The last time I caught up with Sydney Hutchko she was getting cultured in her country craft. She was singing cover songs to a college crowd and concentrating on her Music Business degree at Belmont University. She has since performed during CMA Fest 2011, and stepped onto the stage again at historic Jamboree in the Hills, one of the largest outdoor concerts in the country, with a crowd of 40,000 fans. Sydney has been the opener for artists such as George Jones, Miranda Lambert, Craig Morgan, and Charlie Daniels.
Bridging Pittsburgh with Nashville, Sydney is bringing her brand of music to both cities. Now with all the glory of a graduate, she has since continued her takeover of Nash-Burgh. She has been making her rounds on radio shows such as Froggy Radio’s Danger Show and 93.7 FM The Fan with Jim Colony and recently recorded an EP in which she not only scribed three of the songs, but one of which, “Mr. Mister,” is in regular rotation at radio stations in the Pittsburgh area and regionally. Her music can be found on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby. Her EP charted within 24 hours and Sydney’s success hasn’t stopped.
Sara Fincham: Do you feel like you’ve learned a lot since the last time I saw you – in and out of the classroom?
Sydney Hutchko: I do. It’s been quite the learning curve for sure, but I feel like I’ve really found who I am as an artist. I was blessed with the opportunity to learn the business side at Belmont, while continuing to develop my voice and myself as an artist.
SF: You must be so thrilled about the success of your EP! I know you make music because you love to, but at the end of the day does it help to have all that hard work pay off, to see some sort of reward for your recordings? And also, CONGRATULATIONS!
SH: I am beyond thrilled with the EP’s success. Being that it was my first EP, I didn’t realize what a huge undertaking it would be—the process was a long one. It took about a year and a half from concept to completion with writing, recording, re-writing, re-recording, mixing, and mastering. Not to mention the photo shoots, the graphic design, and the administration side of it all—as an independent artist, I was involved in all of the decision making, every step of the way. It was at this time that I also set up my own publishing company, Sydy Wall Music Publishing, and signed with my PRO (performance rights organization), BMI.
As if the excitement of recording my first project wasn’t enough, my first single, “Mr. Mister”, was my first song to debut on the Mediabase Country Chart, and remained on the chart for 6 weeks! As an independent artist, this is a major accomplishment.
SF: You are surrounded by such skilled songwriters, working with marvelous mentors. Does the company you keep help? Not just in this scenario, but even in school -being surrounded by like-minded musical people and peers – how is that helpful?
SH: There is no doubt that being surrounded by such incredible singers, songwriters, producers, etc makes me strive to be better. It’s like anything else, you want to surround yourself with people that are better than you, so that you aspire to their level of writing, musicianship, artistry, etc. One of my mentors is Linda Davis (Grammy Award winning artist for her duet with Reba McEntire; Also happens to be Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum’s Momma!). Miss Linda has so graciously worked with me on my stage presence and just shared so many pearls of wisdom as a performer that has just resonated with me. In choosing songs for my EP, I had the pleasure of being introduced to Jim Weatherly (a Country Music Hall of Fame songwriter), who took me under his wing, and taught me the finer points of songwriting (“Head On,” the first song on my EP, was written by him).
One of the biggest honors I’ve had to date is being invited to perform at the 17th Annual BMI Key West Songwriter’s Festival (May 2-7, 2012). To be included with such songwriters are Luke Laird, Rhett Akins, Liz Rose, and Bob DiPiero, among others, is definitely a career high for me.
SF: What’s coming up on your calendar? Where can we see you for ourselves?
SH: Along with the Key West Songwriter’s Festival, I was invited to sing the National Anthem and perform at the 20th Annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Pittsburgh on May 13th. I am also currently organizing a fundraising event for the Komen Foundation that will include a number of Pittsburgh “Hometown Country Artists”— more details to follow!
One of my favorite “gigs” to do is to sing the National Anthem. Most recently, I performed it at a Memphis Grizzlies NBA game, and am scheduled to perform it at the Pittsburgh Pirates game on July 5th, and the Pittsburgh Power game on July 7th (also performing at half-time for the Pittsburgh Power game). For a complete list of upcoming shows scheduled, as well as information about Sydney Hutchko’s music you can go to www.sydneyhutchko.com or www.reverbnation.com/sydneyhutchko. Follow Sydney on www.twitter.com/sydneyhutchko and www.facebook.com/sydneyhmusic.