Tall Mountains’ Sydney Yeo turns unique moments into musical ideas
SINGAPORE — Singaporean singer-songwriter Sydney Yeo, who goes by the stage moniker Tall Mountains, never intended to show her songs to anyone when she started writing songs at the age of 18.
“It was only in 2011, during my internship at Snakeweed Studios, that Ian Toh (an instructor at Thunder Rock School) heard my songs and suggested I start taking my music to the next level,” she explained.
Some would say the local music scene is better off for it. Yeo, who will perform a set Hood Bar this Saturday, has gone from strength to strength since performing her first gig at Somerset 313 that same year.
Much of that growth can be heard on Tall Mountains EP, released late last year. On her online bandcamp page, it says the music is “akin to late afternoon sunlight falling through the windows of a quiet cool room, lying on a roof with a friend, or closing your eyes and letting your mind take you wherever it likes”.
And apparently, more than a few people liked it — enough to bring her to the attention of the Baybeats festival organisers, where she performed last month.
“We had some cool press for the music, which I’m very grateful for,” she said.
Sure, she has had the inevitable negative responses, but Yeo is not too bothered by them. “I’m just happy that people are listening at all, really. If fans or friends have comments to offer on how to improve, I always take them into account so I can give the best performance possible.”
Music-wise, Yeo said she is inspired and influenced by “pretty much everything”, although indie artists like Andrew Bird, St. Vincent, Bon Iver and Arcade Fire figure prominently in the scheme of things.
“Nowadays I’m also really into R&B and hip-hop like Miguel and Kendrick Lamar,” she said. “My songs take root around the unique moments and emotions I experience in my personal relationships with people I’m close to, but I’d say the sound of the Tall Mountains EP was most influenced by the people playing in my band when I recorded in the studio and how they realised the ideas I presented to them.”
Considering that Yeo is currently studying music production in New York University and is only back for the summer breaks, Yeo maintains fan interest here by trying to release new material or demos that she record herself to keep them engaged. She is currently recording a summer release with Leonard Soosay at Snakeweed Studios, and she hopes to release her first music video before she next returns in the summer of 2014.