Americana Artist Sara Syms Unveils Sophomore Album – Way Back Home
Americana Artist Sara Syms releases her sophomore album Way Back Home, following the release of her highly acclaimed and IMEA Americana Album of the Year nominated debut album. The new album has already caught the attention of music critics, and I had the chance to sit down with Syms prior to her CD release show in Nashville at Douglas Corner (Oct 9 – 9PM) to talk about her move to Nashville, what music inspires her, and her thoughts on streaming music.
NASHVILLESONGWRITER (NS): You left New York City and moved to Nashville, how has that transition been?
SARA SYMS (SARA): Well, first and foremost, I traded my subway card for a car. That took some getting used to. Both are great music scenes. Very different but always inspiring. Nashville feels a lot more tight knit. There seems to be a lot more collaboration here, even in the sense of putting bills together with like minded musicians and the amount of co-writing that goes on. Also, being a smaller city, you run into the same people around town. Moving here was essentially starting over, but I found musicians here are quick to help each other out and offer support. I’ve met so many wonderful people already, and each person is more talented than the next. It’s incredible to play with such dynamite musicians.
NS: Can you share a few of your favorite venues to play and check out new Americana music in both cities?
SARA: Fave spots to play in NYC are Rockwood, The Living Room, Pete’s Candy Store, and former venues Rodeo Bar and Banjo Jims. Just starting to sink my teeth into Nashville, but every venue seems to be more epic than the next. Favorite spot I’ve played here to date has definitely been Music City Roots at Loveless Barn. I’ve recently been to the relocated spot at The Factory in Franklin and hopefully looking forward to playing there sometime in the near future. The Basement is pretty incredible and the sound is fantastic. Some of my favorite artists in NYC have since relocated to Nashville, including Caitlin Canty, Michaela Anne and The Wild Hearts and Barnaby Bright. Everyday in Nashville is like being a kid in a candy store as far as discovering new artists, but a couple highlights for me are Sam Lewis, Rayland Baxter, Chris Stapleton and Smooth Hound Smith.
NS: What is the best show you’ve ever seen?
SARA: Buddy Miller, Emmylou Harris, Shawn Colvin and Patty Griffin. Together on one stage, harmonizing with each other, playing each others songs. I thought my heart was going to explode. That and a low key backyard concert with the members of Smashing Pumpkins.
NS: What is your favorite thing about the Nashville music scene?
SARA: Might be easier to ask me what I don’t like about living here in Nashville. It’s insane. After almost moving here so many times over the years, I’m constantly asking myself, why did you wait so long?
NS: What music are you currently listening to?
SARA: I find myself discovering new talent daily. Avid listener of Lightning 100 and constantly out on the town checking out new music. That said, I am a sucker for anything new wave, love me some Depeche Mode, Lucinda Williams, Ryan Adams, Townes Van Zandt, Neko Case, First Aid Kit, Striking Matches, Kaleo, Lera Lynn, and my guilty pleasure would have to be Paramore. 🙂
NS: Who would you love to collaborate with?
SARA: It would truly be a dream to have the chance to collaborate with Buddy Miller. That man is legend. I am such a huge fan of his and was lucky enough to meet him my first weekend after moving to Nashville. Also, a collaboration with Hozier would most definitely not suck. 🙂
NS: What are your plans for the rest of 2015?
SARA: I’ve been playing a great deal around town, a couple out of town mini tours including my first time down in New Orleans showcasing at The Cutting Edge Music Conference. I can’t wait to share this music with the world and look forward to the next couple months of touring in support of the album. Fall is my favorite time of year and how lucky I feel to release something I’ve worked so hard on in the midst of it all. What is the biggest challenge you face as an independent artist? Keeping on top of everything. Finding the financial means to push forward. Knowing that there are more musicians than air particles out there and keeping focused on your game plan instead of comparing yourself to others. Enjoying the journey and not worrying about all the checkpoints. Having to always answer the question of “why don’t you just try out for american idol or the voice?” The introduction of reality show mayhem I feel is in a way sending a message out that anyone and everyone should be out there trying to “make it” and that success happens overnight. It’s a skewed perspective and understanding of the hard work and duration that goes into the day to day life of an artist.
NS: What are your thoughts on streaming music?
SARA: I am all for music discovery. It gets otherwise unknown artists a chance to be heard. But I do believe the artist should be fairly compensated. I am still a huge fan of albums and try and support as best I can local artists by buying a cd, recommending my network checks them out, anything I can do to pay it forward as I would appreciate the same from others.
NS: Where can we see you play next?
SARA: I’m playing tonight at Douglas Corner in Nashville, 9PM. Opening guests Vina and Robbie Hecht.
For more information about Sara Syms, visit www.sarasyms.com.