Some emotions simply need to be sung rather than spoken. From behind the piano or with a guitar in hand, Sydney Rose uncages raw emotion wrapped in soft delivery. The 18-year-old Georgia singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist conveys complicated feelings with unfiltered soul and an acute understanding that belies her age. Over sparse soundscapes punctuated by cathartic performances you can’t help but feel, she directly confronts confusion, anxiety, loneliness, and sadness through a sensitivity relatable at any stage of life, distinguishing her as a quietly identifiable voice. After generating tens of millions of streams and landing a deal with Public Consumption, she forges a lasting connection on her debut EP, You Never Met Me.
“If it’s hard for me to get an emotion or a point across, it can often be sung as lyrics instead,” she reveals. “I really love connecting with people emotionally. Human connection is nice, because it makes you feel like you’re not alone.”
Hailing from a small town outside of Atlanta, Sydney found her voice at a young age. She performed in church youth band, joined chorus during school, and participated in theater. Her tastes ran the gamut from lo-fi favorites such as Dodie, Cavetown, and Conan Gray to her “favorite artist” Phoebe Bridgers, Bon Iver, The 1975, and Daughter. She picked up a ukulele before taking piano lessons and eventually teaching herself how to play guitar. At the onset of the pandemic, she immersed herself in songwriting and launched a TikTok page. Her cover of “Home” by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros bubbled up, while her take on Sleeping At Last’s “Turning Page,” which she produced, exploded, amassing over 30 million global streams and counting. She cultivated her signature style with original singles such as “idk what i did” and “Skydive.” Signing to Public Consumption, she paved a path for the EP with “Phoebe Told Me” and “Things That Don’t Exist” [feat. Zachary Knowles]. Meanwhile, “I’ll Never Get Over It” earned a “like” on social media from Olivia Rodrigo and praise from Sweety High who applauded her “gorgeously delicate voice.”
On the single “Cutting Corners,” acoustic guitar creaks in the background as airy drums thump and piano glistens. Her vocals glide towards a hypnotic refrain as she admits, “I know I’d be cutting corners. I just can’t see me moving forward.”
“It’s about wanting to skip the bad parts of your life and not having to deal with them,” she says. “I was definitely opening up about my problems with mental health.”
Then, there’s the vivid opener “Cellophane.” Her vocals echo over a soft bass line as she promises to “wrap my heart in cellophane so I don’t make a mess.”
“I had a phase in my life where I had no idea of what I was,” she goes on. “I was trying to put all of these labels on myself like, ‘This is me. I’m a Virgo. This is my personality type’. So, I wrote all of these metaphors about how you don’t really know yourself. When you meet someone in this state, the other person isn’t meeting the real you, because you don’t know yourself that much.”
“we don’t talk anymore” hinges on lithely strummed acoustic guitar and an airy drone as she bemoans, “Conversations of living together turned into me asking, ‘How is she?’”
“It’s one of the first songs I ever wrote,” she recalls. “At the time, I was talking to someone over the phone long distance. It’s where the chorus comes from. We literally don’t talk anymore, but if this person were to call me back, I’d definitely answer the phone.”
In the end, it’s these kinds of moments that are best sung for Sydney, and you’ll undoubtedly feel them.
“I hope this is something people can connect to,” she leaves off. “I’m so passionate about the music I love. If even one person feels the same way about what I’m doing, that would be amazing.”