state of the art: sye elaine spence
“I want to add beauty to someone’s life, whatever time of day they are listening, whether its for five minutes or an hour.”
Sye Spence is an Atlanta based singer song writer who got her start writing poetry when she was just a kid. As an only child with lots of deep emotions poetry was an outlet for Sye, even more so, a friend. She would find herself tinkering with the keyboard and jotting down poems while sitting in class. What began as poetry and writing has lead to Sye marrying the two into the beautiful music she creates today.
“I think I’m staring to come full circle now, a lot of my lyrics are starting to feel much more poetic, a big part of who I am creatively. I see myself as a lyricist first and then a vocalist. Vocals have been a work in progress my whole life, I think I’m finally at a place where I feel like I’ve found my voice. Stripped down simplicity feels more like me, feels really pure. Having a sense of identity for me is the first step.”
She describes her music as a combination of folk, blues, and soul, with an influence of jazz. Though Sye has found her sound, her voice, she is still always looking within to who she is as an artist and as a person. Her new project is very simple and vocal centric. She describes it as dramatic but still tasteful and sweet.
“I’m evolving as a human being and the writing is more in depth with story telling and poetry."
"Most of the lyrics are poems I wrote… I like to treat what I do as an art piece, be unique and tell a story about me, always having my identify at the forefront but still becoming something new and something interesting in itself.”
When writing, Sye likes to set aside a specific time in her life. A lot of times she will cut off her social life and isolate herself in her home, get quiet and become in tune with herself. It’s a time she can enjoy away from all of the the distractions.
“When I write poetry I’m fearless; when I write songs I think about being charming and the format. But I think I got to the place where I wasn’t trying to sound pretty or even think about it. It’s a part of the process to push myself out and to be open to receive it. I feel like it’s from the heavens and I’m just a vessel, its like a gift.”
Sye believes she does her best work when she isn’t thinking about it; when the writing goes straight from her brain to the paper. She says that it is almost like a prayer, taking her deepest and most precious thoughts and feelings and putting them in a place of vulnerability.
While writing might come from removing herself, other aspects of the music industry have forced Sye to be more intentional. Sye claims the hardest part is to stay as inspired as she was in the beginning.
“(When) people like it, when people are talking about what you're doing, it's so easy to just continue in that. (The hardest part is) stepping back and always still being that person I was two years ago when nobody was talking about me and trying to do something interesting and unplugging myself from it all.”
Sye believes one of the keys to this is to create without worrying what the outcome is. She strives for inspiration over recognition and is always making sure that she is being true to who she is and letting herself evolve. To choose not to do what is easy but what creates inspiration.
“I’ve even had to end business relations because people see what’s getting you attention and want you to just do that. Even if that means I have to stay where I am now at a recognition stand point. I want to be happy. That’s really what counts.”
At the end of a long day when Sye becomes discouraged her fans are the ones that keep her going. She recently received a Facebook message from a young man who had seen her work and was inspired to pursue his dreams because of it.
“When days are tough I can never say I’m not doing this anymore, because this is why I’m doing it. To inspire."
Check out more photos from my time with Sye here.
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