SYE ELAIN SPENCE
Singer. Songwriter. Artist. New York City based, Sye Elaine Spence has performed at Pianos (New York City), A Showcase of the Mondays Presented by Pepsi at Hard Rock Café (Atlanta), Sofar Sounds (Athens, GA), Creative Mornings (Atlanta), Callanwolde Arts Festival (Atlanta), 500 Songs for Kids at Vinyl (Atlanta) and more. In 2008, she began collaborating with artists and producers in New York City in efforts to begin a career as a professional songwriter. In doing so, her interest in becoming an artist was heightened. After digitally releasing a bevy of songs between 2010 and 2012, ranging from pop-rock to soul; gigging between New York and Atlanta, Spence took a brief step away from music at the end of 2012. “I felt like a hamster in a spinning wheel. I was writing songs, releasing them, making some small buzz and gigging but there was no true fulfillment or purpose behind it. I needed to step back to remember what it is that I was searching for. I needed to feel eight years old again.”This break, which permeated personal realms, resulted in a move just outside of Atlanta, Georgia and a chance meeting with folk multi-instrumentalist, Michael Lesousky. It is with Lesousky that Spence returned to her roots as a writer and a poet. Collaborating for months, choosing scenic and serene locations to create, and the two stumbled upon a simple quiet sound that supported Spence’s simile laden lyrics and hushed vocals. Of the 10 songs written by the pair in spring 2013, four were brought to a quaint pond house in Athens, Georgia to be recorded. The four-track set, Bloom, begins with its title track, featuring a softly-plucked banjo as the sole accompaniment. This instrumental arrangement is constant throughout the EP, continuing into Spence's cover of Bob Marley's 'Is This Love', which recalls the similar GRAMMY-winning 2011 version released on Corinne Bailey Rae's The Love EP. With a delivery that regularly hangs behind the beat, Spence's take on the classic comes across as relaxed and romantic. In contrast, third track 'You' feels more urgent, with the repeated line "I just wanna love you" growing in volume along with the eighth-note banjo counter- melody as the song climaxes. Spence’s most recent two song outfit, Repeat/1964, sustains this very simplistic style of accompaniment while bringing more poetic lyricism to the forefront. Released on May 19th, 2015, Spence partnered with fashion brand, Madewell and their Lenox Square Store for the project’s release event. In the few week’s since its release, ‘Repeat/1964’ has received positive reviews on PopMatters, AfroPunk and PureVolume, with videos for both singles digitally released in summer 2015.