Ambitious Producer Is The Latest Virginia-Born Visionary
6:00PM ET October 7th, 2010
Contributor : Malcolm Strong
A Rocky Williform Company
Sizzle isn't afraid to stand out from the crowd. A Virginia-born pop auteur hidden in the southern-fried hip hop hotbed of Atlanta, the ambitious, young beatmaker born Vernon Simms is unapologetic in his love of dance pop music and how it informs his eclectic sound. He cites everything from the Neptunes to the Backstreet Boys as an influence and dares the naysayers to listen with open ears.
When did music first become something you seriously considered doing?
I went to college in West Virginia and I played basketball, [but] I realized I wasn't going into the NBA. I needed to find something. I was rapping and I started making beats and then I went from West Virginia to Orlando. I went to music school to learn about mixing and recording arts. That brought me to Atlanta.
How did growing up in Virginia influence your sound?
I think that it influenced my sound because if you listen to Timbaland or the Neptunes, everything they do is different and it's weird. I'm more of a pop-oriented producer, which is different from what you're used to hearing. I don't think there's a specific 'Virginia' sound because people get Virginia twisted. It's a southern state but it's also comparable to the north. You don't know what to expect from someone from Virginia.
What do you think really makes your sound unique?
I decided that my sound was just the type of music I liked. My whole life I liked pop music. I just like to have fun and dance. I like euro-techno, trance and everything like that.
Is it challenging being an innovative pop producer in an 'urban' hip hop environment?
In Atlanta, just like any major music city, a lot of stuff is who you know. With my type of music, you find a lot of people that aren't ready to crossover into that genre. So you have to step into your own realm and find your own artists to work with to get your sound out right now.
At the end of the day what have you enjoyed the most about this journey?
I love making beats. At the end of the day, if I can ride in the car and hear one of my records on the radio, that's my goal. I wanna hear a song that I helped build be on the airwaves.
My mentors are the Outsiders--they produced "Womanizer" for Britney Spears. I remember I met up with them one time and they told me 'You got something, you got potential.' Hearing that from a Grammy-nominated production team was really big for me. I'm also working with DJ Unk, who I looked up to. To be able to work with him on Sizzle-type music, makes me know i have a chance.
What's next for Sizzle?
I'm coming out with a big mixtape. I'm going to open mics, finding the best underground singers and rappers and doing a mixtape with all of my production and featuring those artists. I want to bring a pop scene to the city [of atlanta] and that's what I plan to do in the next year. Follow me on Twitter, at twitter.com/vsizzle.