Distorted synths whirr and glow into existence. Quiet. Then prowling vocals, followed by a sticky, languid R&B bassline kicking in. It can only be the latest track from promising LA-hailed newcomer Syd B.
At only 22, this is an artist navigating the intricacies of relationships, friendships and adulthood with a complexity way beyond her years – something not lost on her swiftly growing fanbase. Ever since her self-assured debut back in 2018, Syd B has been making waves with releases such as “Water Me” and “december”, all simmering production and hooky melodies – bolstered by themes of female empowerment. It’s music for the after-party. Like a hazy curl of smoke enveloping your senses.
And her brand new track, “Lights On”, out today, is an impressive reminder that she is not to be slept on – 2020 is very much her year. The artist asserts with a bite: “I’m doing good on my own babe / I do not need to be saved.” We feel you.
We caught up with the artist below and talked about choosing herself and making “bad bitch’ music…
Who did you listen to growing up?
My mom always had Marvin Gaye, James Taylor, Norah Jones, and Bill Withers playing in the house. At the time I thought it was annoying because I wanted the Jonas Brothers on, but now I thank her daily. She knew what was up and that I’d be grateful later on.
Where do you get your inspirations from?
I get a lot of inspiration from watching interviews, actually. I’ve learned so much by seeing how other people work and think. But mostly just from living my life! Traveling often, listening to music out of my own sphere, fashion is a huge inspiration for me, exploring different visual art. I think for the past couple years I was trying really hard to find inspiration and be inspired. And then I would go out and experience life without being present because I was trying too hard. When you try too hard the art that comes out of you isn’t genuine.
How have your influences changed since you first started making music?
When I first started making music I really wanted to be in the EDM scene, actually. Dance music was, and still is, so captivating. But I knew that my songwriting ability flourished in a different sphere. I took it back to my roots but brought inspiration from new artists that I was listening to for reference. My influences are ever-changing. Especially with technology where you can go back in time with music.
You’re dropping your single “Lights On” – will you tell me what it’s about?
This song is about making the decision to lose a companion, and recommitting to myself. I think commitments to yourself are made and renewed yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily. It’s all so blurry when you love and care for someone, but setting boundaries should feel like growing pains, not like attacks. As women we are told that the kindness is all to aspire to in a partner. If someone is seemingly “good to you” you’re greedy to ask for more. You do not need permission to choose yourself.