Sensational Sydney

Up-and-coming artist shares singing, songwriting experience

By Kailey Bergstedt, Photo and Castoff Editor

Sitting cross-legged on her bedroom floor, junior Sydney Hoyl hums a few notes to herself, ironing out the melody for one of the 10 new songs she is currently working on. Hoyl, who writes and records songs under the name Sydney Sherrill, has already put out two original songs earlier this year, “Morning Regrets” and “Vice.”

“Vice,” her second single, is an upbeat, dance song that took only hours to write and was inspired by her older brother’s struggle with addiction, whereas “Morning Regrets” took over a month to write and followed a much less linear process.

“I just started with a hook for the chorus and built off of that, but throughout the process, I ended up changing the chords of the song completely,” Hoyl said.

After writing lyrics, Hoyl sends a voice memo of her singing the song acapella, the lyrics and structure of the song to her band, who will then build a track for it.

Members of this band have worked with stars like Garth Brooks, Amy Grant, Nick Jonas and Willie Nelson. Hoyl also has the help and support of her vocal coach and producer, Kim Wood Sandusky.

“The most unique thing about Sydney is her incredible vocal talent,” Sandusky said. “I have pushed her into very high level working environments like I do with my major artists, and she has stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of   the park.”

As a big name in the music industry, Sandusky has worked with artists like Destiny’s Child and Beyoncé. Although she does work with many unsigned artists under 18 years old, they must be of a certain caliber.

“I am very impressed by Sydney’s drive and perseverance, which are essential qualities for the artists I work with,” Sandusky said.

Hoyl recorded both songs at Blackbird Studios in Nashville, flying out every chance she got.

“I have been going there since freshman year and can honestly not think of a long weekend where I have not been out there working,” she said.

Since releasing these songs, Hoyl has performed at Opening Bell Coffee and hosted a benefit concert. The concert, which also served as a release party for “Vice,” raised over $5,000 for an addiction nonprofit called Shatterproof. The organization aims to end the addiction crisis the United States faces.

Hoyl’s love of music and performing stems from her foundation in musical theater.

“Writing songs has given me the opportunity to express myself in a way that musical theater only gave me a taste of,” Hoyl said.

Hoyl’s parents have had a front-row seat to her success, from seeing her participate in a musical to hosting her own benefit concert.

“It was amazing to see all her work over the last three years come to life on stage,” Kristi Hoyl, Sydney’s mother, said. “She has found her passion and it shows.”

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