Having released three solo albums in the past ten years, 27-year-old Sydney Wayser has a knack for light, airy vocals, reminiscent of Florence Welch or Hannah Reid of London Grammar.
Raised by a songwriting father, until recently she lived in New York, flying largely under the radar with her indie-folk ballads. Still, she was worried about becoming pigeon-holed, genre-wise, and blamed the use of her birth moniker. "I think that using my own name became a hinderance," she says, speaking from downtown L.A. coffee shop Stumptown.
Today wearing a pink frilly top under a sharp black blazer, Wayser is tall, and her demeanor is calm. It's in contrast to the electrifying alter ego she decided to create: Clara-Nova.
Last year Wayser moved back to her hometown of Los Angeles now living in Laurel Canyon, feeling it was time to make tangible Clara-Nova, a persona that had been swirling in her mind.
Clara-Nova represents the evolution of Wayser, lyrically and musically. She's ditching the acoustic guitar for a standing keyboard and tambourine backed by a full band.
Her voice is powerful on new track, "Badlands," a high-energy piece of power pop that serves as a metaphor for her creative breakthrough.
"I was 17 when I released my first record," she says. "I didn't really figure out what I wanted to say, how to get a message and put it together. Now I prefer to take the time to set it up right and then back track."
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Over the weekend she released a new live video for "Electric," an uplifting, catchy jam, drizzled with '80's synth.
Helping out with the Clara-Nova recording process is Shawn Everett, who's engineered Weezer, Papa and Pete Yorn. Wayser and Everett bonded, and he's filled her car with bulletin boards full of motivational images, crystals, Chinese headdresses, and alpaca figurines, which will be used for inspiration during their recording sessions that just got under way.
"So that's what the album's going to sound like," Wayser jokes. In truth, the only one who really knows is Clara-Nova herself.