Taylor Swift had better watch her back. Sydney Rhame of Decatur has her sights set on the spotlight and musical success that Swift is now enjoying. And if Rhame’s body of work and performance schedule keep growing, she may well reach her goal.
That goal is pretty simple.
“In a perfect world I would have a record deal in L.A. or Nashville before I turn 12,” said Sydney.
That’s right, Sydney Rhame is only 11 years old.
Sydney, a sixth grader at Renfroe Middle School in Decatur, is a budding vocalist and guitarist. In a few short weeks, she’s sold some 70 copies of a CD with four songs that she wrote and which she performs.
“It was just a cool instrument,” she said of the guitar that she learned to play around age 7. “It wasn’t that hard [to learn to play].”
In addition to working with a vocal and guitar coach, the pre-teen has been busy playing at various gigs in metro Atlanta. During October, she was booked at seven events in Decatur, including Dogtoberfest, Oakhurst Arts and Music Festival and a Seen Gallery photography exhibit opening.
This summer, she performed at a Nashville hotel for a charity event. She was almost not allowed to sing at a Nashville bar because of her age but someone gave the go-ahead. “Everyone was blown away,” she recalled.
Sydney has had in interest in singing since she was 5. In addition to her solo performances, she’s also the lead singer of the all-girl rock band The Lock Outs along with Lena Dangerfield, 15, on guitar and keyboards, Audrey Maloof, 13, on drums, Amanda Dwight, 16, on bass and occasionally Natalie Spruill, 13, on vocals and tambourine. The band performed Nov. 15 at Junktique, a fundaiser event held at Oakhurst Solarium.
And Sydney doesn’t just sing and play, she’s also a songwriter who’s penned about 17 songs. Her topics: independence, boys and growing up, to name a few. She shared with a reporter that she recently wrote a song (one of four songs she wrote in the last month) called “In the Bushes,” about a boy hiding his feelings for a girl he likes. She added that it’s based on a recent personal experience.
Sydney, who includes among her musical influences John Mayer, Pink, Indigo Girls, Michael Jackson, Red Hot Chili Peppers and REM, said she gets immense pleasure from all aspects of music. She enjoys the solitary process of writing music and lyrics as well as being out front when performing on stage.
Julie Rhame, Sydney’s mom who specializes in communications for the DeKalb School System, said her daughter is serious about establishing a music career and routinely asks what her mother is doing to advance her career.
But Sydney isn’t leaving potential stardom to chance, she’s counting on a higher power to turn her dreams into reality. “Every night before I go to bed I pray I can get a record deal,” she said pointedly.