We had the good fortune of connecting with Sammy Jo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sammy, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
For me personally, giving up is not something I consider an option. I spent much of my adolescence and early 20s feeling hopeless, yet I somehow managed to persevere. There is a difference between giving up and surrendering, and I have learned to shift my perception to the latter. I had all but given up on my goals and aspirations almost a decade ago. At that point in my life I was suffering from a crippling drug addiction and eating disorder, as well as severe depression. When I had finally done enough damage to myself and those around me, I asked for help and never looked back. Starting over is never easy, but if you refuse to give up, and instead surrender and let those around you extend a hand, you will gain back your strength and become an unstoppable force. I don’t believe in giving up. Instead, I take the approach that if something isn’t working out, I should simply adjust my expectations and set new goals for myself- ones that will lead to success in the long term. My whole life I wanted to sing, write music, and be involved in the arts. Around the same time that I was finishing my bachelor’s degree in sociology, I felt as though something was missing and realized I had let the creative part of me take a back seat. Once my bandmates and I formed Honeyvoid, everything changed. Music not only became a lifesaver, but it became a tool I have since used for growth, healing, and inspiration to keep going, especially through the hard times. Writing songs and performing with Honeyvoid reminds me that if I keep going, I can accomplish anything and I shouldn’t waste time letting fear of failure hold me back. Music has opened up so many doors and connected us to a flourishing community of artists here in South Florida. If I had given up on chasing my dreams, I would never have been able to form a band, let alone artistically collaborate with other musicians and photographers. Most importantly, I wouldn’t have met so many talented, supportive, and inspiring individuals along the way.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Honeyvoid is an indie rock band that fuses the eclectic musical tastes of all our members into one unique and cohesive sound. There is nothing more gratifying than being able to pour your heart into a creative outlet that others can relate to. I like to think that we are caterers to the clinically depressed. Our music frequently has undertones of sadness, but that is not to say there is no hope. I think each of us writes from a deeply personal place. My lyrics convey many thoughts, feelings, and experiences I have been unable to put into words in the past. I think those listening to Honeyvoid will find solace in our music. Pain is a universal experience, and I believe we do a great job of writing in a way that strikes a chord with our listeners and makes them feel as though they are not alone. I am very proud of the fact that we released our first self-titled EP after playing together for only six months. I’m also proud that we have had the opportunity to play at so many wonderful venues in South Florida. Coronavirus has not made life easy for performers and those in the music industry, but my bandmates and I were able to use our quarantine time to write so much new material. This has been less an obstacle, but more an opportunity to improve upon our style and technique, and we will be releasing two new EPs this year as a result. We were also able to collaborate on a mini documentary with Dan Perez Films about music and overcoming obstacles. We are so excited to release this film and believe that viewers will be able to relate to some of our struggles and triumphs.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would definitely take them to Wynwood and Wilton Manors. Both places have so much character and charm, and I know my friends love admiring local artwork and supporting local businesses. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I chose Wilton Manors for obvious reasons, but Wynwood and its colorful murals have an equally special place in my heart. I would also highly recommend that my friends eat at KYU in Miami, home of the best duck breast I’ve ever had in my life!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First and foremost I would like to give a shoutout to my fellow Honeyvoid bandmates: guitarist Ed Tuttle, bassist Jonathan Shriner, and drummer Brett Bell. Without these three individuals I wouldn’t even be able to do this interview. Our ability to work together collaboratively when writing music has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I want to thank each of them for bringing their own musical influences and ideas into the melting pot of rock music that is our unique style. We’ve been able to accomplish so much together in a year and a half and I couldn’t be more proud of the art we have created thus far. I want to acknowledge our fans and fellow artists who have supported us and helped us along the way. Special thanks to Ethan Dangerwing and Alex Bauman, who have been huge supporters and given us multiple opportunities to perform at South Florida venues such as Arts Garage and Respectable Street. Shoutout to Dan Perez of Dan Perez Films, who took an interest in my story as well as Honeyvoid. We worked together on a mini documentary that is set to be released this January. I also want to thank all the photographers that have collaborated with me this past year on artistic projects- especially Mark Grayson, Ulani Sanchez, Sam Keoki, Parker and Glenn Rockenstein, Antoine Fletcher, Liquid Portrait, and others too numerous to mention. It has been a pleasure working with you all!
Other: http://www.honeyvoid.threadless.com http://www.instagram.com/cruel_honey/
Liquid Portrait (@liquidportrait) Ethan Dangerwing (@dangerwingphotography) William Benshimol (@wbenshi69) Dan Perez (@danperezphotography) Dylan Levin (@levindylan)