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Music in her veins

By By Renée Cummings

Sarah Silvera is ready. She has been ready all her life. Born to perform, some would say! She's the daughter of educator, actress and drama teacher Susan Silvera. The stage is in her blood. But also pumping through her veins is this great desire for global self-expression. It's all about self-actualisation for this 32-year-old who has spent all of her life performing. "I want to use my voice." The way she says it, you know she means in a big way. "I want to start travelling in the region and internationally. I plan to go to Spain and work with some musicians and DJs there. I want to go to LA. But I also want to come home and meet up with some of our musicians."

It's early Thursday morning, and she's getting ready for work, rushing around her house, with a red, over-sized, coffee mug in hand. But her feelings are spilling all over the place. She drops to the floor and slips into a lotus, confirming the fact that she's also a Yogi, legs crossed, both feet, touching the ground. She's in Jamaica. We're on Skype. "I got to a point where I had to express myself. I had to be authentic. I was around more and more musicians, in Kingston, and I started writing again, and then in 2006, I jumped into a small recording studio and started to play around. I loved the experience. Living in Jamaica, I'm learning more and more about myself as an artiste. I've been doing a lot of underground music. I've been sharing, collaborating, and connecting."

Silvera, whose stage name is Sezi, is a natural. Skype starts to look and sound as though I'm watching a movie. Hand movements abound but you can blame that on years of ballet. Her voice soars and dips, in all the right places; intonation is on point, but you can blame that on her drama teacher mother. Even in the casual context, of an Internet video chat, her posture is perfect and her presentation of self is pronounced and punctuated with the right emotions.

"I've worked with producers like David Kennedy who has worked with Mary J Blige. I'm also working with Bay-C from TOK who has been doing some recent work with Damian Marley. I've had the great experience of performing with some incredible musicians like Jason Worton who's a part of the Indiggnation- Protoje Band; they are new reggae artistes on the scene. Last year, in LA, I got to sing live with the original Steel Pulse bassist Ronnie McQueen. All these moments happened without any real planning but I was prepared."

Without warning, up, she jumps and glides across the room to close a door, never missing a beat, taking the conversation with her and then bringing it back. "My journey in music has been organic and one step after the other. For me, it is all about collaboration. I really want to combine. My journey is all about going off to find that authentic self." She's very articulate but it is her confidence that captures you the most. "I'm trying to pool all my talents and step into a space where I'm really doing something."

She's ready to own her story. So here's the prologue. She was born in Jamaica. She came to Trinidad when she was three weeks old. "Her grandfather doted on her. I lost my own sister when I was nine years old. We were 17 months apart. So my dad absolutely adored Sarah," say her mom. She grew up with her mom, two brothers, and grandparents, in St Clair. Her grandfather, Justice Evan Rees was the first Ombudsman of Trinidad & Tobago.

She's a graduate of St Joseph's Convent, Port of Spain. "At that time I was teaching three classes of Form One students, at Bishops, and she didn't want to be with mom at home and with mom at school so she decided to go to St Joseph's Convent instead. She was Miss SJC, in dancing, singing, and performing. She's not a follower. She's driven by her own ambitions." She attended boarding school in England where she completed her A'Levels. In 2002, she obtained a BA in Psychology from the University of Miami.

For the last three years, she's been teaching third grade at the International School in Jamaica. "Being a teacher is in my blood. But I want to be more than a teacher. I want to be an educator." She wants to use her voice to inspire others to greatness, in every way possible. "I also want to make a difference when it comes to literacy in the region and developing children through reading." Even if it takes the language of music to make that change!

She definitely knows what she wants. Right now, she's just making plans to get there fast. "I'm stepping out on the scene. It is sometimes hard to live authentically because it usually means making decisions and cutting a path for yourself that is brand new. I'm trying to streamline my efforts and merge my talents to really discover my purpose. Everything I've done so far is a part of my journey; all steps towards the unfolding of me."

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