By Kaivan Adjedani and Erin Holdbeck. “Relentless is me to a T, which is exactly why I called the album that. It is my relentless drive to not stop loving and making music my career, because it is an exhausting journey for sure but I have literally been doing this for fifteen years now, so that’s relentlessness.” Sydney Blu remarks from the rooftop patio of the Thompson Hotel in Toronto, hours before she gives a room full of excited guests an exclusive first listen at her debut album.
After a lengthy music career that most could only dream of achieving, Sydney Blu decided to return to her roots rather than chase fame and fortune. “Relentless” is not a word used to describe pleasant experiences. The heat of a desert is relentless, and the word is often used as a synonym for harsh, unforgiving, and sometimes even cruel. But there is no better word to describe the gruelling two-year experience of producing an album that is authentic and true, not cliche and commercial. While many producers today decide to sell out producing catchy and repetitive EDM tracks, Sydney Blu took the opposite route, staying true to her sound and her passion for music. “I don’t want to be swept up into the dance music craze like everyone else is. Everyone is changing their sound to fit a bottle service crowd and that’s not what I want to do. So I went back to my roots. My roots are from the Toronto underground, and I want to stick with them.”
Sydney references the opening track “What’s Inside”, as an accurate representation of the journey to the final product of the album. “It’s a really cool sampling kind of track that I did that is very reflective of wanting to look at yourself and that’s been my life for the last two years. I changed my style of music two years ago, and because of the fact that I did some kind of a reflective thing about what’s been happening with my music, I kind of wrote a song about it. And I feel like every song on the album has something to do with being authentic, being real, and being myself; and that’s exactly who I am. I try to be myself all the time.”
Sydney Blu’s musical transformation is most prevalent on songs like “It Doesn’t Matter” and “My Neighbors Hate Me”. Replicating and rivalling tracks on the decks in underground Chicago and Detroit clubs, this album was not meant to be mindlessly blasted for a room of three thousand fist-pumping and neon clad ravers. “I like house music and I come from Toronto, which is a city that was very influenced from Chicago, where house music comes from. Learning so much about that in my early years as somebody in electronic music it was really important to me to go back to my roots, and that’s really where it all came from.”
While she cited her influences for her sound in the production booth, Sydney also touched on how her hometown Toronto has helped her on an international scale, more specifically when behind the turntables. “It’s really important to use what I’ve learned here in the outside world. Because here, it is extremely important that you are a good DJ if you want to play amongst the DJs here. The DJ’s in Toronto are really really good, and they push me. I’m so grateful for them being hard on me and pushing me because it made me the DJ that I am. This definitely has helped me on the worldwide stage because I go out and people are like ‘shit she knows how to spin’, and I’m like ‘yeah because I come from Toronto and you have to know how to spin!’. If you want to play in a club in Toronto you gotta know what you’re doing.”
Her relationship with Toronto, consists of both give and take. While the city has been a key component in developing her abilities as a DJ and sound as a producer, Sydney Blu has yet to abandon the city for her international acclaim. Instead, every year Sydney Blu throws one of the most anticipated parties on her own stage at the Toronto Pride Festival. “I remember the first time we went to pride I was like ‘Oh My God, this is amazing; I want to be a part of this’, and now I’m curating my own stage which is amazing. It’s been a long journey” she remarks. The star’s commitment and devotion to Toronto Pride is clearly not a publicity tactic, but rather a genuine appreciation and enjoyment for the event. “I’ve been playing for ten years now and it’s really awesome that I am able to continue to do Pride every year. Every Friday at the beginning I basically launch it. It’s great, it’s very cool, I’m always very excited.”
Overall Relentless is a solid album filled with proper tech house beats that belong in any internationally acclaimed club. But when you put in perspective Sydney Blu’s transformation as an artist, her fearlessness in returning to her roots, and the two years she spent making this album; you truly realize that Relentless is a musical composition that will not be replicated anytime soon. Upon seeing the final result from all the blood, sweat, and tears; we too like Sydney Blu, strive to be relentless.