DFW Music News

Jack Black Would be Proud of Rocker Sydney Harte

Sydney Harte has a new name, new band and new outlook.
Sydney Harte has a new name, new band and new outlook. Cat Yeoman
Former Sweet Chaos bassist Sydney Hefley has opted to leave her former project behind to pursue a solo-ish career in the spotlight, with a new backing band and a cool new rock name. Now she goes by Sydney Harte.

Harte played her last show with Sweet Chaos in 2018. That band initially got its start as a coaching project from her time as a student at music school School of Rock. The group amassed enough of a following and attention to land the then-bassist an Ernie Ball endorsement.

The new wave of performance-based music education that's become popular since the famous 2003 Jack Black film inspired the School of Rock locations  — along with the necessary in-house connections that come with working with established musicians and venues — has launched a generation of up-and-coming rock stars. Harte is no doubt one of them.

The musician returned to her alma mater and is teaching at School of Rock in Dallas while taking online courses from the Berklee College of Music in Boston to further her own musical education. Three members of Harte’s band also teach at School of Rock. Cat Yeoman, 21, is the general manager at Harte's place of work and the group's bassist; Sammi Bishop, a drumming instructor, has traveled the world drumming with Tito and The Tarantula.

On the eve of Harte’s 22nd birthday, she sits on the back patio of Three Links before her new group’s first Deep Ellum gig. There, perched cooly waiting to perform, Harte sips her cold Liquid Death mountain water to beat the heat. Across from her sits lead guitarist Peter Dimitrov along with Yeoman, who is applying Alice Cooper style makeup on her eyes.

Harte’s hair is a two-tone bleach/black split and she’s rocking a patched denim jacket, torn black jeans, and black combat boots. The young band definitely has the rock and roll look down, but moreover, the attitude — they are cool and collected, with no visible signs of preshow anxiety. They’re already seasoned pros.

Harte has no interest in dwelling on the uncertainty that surrounds new musical projects. She flutters with excitement instead.

“I feel like even though things are uncertain, there is a lot of potential and room to grow, and places to go. Honestly, I’m really excited about that,” she says. “I had so many friends that supported Sweet Chaos, and it’s [been] really cool seeing the people I hadn’t seen in a while come out, and all the new friends and people who support me in my life now.”

Harte’s first show as a solo artist took place right before COVID hit Texas, making it her last for a while. Since that time, she’s regrouped and reloaded her arsenal of original music.

“I feel like tons of people could say they definitely had a tricky time during COVID,” she says. “Even then, I try to look back at it on the bright side. If anything, COVID actually gave me time to write [more] songs.”

The group has performed at a series of shows since venues reopened, but with new Delta variant cases of COVID-19 rising, the wait to get back to the live music business as usual may end up even further extended.

Harte’s first single, “Wasted Time” was released last February. It was originally conceived as a breakup song, but took on a deeper toll as she reflected on all the wasted time from the past couple of years.

“We played our first show and then had to take a break for a while,” Harte says. “So when we were talking about it, we realized there was a lot of time wasted during the pandemic. It turned into being more about genuinely having wasted time as opposed to being about a boy.”

For the song's release, Harte worked with Smash Cut Films to craft the video, and it has seen some early success, including airplay on the Pluto TV Network, MTV Spankin’ New.

The video opens with Harte driving casually down the street before a couple of fogeys pull up next to her on the wrong side of the road to get a good look at her. As she shakes her head, Harte emphasizes that the scenario is one that happens too often, though she maintains that there are good guys out there among the throngs of catcallers.

“The guys who pull up in the video are the guys who let me drive their super cool car," she says." So we were like ‘Hey, you guys are letting us drive your car, why not be in the video?’ It was a fun deal for them.”

"It literally is my whole life. I don’t do much that doesn’t involve music.” –Sydney Harte

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Harte records in Boston at Strega Entertainment Studios. She recently got back from recording an upcoming music video and live studio session that are set for a later release. The band is focusing on releasing singles with a new music video, “Shattered,” slated for release on Aug. 13. Harte says she wants to get back to the drawing board in the near future to write a more cohesive album as her band starts to pick up momentum.

“I’ve always found that it’s hard to put what I want to say into words, but it’s really easy to put what I want to say into music," she says. "It literally is my whole life. I don’t do much that doesn’t involve music.”

So expect those releases to come sooner rather than later. Harte’s next scheduled show is Nov. 12 at Mavericks Bar and Grill with Shotgun Sally and Scary Cherry and The Bang Bangs.

The auspicious young musician has also developed an effective way to deal with any naysayers regarding her rise in the Dallas scene. She doesn't think of them at all.

“I honestly don’t really think about my haters, because who cares?” she says, “All I’m doing is being myself and having fun, so why should I let them affect that?"

Watch the video for Sydney Harte's "Wasted Time" below:

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