Featuring soul-stirring vocals, moody guitar riffs and a catchy hook, “Welcome To Hollywood” is a candid anthem of sacrifice.
She confides, “It describes my own adversity and experience with pursuing my dreams and it is more of a metaphor for everyone and what it means to put your health and heart out on the line without knowing what the future holds at any point in time “Hollywood’ is glamourized as a place where people can be whoever they want to be and live out their wildest dreams, but no one ever talks about the thousands and thousands of rejections and thoughts of giving up and giving in to one of those critics or “no’s” that tell you it’ll never happen, whether you or someone else is the critic themselves. No one talks about the mental strength and sacrifice it takes to make a dream come true.”
At the young age of 10 years old, Sydney Agudong, born and raised in Hawai’i and now 20 years old, was writing songs that were being played on local radio stations. As she developed into a musician, Sydney sang in talent shows and competitions receiving numerous awards including the 2010 Miss Hawaii Preteen and pre teen talent winner.
Sydney now resides in Los Angeles to continue her life as a musician. In addition to her alto register, she is a multi-instrumentalist (piano, guitar, ukulele). Sydney has written songs for and sang on the feature trailer Too Much Love (Kauai Made Films) and two albums for Dubb City Productions along with other talented musicians. Sydney is able to accompany her voice and communicate her ideas across a variety of styles and recording sessions. She is in the process of developing an album and writing songs as she continues to pursue her passions.
What’s your story as an artist?
I’m from Kaua’i, a small island in Hawai’i and I grew up doing theatre and doing local talent shows and pageants since I was really young. Music has been in my life for as long as I can remember and I owe that to my dad. Whether or not he was blasting “The Pretenders” or “Pink Floyd” or waking up to him freestyling a soul rock riff on the guitar, it was always around. I started pursuing acting before I decided to become an artist. When I was 11 years old, my sister (Siena Agudong, 7 years old) and I started traveling back and forth to LA for auditions. When I started high school, I decided to start focusing more on social life and school and then in my Junior and Senior year, I started songwriting. After I graduated in 2018, I decided to try acting again and brought along music this time and moved to LA at 17 years old and have been here since. It took a while to come into and accept myself as an “artist” because I wanted to make sure I wanted it because it gave me purpose, not fame and fortune. My goal is to grow with people and bring the idea of being human as a means of belonging not separation. Everyone has someone in their life that makes life a little easier and a little less alone. I am not trying to be anything but a means of saying, “I get it, I don’t know what I am doing either but we’ll figure it out together”.
Introducing “Jayne Doe”:
Sydney Agudong a.k.a Jayne Doe –
The truth is, I don’t know what I am doing all of the time and I don’t know who I am or what I want all of the time. But no one else truly does either, but we’re learning, that’s okay right? I’ve hated the pressure that society puts on people to have everything figured out and perfect the first time around or even second. The beauty of life are the questions and then piecing together answers, learning and then growing from them and then asking more. I wanted an outlet and a way to validate myself and others for how okay it is to not have all the answers but how much you can care about finding out. “Jane Doe ” at its most common definition is a female with no known identity. “Jayne Doe” is like that but more along the lines of a girl on the search to find her identity and her way through life. “Jayne Doe” is basically my own version of “Hannah Montana.” She is a persona separate from me, Sydney Agudong. She is an unapologetic soul searcher and her music offers the journey.
What inspired this last release?
I have spent so many years wanting to release music, but no matter how hard and how long my team and I tried to pursue it, I always felt like something was still missing. It never felt like me. I have met some incredible people while in LA, and have been blessed with so many amazing opportunities. With that said, LA was a culture shock and the unforgiving parts of pursuing this sort of career took me down to some pretty low places in my mental health, where I felt incapable and alone, distancing myself from friends and family, and questioning my worth and sabotaging my own success. COVID didn’t help. I wrote “Welcome to Hollywood” when I was trying to find my way out. Growing up, I always heard what chasing a dream was like, but I never truly understood it for myself. The toll it takes on your own self worth as a person; this incredible rollercoaster of unknowns that lead you in and out of control and bring you to the question – “Is this even worth it?” This song is about my relationship to my dreams in Hollywood, but everyone has their own “Hollywood” in some way. I really just wanted to take the time to say “Kudos to you for doing the dang thing. I promise it’ll all be okay”.
Do you get inspired by other art forms?
All the time. It’s what helps keep the creativity fresh and alive. Art in any form comes down to self-expression in a certain perspective. If I get stuck in one perspective, it’s cool to know that I can view something from another angle, and always learn something new and understand something in another depth that wouldn’t have been shared with me otherwise.
What’s your favorite place or environment to write?
Oh gosh, it changes all the time, but I have to say currently the most inspiration and fluid thoughts have come when I am on a long drive in my car. Most times it’s sporadic and random, but sometimes I do it on purpose and try to write in my head in the car, whether or not that’s the smartest idea or not. Other times, I try to find a place where my soul is happiest and normally it’s at a lookout or top of a hike of some sort, far enough away to hear myself breathe and detach from the rush of the city.
Who is an artist or band you look up to today?
Briston Maroney. Frank Ocean. Elton John. Queen. Backseat Lovers. The Beatles. Billy Joel.
What excites you the most about what you do?
I think what excites me the most is how many people, places, and things I get to learn from and connect to. It’s incredible the influence that music alone has on the world and its ability to reach and bring people whom I have never met or wouldn’t have been able to meet in this lifetime without it.
What is your view on genres and music styles since you mix a lot of them in your music?
Mixing genres is like mixing cultures. My music is a representation of me. I am not defined by a singular characteristic and the same goes for my music. I am influenced by experiences and emotions and events and people. That, alone, changes and shapes who I am as a person and I think music should reflect that.
What does music and art mean to you?
It’s transcendent. Art and music, to me, are a means to connect with people beyond physical limitation and existence. It is a means to express and release yourself into freedom. I can’t describe the feeling that comes with a piece of art, music or another form, besides utter magic. I believe it is the closest thing we will get to real fairytale magic. The ability to get a glimpse of someone’s soul and see history of hurt, love, hope, fear, etc. with a mere couple of lyrics, melodies, brush strokes, or movement is beyond anything that I could learn and understand from any textbook.
How would you describe your act in one word?