Sydney Irving got her first guitar for her eighth birthday. But, for a little while, it sat in the corner and collected dust.
It wasn't until the Marcellus native started listening to artists like Taylor Swift, Tom Petty and Ryan Adams that she felt the urge to make music herself.
"I didn't realize how meaningful music could be," she said. "It wasn't until I learned about great songwriters."
By the time she was 11, Sydney was writing her own songs. Now, at 15, she's already released her second album, "The Halfmoon Sessions." She'll perform at a release party for the album Sunday at Auburn Public Theater. Recorded at More Sound studio in Syracuse, the album features 10 songs by Sydney and a cover. It'll be available for purchase Sunday, along with T-shirts and stickers.
The daughter of Scott and Johanna Irving, Sydney got her first guitar from her dad, who had his own musical aspirations, she said. She doesn't have her sights set on filling arenas, she continued, but she wants to stick with music and perhaps even study it at college. The Marcellus High student is already so focused on music that she doesn't have time for sports or other activities, she said.
"I just want to keep writing music and performing my music," she said. "It's something I love."
Sydney described her music as a mix of rock, pop and folk. She's open to experimenting with other genres in the future, but for now, Sydney feels she still has a few things to learn. One of them is writing more effective songs, she said. They're inspired by her own experiences, as well as those of family and friends. Sydney finds writing from the third-person especially interesting, she said.
Still, Sydney is proud of her progress on "The Halfmoon Sessions." She recorded the eight songs on her first album, "Hello Stranger," in a single day. This one, however, was spread out over a couple months. The relaxed approach gave Sydney the time to improve her songs, she said. She was fueled by half-moon cookies her father brought to the studio, hence the name.
The other thing Sydney's still learning is performing live. She frequents the stages of area restaurants, performed at the annual Central New York TomatoFest in downtown Auburn, and often attends Auburn Public Theater's Tuesday open mic nights, which she described as her "home base." But Sunday's show will be one of Sydney's first times headlining, she said.
"I play out as much as I can," she said. "I really want to connect to people through music."