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Singer-songwriter Syd's Brief But Spectacular Take on her path to being an artist
Judy Woodruff: Singer/songwriter Syd is one of the pioneering and most prominent voices to sing about same-sex relationships in R&B music.
Tonight, she offers her Brief But Spectacular take on her path to being an artist.
Syd, Singer/Songwriter: I produced my first song in my bedroom. I was 16. Finishing that song was fulfilling in a way that nothing else is. And I guess that's why I still make music.
My mom, I think, had a huge influence on my tastes in music, as did my dad. His brother is a reggae producer. I guess I grew up knowing that that was possible as a career choice. I got to grow up in a household where I never got a noise complaint.
Syd: Everything I wanted to do musically, personally, I was able to do at home and with them.
The first instrument I grew up playing was piano. I'd say my computer is my perfect instrument. Pro Tools, Ableton, Logic, there's something about engineering that I can always come back to and reinvent for myself.
The most powerful thing about producing and writing your own music is knowing that no one else could make that. It's impossible. I didn't grow up performing for people. I didn't grow up singing. So, every time I'm getting ready to plan a tour, that's me truly having to step outside of myself.
Music motivates me and inspires me more than anything else. It's like chasing a high of some sort.
I don't listen to music every day. There are times and phases where I drive in silence. There are times when I'm low, and I need to stay there. And I know that I'm going to get out of it. And, in those times, I don't look to music for help. Because I love music so much, I don't want to associate it with depression or sadness.
I think every artist, every musician may go through a time where they feel like they need to work and work and work. Some of us are able to work that way and be productive. And then some of us, me, don't get the best of ourselves.
And so I tend to work on music when I really, really want to, not when I feel like I have to. When I am finally making the music, the process is usually really quick and really simple. And I don't like to overthink it and I don't like to overdo it. I try to have everything come naturally, as natural as possible. It's the best way for me.
I'm Syd, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on being an artist.
Judy Woodruff: And you can watch more Brief But Spectacular videos at PBS.org/NewsHour/Brief.