Singer-songwriter Syd Hartha Chua, 17, who is professionally known as syd hartha, considers several rappers as her music influences. She is also currently inspired by the progressive music of Yano, Bullet Dumas and Joey Ayala and hip-hop music in general.
“Rappers such as Loonie, Ron Henley and BLKD have influenced my songwriting a lot,” hartha said. “It’s a gift for myself and I’m really excited for it.”
With a more refined musical perspective, hartha is set to release her debut EP under Sony Music Philippines. Beaming with pride the young singer-songwriter not afraid to take bolder.
More introspective direction in music-making, hartha burst onto the scene with songs that bridge the gap between intimacy and empowerment. After releasing confessional tunes that quickly received buzz from the indie press, her first major success came with “ayaw,” a bluesy folk number that affirms her stand against sexual harassment and abuse towards women in general.
Lyrically, “ayaw” is the gifted artist’s most mature to date. It delivers an inspiring message that puts into light the importance of consent.
The folk-pop chanteuse started making music at an early age of 12, learning how to play the guitar, keyboards, and ukulele without formal training. The next few years saw the singer-multi-instrumentalist gain prominent traction with the covers that she posted on YouTube, Soundcloud and Facebook.
Eventually, the newfound confidence pushed hartha to write songs of her own, including the online hit “tila tala,” which garnered more than 3 million streams on Spotify as of press time. She said, “I think one reason behind ‘tila tala’s’ success is that it’s about love; something that everyone can relate to.”
The signature hit is followed by the release of the jazzy, stripped-down single “iglap,” which finds the young musician working with acclaimed producer Nick Lazaro and widening her horizons in terms of musicality. She said, “My second single ‘iglap ‘was actually experimental because I wanted to try to play with a bassist and drummer that time.”
Not the type to stick with formulaic approach, hartha veers away from the Filipino sentimental hugot themes that currently populate the upper tiers of the mainstream charts, trying her hand into making music that is deeply personal but socially relevant. She explained, “It’s honestly challenging for me to let people know now that I am not just an artist who does covers and has hugot originals.”
“I’m more open to possibilities now,” hartha continued. “I want to write songs that reflect the harsh realities of life in the Philippines and I want to use my voice as an avenue of change and inspiration.”
Here is hartha performing “ayaw” live: