Sydney Wayser was looking for an escape from the drudgery of a dreary New York winter and found it in a fictional land. Her new album, Bell Choir Coast, is the result of her journey to this whimsical place in her imagination. A grown-up departure for the French-American singer/songwriter, who split time growing up in Paris and L.A., Sydney has reconciled a childhood spent in two places by creating a world of her own. When first beginning Bell Choir Coast, listeners are immediately transported to Sydney’s fictional coast, but by the end of the album, they inevitably end up in a world of their own, be it sun-soaked beaches or snow-capped mountains. Uplifting and also introspective, Sydney’s music is just what we need to get through what promises to be another wet, gray winter. Here, the singer that has rocketed to the top of our “Most Played” list answers some of our questions.
Did you always know that you wanted to make music?
Yeah! Writing came naturally and I never had any questions as to whether or not I would play music, it was more a question of when I could get out in the world and start making it professionally.
Which musicians have had the biggest influence on you?
Rufus Wainwright, John Lennon, Feist, Damien Rice, Arcade Fire, Fiona Apple, Joni Mitchell, Serge Gainsbourg, Beck… I guess I’d have to throw a little Tina Turner in there somewhere too. I’ll never forget the late night dance sessions I had as a kid. “What’s Love Got to Do With it?” 80’s Classic!
What do you want people to take away from listening to your songs?
My most recent record, Bell Choir Coast, was written about creating my ideal world. I felt stuck in New York and needed a place to escape to. When people listen to the record, I hope they picture themselves floating in the middle of the ocean, or huddled around a fire with their tribe, or kindred spirits.
Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration comes in all forms. For Bell Choir Coast specifically, it came from the cities, stories, paintings, authors, films, and countries I love the most.
Do you have any exciting plans for the holidays?
I’m actually moving across the country! I’m packing up my van with all my instruments, boxes, books, my whole life basically, and driving it to LA. The plan is to spend New Year’s Eve in Joshua Tree and coast into sunny LA on the first of January.
What is your favorite vintage era?
The 1920s probably, although I am a sucker for Victorian furniture. Mix a little mid century modern in there and a few hats from the 70s, and I’d be set.
What is your favorite place in the world?
Not sure I have just one, but Paris, the Greek Islands, and Los Angeles would definitely make the cut.
First photo via Peter Larson.
All others via Shervin Lainez.