Where are you currently based?
I’m a Melbourne gal, through and through!
How did you first start playing music?
I come from a very musical family and we were all avid church goers growing up; when you combine the two you get many family jams, harmonies galore and a pretty good sense of rhythm (my Mother and brother are both drummers – I do not carry their skillset). My other hugely fond memory surrounding music when I was younger was playing my grandparent’s upright piano next to their bedroom as my grandfather fell asleep. It became a nightly ritual whenever my brother or I were staying down at their place in Lake Tyers. That’s actually where my artist name comes from – my grandfather’s name was Sydney. So that is where ‘Sidney’ was born.
What’s been happening recently?
Great question, it’s all been a bit of a blur actually! Life is pretty busy I have to say. We’ve been on a tight release schedule since June, so preparation for each release has consumed a lot of my creative mind (I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way), I’ve also recently stepped into the role of director and producer for a shoot we did for Mental Health Day which was a challenge but insanely rewarding. It was about a month ago now but I also just came off my first national tour Supporting Harrison Storm which was SUCH an enriching experience – I swear I now have the ‘tour bug’ and want to get on another as soon as possible! On the flipside, away from music, I’ve been spending a great deal of time with mates and family, spending way too much money at Matilda Cafe (I’m currently there as I’m writing this) and patting every dog that comes within a 1km radius.
Your debut EP ‘Imposter’ will be out on October 7, how does it feel to release your first EP?
WILD. That is the only way I can describe it. Ironically, I feel a lot of imposter syndrome about it – like who, me? Putting out real music in the industry? Surely not.
Although, mostly I’m just ready. It’s been such a long time coming and I’m immensely proud of this lil’ project that was birthed in lockdown. I NEVER would have predicted how far it would have come in the past two years – or the amount of people who would become genuine supporters of these songs that I wrote in my bedroom or on the floor of Ben Oldland’s studio, baring my heart and being incredibly honest. It’s surreal and I keep having to remind myself that it’s a privilege that I get to do this! People connect to music in such a unique way, different from day to day conversations, and I love that I get to journey with people; sometimes I will never see the impact a song I have written has on someone’s life, but the fact I get to do that in the first place is crazy and brings my heart so so much joy. Even if one person feels less isolated in their most vulnerable, anxious thoughts because a random singer from Melbourne, Australia sang that she had them too, then I’ve done my job.
This EP is tying up the last couple of years of heartbreak in a neat little package and saying “here you go – it’s time for these stories to be yours too xx”
What influenced the sound and songwriting?
Oh, SO many different artists and things! Too many to list.
Some major artist influences of the overall EP were Lennon Stella and Sasha Alex Sloan. However, each track has its own set of specific ones. Theme wise, the majority of the tracks in this EP were centred around my processing of a particular heartbreak that occurred at the end of 2020 – in between lockdowns. ‘NICE GUY’ was my attempt at being spiteful and sassy (the angry stage), but I came back in the studio the next day and said to Ben ‘nope, I can’t do it, I am just so utterly broken about it still’ and that is how ‘Tried’ was born.
‘Imposter’ was then the final impact of that heartbreak on my mental health and sense of self. I could go on, but I mostly want people to interpret the EP and relate it to their own experiences, so I’ll leave you with that.
How did you go about writing this EP?
Most of the songs began with a chorus or melodic idea that I would have in my bedroom and then brought them into Ben Oldland where we fleshed out the ideas more and turned the EP into the songs as you hear them now. I love including Ben in the writing, however some songs have more of his hand in them than others. The writing process mostly happened towards the start of 2021 with a few outliers that were written towards the middle of 2020.
Where and when did you record/produce/master and who with?
Ben Oldland. He is a gem and a creative genius. We worked together on this EP from start to finish and it would not be the same without him! All production was Ben and mastering was Nick from Panorama Mastering. So grateful to have this crew backing the project!
How did you approach the recording process?
We created most of the songs as demos first when we fleshed out the writing ideas and then came back into the studio to create the final versions a few months after that. Guarantee was the only outlier. It’s actually a funny story looking back with Guarantee, as I’d never worked in a studio before, never written in a co-writing session and merely asked Ben if he would be willing to do one with me so I could learn. I nervously brought in my melodic ideas and the song title/concept, showed him and by the next day he had created the entire soundboard that is now the track and by the end of that week we had this insane song that we were both so taken aback by. It felt like a beautiful accident and it was the beginning of our creative pairing!
Please tell us about the connection between mental illness and the writing of your music:
Wow, tough question. It influences pretty much everything I create for my own project. From the experiences I write about – like ‘Imposter’ being about the time I had a panic attack and felt silly for relapsing – all the way through to the way that I write. The days when I’m being super critical and anxious, I find it hard to write because I become insanely perfectionistic and it becomes really unhealthy. However, there are days where writing music helps me to process all of the whirring thoughts in my head and create some order, creating something beautiful and satisfying. Overall, people seem to relate to my songs that lean into exposing some of the most raw thoughts I have, the jealous thoughts, the insecure thoughts, the self destructive ones, because I think it’s just so common. The thing I try to be careful about though, is not voicing them to bring people down but rather to talk about those times, bring it into the light and show people that despite it, I’m still able to move past them and dream from more. A number of years ago, I was so suffocated by my depression that I was bed ridden for 8 months and dropped out of school. It’s been a huge journey and it’s a long story, but it’s one that makes my journey into music and this project sweeter than ever. I figure that when you hit rock bottom, and you lose all sense of dreaming for things, that when you get that back – what have you got to lose? The music industry can be incredibly destructive for those who struggle with mental illness, but my struggles with mental illness have shaped my perspective to be one of ‘what have I got to lose?’ and ‘I want to share my stories with people and inspire them to pursue their own dreams so that the struggle wasn’t all for nothing’
I’m grateful for the journey. Despite it being something I don’t wish upon anyone.
You’ve just finished touring Australia with Harrison Storm, what did you most enjoy and what did you find most challenging?
I LOVED being able to connect with new audiences and do something that felt impossible. That’s the funny thing about anxiety is it can try to convince you that something isn’t achievable and each day I do that thing, I’m telling it to shove it. So I loved being able to do the thing that scared me! (Not to mention, navigating my first tour whilst the tour manager got Covid on day 1! )
I guess that covers both the challenging and the enjoyable things! Plus Harrison is just such a wholesome, humble human and I was so grateful to have him be the first artist I tour with. He was so encouraging and listening to him play each night was a dream.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
I’ve been loving Kat Edwards recent EP! She is a gun songwriter. Also, I’ve actually been listening to a lot of live music more than ever, so seeing Phoebe Go play live left me speechless.
What do you like to do away from music?
I am a sucker for coffee catch ups with friends. Cute aesthetic cafes and great chats fill my soul, so I try to prioritise them as much as possible! Also, I’ve recently been loving reading a good book in the sun on my front porch.
What’s planned for the remainder of 2022 going into 2023?
Well, anyone who knows me – including my manager Lauren – knows I struggle to use a diary or plan past a day or two. So, I’m honestly not entirely sure! We’ve got a whole timeline going for releases that are coming up, including a live EP (spoilers) that we recorded at Sing Sing studios in partnership with Fender and I’m playing a number of weddings across the summer as well. There are some really exciting gigs coming up too that I’m not yet able to share about! Ideally, I’ll keep working on writing for both this project and for other artists as well and we will see where the wind takes me!
Favourite food and place to hangout?
Gosh, picking one will be the death of me.
Mr Hendricks (delicious coffee)
Matilda Cafe (delicious coffee and french cafe vibes)
Earthly Pleasures Cafe (old school Europe vibes but far away)
Those are my top 3 currently!