Earlier this week, we had the chance to chat with Sydney Leigh, an emerging pop artist who made her way onto our radar. Though Leigh is only fifteen, she is already making a name for herself with an amazing combination of vocal and writing talents.
Originally from the small town of Lake Orion, MI, Leigh balances her musical aspirations with the life of a normal teen — honors classes, learning a second language, and of course making time for friends and family. Over the course of the interview, we learned a lot about Leigh and the path that brought her to where she is today.
Sean Elliot: Would you say that becoming a musician is your dream or aspiration in life?
Sydney Leigh: Yes, absolutely. I have never had a moment where music hasn’t been at the center of my life. I started taking vocal lessons when I was 5 and have loved it ever since.
Sean Elliot: Has it always been that way for you?
Sydney Leigh: I started writing my own music when I was 10 and that is when I knew being a musician was all I wanted to do. I have never thought about something in my life I would want to be doing other than writing and making music.
Sean Elliot: Do you see yourself more as a performer or a writer, or both?
Sydney Leigh: Definitely both, writing is where I can put my emotions into a song, and write something I am proud of sharing. Performing on the other hand is way more fun, I get to share something I am proud of and have fun doing it.
Sean Elliot: How did you go from taking lessons and writing some of your own music to getting connected with people in the industry and recording your EP in Los Angeles?
Sydney Leigh: I posted videos on YouTube and was scouted by a well connected person in the music industry. From there he helped me by setting up a meeting with a music industry mogul who was able to help me meet the producers I worked with (Nolan Lambroza/Steve Daly) and with co-writers, photographers, and video directors.
Sean Elliot: What was your reaction when they contacted you?
Sydney Leigh: It’s funny because at first I almost deleted the direct message that was sent to my YouTube account. When you have a YouTube account you will receive a lot of spam and people saying that they want to work with you, or can help you “make it”. When I saw this email me and my mom were very timid and apprehensive because we didn’t know who it was or what their real motives were. After several months of talking and finding out what great people they are we were very excited to work with them!
Sean Elliot: Let’s talk music. In Crazy Beautiful, there are a lot of references to light/dark — is there a reason behind this and what was your inspiration for the song?
Sydney Leigh: For “Crazy Beautiful” I wanted to write a song that related to my age group and was fun to listen to but had more to it than just the track. When writing the lyrics me and my co-writer thought about real life experiences in my everyday life and wanted to focus on inspiring people to be confident in who they are. The reference to “light/dark” was a way to use imagery to allow the listener to think of something that would normally be viewed as an opposite like “good times/bad times” and showed how the two can relate to each other and good can come out of bad situations.
Sean Elliot: What was it like shooting the video?
Sydney Leigh: Shooting the music video was so much fun! It was my first real experience of shooting a video. When I was on set it was very surreal because there were tons and tons of people on a set at 2 in the morning just for me and my music. The video was shot for 20 hours straight, it was a lot of work but definitely worth it, especially when it started raining
Sean Elliot: That’s crazy! Pretty legit!
Sydney Leigh: Yes! It was very fun!
Sean Elliot: Wrong Way Home is completely different than the other three songs — how did this happen? What was your inspiration?
Sydney Leigh: Wrong Way Home is my favorite song off of the EP, mostly because I am such a sucker for ballads. The EP was very pop, which I love, but a more stripped down powerful song is always my favorite. It’s ironic because I have never actually been in a relationship before so when I was writing this song and recording it I was definitely playing more of a “role”.
Sean Elliot: I definitely agree — it’s a much more powerful song, both because of the piano and the lyrics.
Sean Elliot: Who are some artists that have inspired you?
Sydney Leigh: Christina Aguilera is the reason I started singing, she is my favorite artist of all time. I always mention her but I truly love all of her music! I even know all the lyrics to her Spanish music