The Musician Spotlight Series shines a light on up-and-coming bands and solo acts creating heartfelt and original work across genres, giving them an opportunity to talk about their music, their collaborators, and why they do what they do.
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“Born in a small town outside of Calgary, AB, Sykamore grew up on a cattle ranch surrounded by country music which laid the groundwork for her to start writing her own songs. Soon enough, her songwriting would start to garner attention in Canada, leading her to win the ATB All-Albertan Song Contest in 2014, and be nominated for the CCMA Discovery Award the following year. To date, Sykamore has garnered more than 10 million on-demand streams. She continued to gain success after being featured on national television and sharing bills with the likes of Miranda Lambert and Josh Ritter, but her biggest break came online when songwriting heavyweight Rhett Akins came across her music on Twitter. He invited her to join the roster of Home Team Publishing, which Akins founded along with his son and country star Thomas Rhett and Roc Nation/Warner Chappell. Sykamore relocated to Nashville in 2018 and released her first EP, Self + Medicine, which was streamed more than 1 million times and helped land her both a record deal and a spot in CMT’s coveted “Next Women of Country” class for 2020″.
When did you know you wanted to be a musician?
I knew I wanted to be a singer probably by 11 or 12, but I kept it to myself for the most part because I was from a small town and I didn’t know anyone who had actually done it. It seemed like a really far away, impossible dream. But when I was about 18 I made some friends who were musical and into writing songs, and they gave me a glimpse into that world and showed me it’s not as far-fetched as I thought.
Are you trained? How did you develop your skills?
I took singing lessons for a year when I was 6, if that counts! Haha. For the most part I guess I am self-taught but I’ve had some instruction in my life – most of it happened after I became an artist, just out of me wanting to improve.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
This answer is always a pretty big swath across genres, because the music I grew up listening to ended up being basically whatever I found to be catchy. So you’ve got the more obvious ones, Shania Twain, Taylor Swift, Dolly Parton. Then there’s the less obvious ones that sort of set up my song writing style and artistry – like Elton John, The Civil Wars, Bob Dylan, The Killers. One of my favourite hobbies truly is just deep diving into the catalogues of our greatest musicians and bands and obsessing over them for a while. I’m sure to a degree that comes out in the songs I release.
How would you describe your sound?
I like to look at it like there’s a top layer that is very reminiscent of storytelling country songs, but then there is a layer underneath that lets me play with more pop sonics like synthesizers and keyboards. Together they sort of make up this hybrid of genres where I prefer to live.
What’s your favourite tune in your repertoire and why?
The title of my album is called Pinto, which is the title track. I think right now that is my favourite tune because of what it means to me. When I wrote “Pinto” I had a lightning bolt of inspiration for this album and it all sort of fell into place for me, and I understood what the next project was going to be. The storyline behind “Pinto” has been my muse throughout this body of work so I feel quite sentimental about it. It’s also very fun to play live.
What can audiences expect from one of your live shows?
Probably a lot of silly banter on my part, because I get a little nervous and chatty onstage. But beyond that, I hope they can expect to hear some fresh, fun songs that they can see themselves in. Because ultimately that’s my job as an artist – to provide a space for people to truly live and have unforgettable experiences. When I can have the catharsis of sharing my songs, and the crowd can have the catharsis of relating to them, that’s when I know I’ve done my job.
Where can we find your music?
Anywhere! It is on every major streaming platform as far as I know, and we have physical copies for purchase so keep an eye out for those!