Melbourne based singer-songwriter Sidney Rose shot to the top of the Triple J Unearthed charts earlier this year with her debut single ‘Bullet’, a clever pop bop that highlighted her strong vocals. Having never stepped into a professional studio prior to 2020, she’s been working away on her upcoming single ‘Guarantee’ with producer Ben Oldland – a completely new experience for Rose. She spoke with us about working with a producer for the first time, the unexpected success of ‘Bullet’, and her plans for the rest of the year.
You’ve got a new track coming out soon, ‘Guarantee’. How did that come together?
It was the first professional studio time I had, and I went in with the producer and I had no idea what I was doing, but I’d been writing in my bedroom for ages. So I tried to translate that and see how it would go! The actual song itself, inspiration wise, was about how me and my girlfriends would always talk like “don’t worry, the right guy will come at the right time” and all that kind of stuff. Just guaranteeing things that we truly don’t actually know. I think I was in a spot going “hang on, actually, there’s no guarantee of these things”. It was a pessimistic view of the whole thing. But I think, that feeling is true for a lot of people. So that was the idea I brought to Ben, and we kind of teased that out in the studio and it fell into place really quickly.
How was it for you working with another person for the first time?
It was very daunting because I didn’t know what the etiquette was. I didn’t really know what to expect. But Ben and I are actually friends from many years back, so it was helpful to know him on a personal level, because he was able to encourage me and bring out the best in me. I think any good producer does that anyway. I enjoy collaborating, I think it’s really cool to be able to take very one-dimensional songs of similar chords that you always write in your bedroom, and then have someone bring that into a full song. ‘Guarantee’ is a very full soundscape, it’s not at all what I ever imagined in my head. But as soon as he started going down that track and played it for me, I was blown away at how someone else’s ideas could add onto that and make it into a totally new creation that’s just as amazing.
What are your goals when you’re creating music?
I think at the moment my goals are constantly changing. I think as a new up and coming artist, you have to be quite adaptable, especially in COVID times. My goal is to really experiment with a whole bunch of collaboration projects and sounds to find what it is that I feel best portrays my voice. At the moment I’m still testing out what my sound is. But overall, I think my music has always been about what it makes people feel and the stories or the emotions that it portrays. The overarching goal is always to connect with people and help people relate to certain issues that maybe I’ve gone through or stories of people around me. I just love connecting with people through story.
If you could describe your current sound to a potential listener, what would you say?
I guess I put it into an indie-pop genre because of the production, but it’s definitely more influenced by acoustic singer-songwriter folks. But it sounds nothing like that in the things I’ve released so far! Probably indie-pop is the best way to put it.
If you could have anyone in the world cover ‘Guarantee’, who would you want to do it?
Great question! I would love to hear Lennon Stella – I’m obsessed with her at the moment. Not only because her voice is incredible, but also her alternate versions of covers or even her own songs are always sick, so I’m sure she’d do something really cool with it.
Your debut single ‘Bullet’ did quite well. How did that feel?
I’ve been asked this a lot, it’s kind of weird – I wasn’t expecting it because it wasn’t created in a professional studio. It was just me and my mate mucking around with a song that I’d written about an ex. When it kept going and was a bit successful it kind of felt surreal. I think even now, because it came out during isolation, that’s basically been it. There’s been no proper celebration. It’s just been through Zoom and phone calls. So I don’t think it’s actually sunk in, any of the impacts that it had in regards to audience or success, but I was really pleasantly surprised and very encouraged as a new artist. I think something that I’m very open about in all of my music is anxiety being something I have struggled with. To be putting your music out there that has your heart and so many hours of work to someone else and go “hey, do you like this?”, that’s such a raw and exposing thing to do. You have no clue of how things will go; you can only do so much promotion. It definitely encouraged me to then pursue this and go “hey, maybe there’s something in this!” and for instance, I reached out to Ben to do ‘Guarantee’ and I’m so glad I did.
What are your plans for the rest of the year after ‘Guarantee’ is released?
I have a couple of demos in the mix. I’m currently trying to decide whether to focus on creating more live sets, because once we go back to that, that’s what I want to do. I’ve already played with isolation sessions and have a few more of those live filmed ones lined up. It’s a very different sound to what people can get on my Spotify, unfortunately, so I’m trying to bridge the gap between my live sets and recordings. I think it’ll be a mix of adjusting to whatever the government is telling us to do and just going back into the studio. I’m trying to get a whole bank of demos up to hopefully get an EP out. My goal was to have two releases and an EP by the end of the year before COVID, so I might still try and aim to do that.
How have you found the experience of not playing any live shows yet? It’s pretty non-traditional compared to how artists would usually do it.
Yeah, it’s been odd. I was really glad that I could do a gig with The Isolation Sessions. To have my first full gig fully recorded professionally meant that I could have that forever as a keepsake and also be able to use it for promotion and reaching out to other artists when we do go back to live performances. I think I miss it particularly with all of my music because it’s about connection. I do miss seeing how people react to your stuff and seeing how it impacts. Even when people come up to you and they’re able to say “hey, this particular line in this song really speaks to me”; having to read it off your Instagram page is a very different feeling to having someone else say it to you. As someone who loves that kind of stuff, it has been difficult – but it’s also allowed me to ease into the music industry and into understanding how recording and collaborations and all of that kind of stuff works. So I’m kind of grateful for it, because it’s not been too full-on with live stuff as well as recording.
Are there any artists you’ve been listening to at the moment that you’ve been loving or inspired by?
Yeah, there’s so much good music coming out that I’ve been loving. I think my main one at the moment is AYA YVES. She’s only got two tracks out, but I have been so inspired by the stuff she’s done. Also, like I said before, Lennon Stella – she just put out an alternate version of her album that she released a month ago. I was already obsessed with the album, but then when she released it and played the instruments in the opposite way to what was in the actual track, it just blew my mind. I’ve been playing that on repeat for the last week.