Thursday, January 8, 2015

Honorary Ambassador Interview: Singer Songwriter Sydney Riley

Q: Tell us about your background and childhood.

A: I was born in Barrie and moved to Wasaga Beach when I was 3 years old. I enjoyed annual camping trips since as long as I can remember. During those camping trips, my dad and a couple of our family friends would play guitar and sing songs around the campfire. Those are some of my earliest memories involving music.

Throughout school, I was very shy and angry. I remember having only a few close friends all through elementary school and even high school. During grade 11, I decided to join a vocal class after a year of playing guitar. After that I cracked out of my shell and began making more friends and practiced singing and playing as much as I could. During this summer, I began going to open mics at bars and have been enjoying performing so much.

Q: When did you fall in love with music?

A: I think it was when I first picked up the clarinet in grade 7. I played that instrument nonstop until I learned all the notes and all the rhythms. I’m pleased to say my teacher was very impressed!

Q: What is your definition of the perfect holiday?

A: Relaxing at a cottage or even camping is fine by me, as long as I’m with people I love!

Q:  How does spirituality fit into your creative life?

A: I’m not a particularly spiritual person, so my creativity is driven by mood and nothing else.

Q: Give us one word to describe what you do.

A: Create. I’m not just a musician – I write, paint, draw, and am obsessed with makeup. Anything I can do to express myself or have other people feel like their feeling are valid, I’ll do it.

Q:  How would you define your fashion style?

A: I really like mixing over-the-top runway fashion with casual wear. I’ll wear anything from a jumpsuit with small elephants on it to a modest dress with killer heels.

Q:  Is your family supportive of your chosen artistic path?

A: Absolutely. My parents come to my gigs all the time! They’re my biggest fans!

Q:  We understand you are part of Local Live? What’s this all about?

A: Local Live is a Local Rogers competition show designed for the songwriters of Simcoe County to show their talents to four highly successful judges. It’s not exactly the same as any other talent contest since we’re all doing our own original songs.
Local Live season five airs January 11th at 9:00pm on your local Rogers station.

Q:  Coffee or Tea?

A: I like both! Sweet tea or strong coffee are both great!

Q: What is the perfect cake?

A: Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!!

Q:  What kind of food do you crave?

A: I have a sweet tooth – anything with sugar in it, I’m in.

Q: Any beauty secrets?

A: Moisturize!

Q:  Do you work better during the day or at night?

A: Definitely at night. I’ll wake up at 3am in the morning with an idea for a guitar riff or something, and I’ll write it down immediately before going back to sleep.

Q: What comes first – the words or the music?

A: It really depends on the song. A lot of my songs are very lyric-based, and normally you can tell which one started with the lyrics and which one started with the music. My lyrically-driven songs are simpler musically, whether it be a modest chord progression or a very ambient sound, whereas riff-driven songs are most likely faster and more likely to get your head bopping without focusing too much on the meaning.

Q:  Have you ever traveled for music?

A: So far, the farthest I’ve travelled was to Penetang to perform at my friend’s school. So not too far.

Q:  You are a Busker!  When?  Where?

A: I am! I have a facebook page that I update to say when and where I’ll be playing. Normally I’ll start as soon as I can get my permit and am able to play without my fingers freezing.

Q:  Are you available for performance bookings?

A: Absolutely! Give me a shout via facebook or any other social media site and I’d be happy to perform.

Q: What would be your ‘Pirate’ name?

A: Syd the Squid. That’s piratey enough, right? Haha!

Q: You are a ‘Beacher’ living on the world’s longest freshwater beach. How did you get there?

A: I’ve been living in the beach since I was three. We moved from Barrie. I love it here, how it can be a small town during the winter months, but as soon as summer hits, it turns into its own city!

Q:  What advice would you give to young aspiring Artists?

A: Don’t talk yourself out of it! I’ve missed some great opportunities because I was too scared to get out there. Don’t be afraid to be yourself!

Q:  Who are your music business mentors?

A: For the past two years I’ve been going to a music camp in the summer called IMC – Interprovincial Music Camp. There, I met singer/songwriter Rob Lamothe who has high hopes for me. So that’s who I mainly look up to.

Q: Favorite musicians?

A: This is going to be a long list! I grew up listening to classic rock bands, mainly The Who and Led Zeppelin. As I’ve grown older I have branched out of general rock music and into folk, pop, and even some bluegrass. The Decemberists are a huge influence on my style, as well as Breaking Benjamin and a pop-punk band called Envy on the Coast.

Q:  Favorite book?

A: I’m a huge fan of the A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Q:  Favorite movie?

A: Mean Girls – classic girl’s night movie!

Q:  How would you describe your music?

A: I’d say it’s a mix of acoustic rock and folk, with a hard rock influence on my lyrics.

Q:  Where can people buy your songs?

A: All of my songs are up on SoundCloud, downloadable for free.

Q: What instruments do you play?

A: I play guitar, clarinet, bass clarinet, piano and a small amount of trumpet.

Q:  Dogs or Cats?

A: Cats!

Q:  What is a typical day like for you?

A: I get up, work, and if I have free time, I’ll practice my songs. Not too interesting, I know!

Q: What is your studio like?

A: My studio is in my tiny bedroom, so to save space it consists of a Yamaha MIDI keyboard for any instruments I don’t have at hand, a C1 Steinberg music interface, a Shure SM57 mic for instruments and vocal tracks, and a lot of patch chords! The program I use is Sequel 3 which is a pretty basic program. I want to eventually start using ProTools, but I don’t have the money for that right now haha!

Q: Where do you see your music career in 5 years?

A: I have no clue! I just want to be happy and loved. That’s good enough for me. I’d love to be playing music for people who are there to see me though.

Q:  Are you social?  Where can we find you? (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube etc.)

A: Yep! My facebook page is just ‘Sydney Riley’ – shouldn’t be hard to find.

Q: Do you spend much time at the beach?

A: I go for walks down there just as it starts to warm up, but not quite when the tourists get here. It’s beautiful.

Q: What is your favorite food group?

A: Fruit are great!

Q:  Who are your favorite Bloggers, Instagrammers?

A: My friend showed me a blog on tumblr the other day called ‘deshommesetdeschatons’. It’s basically a bunch of kittens reenacting male model photos. It’s hilarious.

Q:  Do you watch TV?

A: I do, but I basically just switch between watching 2Broke Girls and Game of Thrones!

Q: How would you describe Canada?

A: Free, fresh, kind. I’m lucky to live here for sure.

Q: Do you have a manifesto or beloved quote that you live by?

A: I’ve always liked the quote “Be who you are and say what you feel because people who mind don’t matter and people who matter don’t mind” .

Q: What has been your proudest achievement?

A: Surviving high school with two awards!

Q: Where do you shop in Wasaga Beach?

A: I used to go to a store called Dusk, but they moved to Toronto quite a few years ago. Other than that, I don’t really have any stores that I consistently visit.

Q:  Where is your favorite restaurant in the beach?

A: Boston Pizza – my best friend works there, so it’s always fun to go

Q: What is your favorite street in town?

A: Wasaga Sands Drive is always a pretty drive. In the winter I used to toboggan down one of the big hills there, before someone bought the property!

Q: Do you have any other hobbies?

A: I paint, draw, and occasionally write. I love being creative.

Q: Favorite award shows?

A: Anything Jennifer Lawrence attends!

Q: What are you looking forward to?

A:I’m looking forward to seeing where my favourite pastime takes me. I love performing so much, I don’t think I’d be able to stop.

Q: What is Wasaga Beach’s best-kept secret?

A: There’s a little bridge on the Carly Patterson trail by Worsley Elementary that has the most picturesque scene. I love going there and just listening to the little river and the leaves brustling. It’s really something else.

Q:  What are your websites?

Q: Favorite meal?

A: I’m gonna be like every other teenager I know and say pizza!

Q: Describe the absolute perfect day?

A: Not sure. I like to go with the flow instead of planning. I like being around people I’m comfortable with, so a day hanging out with my friends is good enough for me!

Q: How many hours a day do you spend online?

A: Too many, I know that much.

Q: In 5 words describe your creative work.

A: quick, staggered, focused, experimental, and thoughtful.

Q:  If you were about to host a dinner party, which living 10 people would you invite and why?

1: Jared Leto because I’m pretty sure he’s the most talented man in the world and I’d love to pick his brain.
2: Dave Grohl because he’s my absolute hero.
3: Taylor Momsen, one of my inspirations.

Thank You Sydney! (By the way, your Pirate name is killer.)

Canadian Singer Songwriter Sydney Riley:





Here she is in
(Go all the way to the bottom)
Patti Friday, Photojourno, reporting from inside 'The Art Dept.' at the international 'Embassy of Ideas'. Reading. Listening. Learning. Improving. Hanging out with successful people. Photographer. Pirate. Bubby. CANADA @pattifriday

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a awesome read. Thanks Sydney for sharing a piece of you!!! What amazing pictures, so photographic.

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