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Coeur d’Alene singer-songwriter Sydney Jacobson, 14, releases her first album

UPDATED: Sun., May 16, 2021

By Cindy Hval For The Spokesman-Review

If you’re a Gonzaga University sports fan, chances are you’ve heard Sydney Jacobson sing. Jacobson, who performs as Sydney Dale, is one of the national anthem singers featured at GU sporting events.

Lately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, you’ve heard a prerecorded version.

“Before COVID, I did a lot of volleyball, baseball, soccer and men’s and women’s basketball games,” Jacobson said. “The anthem’s a hard song to sing because of its vocal range.”

This month, the 14-year-old freshman at Coeur d’ Alene’s Lake City High School released her first album, “Simple Little Things.”

“I’ve been singing ever since I can remember,” she said. “I started voice lessons at 6 because I was always singing.”

Born into an Air Force family in Fairbanks, Alaska, Jacobson remembers belting out John Denver’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and Justin Bieber’s “Baby” for her family.

Her dad, Jeremy, serves in the Air National Guard, and the family moved to the area in 2014 when he was assigned to Fairchild Air Force Base.

Jacobson joined Christian Youth Theatre North Idaho and plunged into musical theater.

“It’s given me lots of room to grow my singing,” she said, citing her roles in “Shrek,” “Annie” and other musicals.

She’s also part of two choirs at Lake City High and recently earned first-place soprano for District 1 in Idaho.

“Simple Little Things” had its genesis when the teen turned to songwriting last year. Drawing inspiration from Taylor Swift, Adele and Norah Jones, Jacobson said she’ll get an idea for a chord progression and pick out the melody on the piano or her favorite instrument, the ukulele.

“My brother bought me a cheap ukulele four years ago, and I taught myself to play it,” she recalled.

She played it so much it finally broke.

Jacobson laughed.

“Now, I have five, including a tenor ukulele my grandpa built for me.”

The lyrics flow from the melody, and the seven-track album features five of her original songs, including the title track “Simple Little Things.”

“That’s probably my favorite song,” she said. “A lot of thought and emotion went into that one.”

The album was recorded at Cider Mountain Recording Studio in Athol and produced, mixed and mastered by sound engineer Jarin Bressler. It features local musicians Dan Powers, Tristan Hart Pierce, Quindrey Davis Murphy, Chris Booher, Matt Henson and Davi Raubach.

Jacobson describes her musical style as “mostly indie, pop and alternative” and said the album includes a mixture of ballads and upbeat songs.

“The studio musicians were wonderful,” she said. “It was really cool to hear them play my work.”

She plans to pursue a career in music, and this album is the first of what she hopes will be many.

“It all became so real when I heard the musicians playing my songs,” she said.

“Simple Little Things” is available through streaming platforms including YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify. Those who attend the album release party, at Jeremiah Johnson Brewing Co. in Coeur d’Alene from 4-7 p.m. Sunday, will receive a copy of the CD.

“I just want people to hear my music,” Jacobson said. “That’s my dream.”

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