: 9:00 p.m.

Having released albums under Digital Nations, a label founded by Steve Vai, music critic Louis Raphael has remained deeply connected to the pulse of the San Francisco music scene. Following his tenure as the San Francisco Music Examiner for and, he embarked on creating Music in SF® to authentically highlight the vibrant offerings of the city's music scene.

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