Sydney Sprague knows full well about the struggles and challenges of 2020. She took that and weaved it into her debut album, “Maybe I Will See You at the End of the World.”
Scheduled for release February 26, the album will feature the first two singles, “Steve” and “I Refuse to Die,” which are available on Spotify and Apple Music.
This record was written during a tough “season” of Sprague’s life.
“It was one of those periods where there was intense growing,” she says. “I realized everything in my life wasn’t moving in the direction I wanted it to. It wasn’t popping off.”
The Scottsdale-based artist completely turned her life around. She moved out of her apartment, found a new job and shed her “toxic” friends. Sprague offers 10 songs to help others—along with her paranoia and anxiety about the world.
“Most of these songs just fall out of my head,” she says. “It all bubbles up. I sit down with my guitar and the words just come out. They came naturally to me.”
There were some challenges in finding the right words, though.
“The lack of control of the outside world makes it harder to feel like you have any control of your own personal world,” she says. “It just makes everything more unclear and harder to focus on.
“It’s hard to focus on what’s going on inside your own head when there’s so much going on.”
Sprague says it’s a major comfort that others are going through similar struggles.
“It was, in a way, unifying,” she says. “I mean, there is still lots of divide, but I think globally, everybody has had some shared experience.”
In the beginning, Sprague enjoyed her time in quarantine because she spent the previous year touring and traveling. She says it was nice to stop for a minute, but it got old. Sprague’s looking forward to going back to real life but strives to find a balance between the two worlds everyone grew to know.
As COVID-19 continues to spread across the world, Sprague has been grateful for the support from Rude Records, an Italy-based record label that picked up the artist right after she independently released “I Refuse to Die” in March.
“It’s been a literal dream come true,” she says. “Releasing an album into this environment isn’t ideal. You can’t go out and tour. Promoting is a whole different game at this point. Having the PR and marketing teams and people to help me use the internet to the full advantage is life saving.”
Sprague says she’s been working on visual content because “most people are sitting around on their phones. There’s not as much streaming going on. So, I’m making as many videos and stuff as I can.”
Fans will be able to see all of her singles’ music videos. She’s been very active on Instagram specifically to promote her work.
Although touring isn’t an option quite yet, Sprague recently opened for Cher and Alicia Keys during a Joe Biden rally in Phoenix, which was “the weirdest, out-of-left-field experience” she’s had.
They called Sprague three hours prior to the show, which followed social distancing protocols by giving 6 feet of room between groups of people attending the rally.
“The energy is totally different,” she says. “People are there, they’re enthusiastic, they’re excited, but they can’t move. It’s a whole different type of feeling.”
She says she was very grateful, and it was an exhilarating experience to be on stage after six months.
Although there have been opportunities to play at bars and restaurants, Sprague says she hasn’t agreed to do so to ensure her own safety and the safety of others. To fill the time, she’s been collaborating with fellow Arizona artists and playing guitar for other bands.
The experiences have influenced her ’90s alternative sound heard on “Maybe I Will See You at the End of the World.” It is through the experiences of being surrounded and supported by the local artists that allowed her to develop.
“I learn a little bit more from every band I work with and it changes my songwriting a little bit,” Sprague says. “It’s super fun as an outlet for me to not have to be the main character all the time.”
To finish the album, Sprague says she wanted to leave a sign of hope for the future. The first track of the album, “I Refuse to Die,” acknowledges the struggle and how she came out on the other side.
“I wanted to put something out into the world to manifest my own happiness or future,” she says. “That, to me, was the bow on top of the album. There’s a lot of internal conflict and struggle through the world throwing punches at you, but you keep going anyway.”
The story of the album is the overall growth and becoming a stronger person through the hardship.
“You have to go through the tough things to become the person you want to be,” she says.
Sydney Sprague, “Maybe I Will See You at the End of the World,” out Friday, February 26, available on Spotify and Apple Music.