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20 Questions With Sima

The Israeli/American rocker talks musical heroes, old jazz, BMWs, crystals & more.

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It’s been a busy summer for Sima. A couple of months back, the Israeli/American rocker dropped the single and video for Runaways, the title track of her upcoming sophomore album. Last week, she returned with an edgy cover of Pat Benatar’s 1983 classic Love Is A Battlefield. Today, she tackles the toughest assignment of all — doing battle with my ridiculous questions. Here’s how it went:

 


 

Introduce yourself: Name, age (feel free to lie), home base, and other details you’d like to share — height/weight / identifying marks/astrology sign / your choice.
My name is Sima (Galanti). I’m a hard rock solo artist based in Los Angeles. I grew up in a small town in Israel called Lod. It’s a culturally mixed Arab/Jewish community with many socio-economic problems. My dad Isaac Galanti was born in Izmir, Turkey and my mom Lydia was born in Marrakesh, Morocco. They came to Israel with their family when they were young kids to escape antisemitism and start a new life. Growing up in a diverse and conflicted country gave me a sense of reality and the value of life at a very young age. It made me the strong and passionate woman I am today, and I appreciate life and everything it has to offer. Also, because my parents came from different parts of the world, it was incredible to be exposed to so many unique cultures, languages, traditions, and values. I feel proud and blessed to be born and raised there. It’s a very powerful, beautiful, and magical little country. Even though it is surrounded by enemies, hate, and fear, ultimately life always goes on there and there is a passion and celebration of life. I came to the U.S. to fulfil my artistic dreams, my life’s mission, to find freedom and a better future.

What is your musical origin story?
I realized music was my passion around the age of 10. I used to lock myself in my room for hours and sing and listen to a lot of music. It was a getaway; an escape to a dream world where I could be anything I wanted to be and express my heart’s desires — my pain, hurt, and love. I found that in that little room back in Israel and that little radio I had was everything to me. I remember singing and dancing in front of the TV and once my family realized that their little girl had talent, soon I was the center of attention in the family. I sang at family events, festivals, and at school. I remember my dad used to drive me to acting classes and singing competitions. From then on, I knew it was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I felt happy and I wanted to express that part of myself that felt so free and I loved having the ability to connect people to their emotions.

I was introduced to rock and metal music by my older sister, Janet. We shared a room growing up. She introduced me to amazing records and bands like Pearl Jam, AC/DC, Nirvana, Pantera, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, The Doors, The Cure, and many more. She also took me to my first rock concert to see Deep Purple when I was 11 years old. I also went to school with this kid whose parents were artists, painters, sculptors, and educators. At my friend’s house, I was exposed to poetry, art, classical music, and classic rock. My friend was a talented guitar player, so we spent a lot of time together singing and playing music. He also introduced me to some incredible rock bands like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, Sting and many more great artists.

What’s your latest project? Tell us everything we need to know.
I recently released a new single called Runaways, off my upcoming second full-length independent album of the same name. Runaways is a hard rock, hyper-charged, 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 was written before COVID-19 and the protesting for racial injustices, but it’s definitely a song that resonates with the chaos and uncertainty the world has been experiencing lately.

I also decided to cover Love Is A Battlefield because I’ve always loved the song and Pat Benatar’s music and powerful voice, and knew that I could create a version that is my own and bring my Sima sound to it. I loved watching the music video growing up on MTV and VH1. Looking back at my journey — leaving Israel, my overprotective parents, moving to NYC at a young age, and living such an exciting life in the big city — I can relate to the video even more now. People always told me that I should cover this song and years later, I’m finally doing it! I love the combination of the electronic and rock sounds that I often mix in my own music. Love Is A Battlefield has a sense of this rebellious, young vibe and spirit. It’s powerful and inspiring, with an essence of love and life. I can definitely relate to the lyrics and energy of the song and it felt like the perfect song to release after my single Runaways that touches upon many of the same themes. I’m someone who is rebellious and powerful, walks my own path in life, and believes in love and wants that in my life. There are no guarantees in life and love; you’ve got to take the risks and keep your heart and mind open, even if knowing that you might get hurt.

What truly sets you apart from other artists?
I think it’s just a matter of knowing who you are as a person and an artist and understanding your strengths and what you have to offer to the world that is unique to you. There is no competition, and everyone is unique in their own way. I believe that my life story, my journey, my background, and upbringing are different than most people. My ability to live with an open heart, be passionate, and dream big no matter what, especially coming here from another country at a very young age, on my own, with nothing and from such a harsh background and of instead letting it stop me, choosing to build myself from the ground up. I think my ability to stay true to myself, my art, and creativity without losing my faith and my core values. There is a depth in my voice and music and it’s important for me to write about important issues, be raw, vulnerable, and express my heart and soul on a deep level.

What will I learn or how will my life improve by listening to your music?
I think my music is inspiring and empowering and touches on important issues that we are facing in society and around the world, but also on a personal level, things that we all deal with on a daily basis like hardships, feelings of disconnect and loneliness, insecurities, love and our desire to let go and find freedom and happiness. I hope that through my music I can create change and give people something to think about and reflect on. I hope that through my music people can break down their walls, find strength, let go and overcome whatever they are dealing with and feel like they are not alone.

What album/song/artist/show changed your life?
Artists and albums that changed my life are Bjork’s first three albums, Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill, Pink Floyd’s The Wall, The Dark Side Of the Moon and I Wish You Were Here, GN’R’s Appetite for Destruction, Nirvana’s Nevermind, Pearl Jam’s Ten, Metallica’s Master of Puppets and Metallica, The CranberriesNo Need To Argue, The Cure, Madonna, Michel Jackson, Nick Cave. There are probably a few more that I forgot to mention but well…

What is the best / worst / strangest / most memorable performance you’ve seen another artist give?
The best, most memorable shows I ever saw were U2 in Madison Square Garden after 9/11, Prince at The Forum in Los Angeles, Metallica’s sold-out show in New Jersey, Nick Cave, and Damien Rice at Madison Square Garden.

What living or dead artists would you collaborate with if you could?
OMG, there are so many lol… Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Freddie Mercury, Prince, Kurt Cobain, David Bowie, Chester Bennington, Chris Cornell, Jeff Buckley, Bjork, Trent Reznor, Robert Smith (The Cure), Dave Grohl, Radiohead, Massive Attack, Alanis Morissette, Metallica, Maynard James Keenan, Dave Draiman (Disturbed), Corey Taylor, Lady Gaga, Amy Lee, Eddie Vedder. I probably forgot a few.

What artist or style of music do you love that would surprise people?
I love listening to old jazz music. I also like listening to mantras.

What are your favorite songs/albums/artists right now?
Runaways by Sima 🙂

Tell us a joke.
I suck at telling jokes. But I’m great at laughing:)

What do you drive and why? What do you want to drive and why?
I drive a 2019 BMW 330i. I like the classy, lady boss, luxurious look. I feel safe in it and it’s fast and convenient. I would like to drive an Aston Martin or Maserati; I also love classic cars.

What superpower do you want and how would you use it?
Being able to disappear and appear in different places around the world. I would go visit my family any time that I want. I would never miss important moments in people’s lives and I would be able to be there when people need me. Also, it would be great to appear in situations and places where I can save people from danger, change the course of events and at the same time get the hell out situations and places whenever I want.

What skills — useful or useless — do you have outside of music?
Acting, directing, producing, animation voices, cooking.

What do you collect?
Crystals.

If I had a potluck, what would you bring?
Vegan dishes.

What current trend or popular thing do you not understand at all?
TikTok. It’s not that I don’t understand it, I just can’t get into it. Just an extra app to be on. Can be tiring sometimes.

Tell us about your current and/or former pets.
My baby girl’s name is Love. She’s a white Maltese. She’s been with me since she was one month old and I love her more than anything. She’s a lover, sweet and the most precious thing ever.

If you could have any other job besides music, what would it be and why?
Probably a psychologist. Maybe a marriage and family counselor. I just love helping people. Family and healthy relationships have always been important to me, especially creating a solid, happy, steady relationship and happy home. I have a natural ability to make people comfortable talking to me and open up. People always come to me for advice and share stuff about their relationships. I always help them find the spark again, go back to the place where they felt loved, safe, and rebuilt, and recreate that. Love and relationships require work, commitment, vulnerability, and sometimes people are not willing to put the work in. I am good at helping people connect to their hearts and also find love, strength, and healing within themselves first so they can share it with others and be the best version of themselves.

What’s the best advice and/or worst advice you were ever given?
To have a normal life lol…

Watch the videos for Runaways and Love Is A Battlefield above, hear more from Sima below, and keep up with her through her website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.