We’re back with another installation of our latest series, TuneCore Tuesdays, which aims to highlight artists and other music professionals who are writing, recording, and hustling on their own terms. By showcasing creatives doing it their way all over the globe, TuneCore Tuesdays aims to empower and inspire our diverse community of artists.
This week we’re talking to California-born-and-bred R&B singer/songwriter SIA AMUN. Check out her video below and be sure to learn more about her journey!
Growing up in a studio surrounded by the most prolific R&B artists of the ’90s, SIA AMUN was destined to be a musician. The daughter of Steve Russel Harts— lead singer of the ’90s R&B group TROOP— SIA has stepped away from any family connections within the music industry to forge her independent music career and uncover her authentic voice, now having made her mark with several high-profile credits including Lady Gaga, Trey Songz, and Mary J Blige.
“I grew up in one of the best eras in music history,” SIA starts. “Being a ’90s baby in California absolutely influenced my taste in music; from Brandy, Aaliyah, Beyonce, and India Arie, to Stevie Wonder, Usher, and Tupac… Oh my gosh, I listened to everything!” Surrounded by soul at an early age, AMUN was keen to get in on the action: “I recorded my first song when I was just 10 years old. From there I started singing backgrounds on records and demoing songs which eventually led to writing.”
AMUN’s early passion and fascination with music quickly evolved into a case study on how she could become a force in the R&B scene, herself. “The more I fell in love with different artists, reading credits, and the whole creative process, the more I began to realize [the artist that] my Dad was and what he was contributing to music culture. Seeing him work, writing songs, performing; it made the realization of my dream become clear and tangible. So, I pursued it.” Determined to build success on her own laurels, AMUN ended any professional affiliations with her father and worked tirelessly to establish herself in the indie R&B scene.
“Eventually I began producing showcases and curating events for the indie community, which led to singing background gigs and building relationships with producers and songwriters,” she shares. “After a few failed passion projects I partnered with another songwriter, opened a small recording studio in North Hollywood, and began placing songs with major labels and artists.”
Behind the sensual vocals and reggae-infused beats, this is AMUN: a driven entrepreneur focused on knowing all aspects of her craft. Over the course of her decade-long career, she has worn various hats within the industry. “[Originally,] I wanted to develop artists and lead the A&R department of a major label…I had a five-member boy band that I held auditions for and developed over a few years, as well as a solo artist that was signed directly to me.” AMUN divulges. “When things came to an end I applied everything I did for them to myself and my own projects. That’s what led me to where I am today.”
Now, AMUN has had several breakthrough moments which serve as testament to the fact that she is on course for a huge career. “Getting my first RIAA Certified Platinum plaque for my participation on Lady Gaga’s Fame Monster was a surreal moment for me,” she recalls fondly. “Teddy Riley called me at 2am for that session. After hanging up on him several times thinking it was a prank, I finally believed him and we scheduled a time to work the following day.” Since that work, she’s gone on to release her first EP overseas in the UK, and claim another Certified Gold plaque on a track she co-wrote for Trey Songz.
Looking back on the journey to get to this pivotal moment in her career, AMUN notes that “the industry was different when [she] started releasing music.”
“I lived in the world of live shows and working to provide a space for creatives to market themselves, so I did a lot of networking and groundwork. I built email lists based on the attendees from my events, learned how to design websites, flyers, posters— everything else I needed to reach more potential fans. I taught myself how to do it all so that I didn’t have to rely on other people to get it done.”
AMUN is not a lone wolf. She recognizes the value of having a solid team behind her. Yet, she remains her own #1 fan and credits unadulterated self-confidence as her key to success. “One thing I’ve learned is that no one is gonna believe in you more than you believe in yourself,” AMUN is sure. “Betting on myself was the best decision I have ever made. [In doing this] I created my own value and built my fanbase from the ground up. The journey was hard, but self-made success is one of the best parts of being an independent artist.”