Sye Elaine Spence - "1964" (audio) (Premiere)

by Brice Ezell

8 May 2015

A simple and gorgeous lullaby, "1964" finds Atlanta artist Sye Elaine Spence paying tribute to her grandmother.

With a fragile, delicate vocal beauty in the vein of Joanna Newsom, Sye Elaine Spence paints a vivid image of her grandmother in her tune “1964”. A bare arrangement consisting merely of Spence’s high-register voice and a guitar creates the effect of flipping through an old photo album, nostalgically gazing at all that has come to pass in a rich life experience. Although Spence is a young artist, the timelessness of “1964” makes it seem as if she’s doing it for a much longer time—in past lives, perhaps.
Spence gives PopMatters some detail about the tune, “1964” is an ode to my grandmother. I was lucky enough to grow up with her in our home, and as early as I can remember, she would tell me countless stories of her youth. She would describe it as a time where love was pure and joyful. She spoke with this really sweet nostalgia about her and her girlfriends ‘bathing’ at the beach after school, playing jacks and watching netball. My favorites are the stories she shared about her first love, being picked up in his blue VW beetle, listening to music, going dancing.

“Instrumentally, we wanted the song to remain very simple and reminiscent of that time. I’m really happy with what we did, and it came together pretty naturally. What (collaborator) Michael (Lesousky) does on guitar makes the song feel like a sweet lullaby. And when we were done putting our ideas together, the demo really sounded like it could have been recorded in 1964.”

Spence isn’t kidding about the last part. Have a listen below for your proof:

Spence’s Bloom EP came out in February; the single featuring “1964”, which is joined with the song “Repeat”, will be out on 19 May (iTunes).

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