Sydney Rutherford's Bid for Chart Breakthrough
Published on 31st May 2016
Sydney Rutherford might come across as warm and approachable. But be warned – should you cross the Horsham singer/songwriter, you might end up immortalised in music!
Already, the 22-year-old has written about her experiences of online dating in Don’t Swipe Right. It’s an amusing, expletive-laden ode to ungentlemanly intentions, which apparently struck a chord with many others as it racked up about 12,000 views on social media.
AAH caught up with Sydney as she promotes her new song ‘My God Damn Mind’, soon to be released on iTunes.
When did you start writing songs?
I was only about 10. My first song was about my Aunt Paris, as she was diagnosed with cancer. I wrote a song called The Lullaby.
So you tend to write about personal experiences?
I’ve always written about my life and the people around me. I think that’s the only way to write. You do hear songs all the time with lyrics that you know are not their own, and you can sense that it’s not genuine emotion. I write about things that are important to me. I wrote one song, Heaven Got Lucky Today, in memory of a friend, Daniel Hoare, who died of a heart attack when he was only 18.
Were you a musical child?
I grew up in Australia, on the Sunshine Coast, and they have quite a strong Music curriculum. It was a beautiful place to live and a great upbringing for me. I learnt the guitar, piano, saxophone and flute before coming back to England. I later studied at Worthing College and then Italia Conti, a performing arts school.
Were you performing live at the same time?
Yes, although it wasn’t really until I was at Italia Conti that I started reaching a wider audience. All of the students were represented by an agent, and we were all encouraged to perform. I played mainly at a bar in Piccadilly and whilst I was studying in London I would play as many open mic nights as I could.
When did you release your first record?
My first EP was High, in 2014. That brought about several more opportunities and led to one of my songs, Poison, being played in BBC South’s Introducing section. I then performed at The Oliver Conquest in London at Ella Guru, a music night hosted by Pixie Lott and JoCee.
Would you describe your music as pop?
When I released High EP, the music was stripped back, acoustic songs. I think my latest sound has a touch more R&B. I do like the edgier female singer-songwriters like Lily Allen, as well as divas like Adele, so there’s a range of influences. I also listen to ‘old school’ rappers like Eminem. He inspired me a lot when I was young, even though I probably shouldn’t have been listening to his music! But his lyrics are always so honest and personal.
Much like your songs about online dating?
In terms of video views, Don’t Swipe Right has been my most successful song so far! I think it’s because it’s all about meeting people through Tinder and a lot of people could relate to it!
What is the message?
Don’t Swipe Right is a reference to an online dating App.You see a picture of someone and if you like them, you ‘swipe’ right. If you don’t, you swipe left. I had just been through a break-up and it was my mum who suggested that I use the website to arrange a couple of dates. So I did, and ended up writing about my experiences in a song. Really, it’s just warning people about STDs and the less than honest intentions of some of the men on there.
So you used the men to write songs?
It was a social experiment! I went on 10 dates and a couple were very nice, but most wanted a non-committal relationship, and some of the things they said were incredible.
Your latest song is about relationships as well?
It’s called My God Damn Mind. I wrote it after splitting with my partner, during that awkward stage when you’re thinking about going back to somebody but also remembering all of the negative things that have happened. So I made a video, and in the end, the woman realises that she needs to walk away. There’s a strong message of independence.
The song has some quite lavish production too!
You go into the studio with a basic song on a guitar, and then gradually you start bouncing ideas around and see what works. It’s a really great experience. At the end of the song, I just let loose, changing keys and singing louder and louder. In the end, the producer looped the track over and over again to produce a really big finale.
The days of acoustic music are passing now, aren’t they?
It’s not really enough to sit down with a guitar and write a song anymore. You have to be aware of what you want the song to sound like before stepping foot in the studio. I write on the guitar but the pop sound comes when you add bass, drums and all sorts of different beats.
You filmed a proper video for My God Damn Mind as well?
I arranged that through a friend at Demon Productions and we filmed it in Brighton. It is strange to film a pop video. It was intimidating, as you’re acting really, just pretending to sing. But I enjoyed it.
Is this song your new single?
It will be an album-only track but in July there will be four of my songs released on iTunes. I’m recording songs now at Manor House Studios in Hove and am hoping that my first full album will be completed by December.
Do you have a record deal?
I was hoping to attract a label before the album is completed, or perhaps attract a management company, which is my main aim at the moment. That is why I have put the record out there on YouTube with a proper video, and put my music on Soundcloud as well, to try and reach more people.
So you have to speculate to accumulate?
In a way. You have to force your hand if you’re a young musician now and put yourself out there. It is hard if you don’t go down The X Factor route, which I don’t. You just have to promote your music any way you can, and if you do that enough then maybe something will come along. It won’t just happen for you.
You can watch some of Sydney’s videos on Youtube and her Facebook page. She also has many of her songs available on Soundcloud athttps://soundcloud.com/sydneyrutherford