NU student nominated for Boston Music Awards

NU student nominated for Boston Music Awards
Photo by Brian Bae

By Riley Robinson, Photo Editor

In her song “Vaudeville,” Sidney Gish sings lyrics familiar to many college students: “I was gonna write, but instead I read all of Vice.” In other tracks she mentions her broken phone screen and scrolling through clickbait late at night.

If she sounds like a relatable college student, it’s because she is one: Gish is a third-year music industry major at Northeastern. She is also one of 10 artists nominated for the Boston Music Awards’ New Artist of the Year. Gish will be performing as part of the awards show at the Boston House of Blues Dec. 7.

Her latest album, titled “Ed Buys Houses,” was released this year and was entirely self-produced — Gish did all vocals, instrumentation and mixing. She edited it with GarageBand on her computer.

“I’ll bring my mic to campus and record vocals if there’s an empty classroom,” she said. “In Ryder [Hall], it’s dead empty after 8 p.m., so you can just go in there if you need silence to record.”

Allston Pudding, a popular Boston music blog, has applauded her for “hyper-observational lyricism,” and friends praise her artistic honesty, but her overall style was more difficult for them to pinpoint with words.

Kaera Wyse, a senior at Lesley University in Cambridge, befriended Gish after booking her for shows and describes her by what she is not.

My favorite is when I’ve seen her on a bill with a bunch of sad boy, sludgy basement bands, in somebody’s sludgy sad boy basement, and she comes in and does something completely different,” Wyse said. “She’s a very engaging performer, and every time I go to a show, I look around and watch people just get spellbound.”

Gish says her sound was first influenced by Regina Spektor, who she discovered on Pandora in middle school. Lately, her favorite artists are other young, independent musicians she finds on the internet.

“There’s a bunch of SoundCloud-based musicians that are all basically the same age as us, and they’re all producing their own music on their laptops,” Gish said. “Even if it leans more electronic, the fact that being they’re being their own producer and not having to go to a studio is pretty inspiring.”

Those who know Gish are quick to mention her non-musical talents as well. She does small line drawings, which she occasionally sells on campus in pin form. Gish also created her own collaged album art for “Ed Buys Houses” using Adobe Photoshop.

“She has a really popular meme page,” said her close friend Sanjukta Dutta, a fourth-year cell and molecular biology major. “She likes to cook a lot. She had a phase where she was vegan for 12 days and baked a lot of vegan brownies.”

Music industry professor Jim Anderson has taught Gish for several years as she works toward a minor in recording.

“She’s not just about singer-songwriter and doing unusual stuff,” he said, while comparing her to Joni Mitchell. “She’s got a lot of different irons in the fire.”

Anderson had warm words about her music as well.

“She’s super tuned in to life, as a general thing. It’s not just ‘my heart is broken’ and ‘oh, I miss my boyfriend’ and all that stuff,” he said. “She’s not limited by what most songwriters are limited by.”

Gish said she’s happy she chose a university music program that focuses more on business than strict conservatory training.

“I was going to major in songwriting, but then I’d just be going around trying to get approval from all of my songwriting professors,” Gish said. “I’d probably still be doing that if I had gone to Berklee [College of Music].”

Her current balance of academics and music offers her a unique independence.

“I think it’s really cool working in the studio with other people,” Gish said. “But I like at the core of it, just being able to go open my laptop and make whatever I want.”

Gish has been working on a new collection of songs, and plans to release another album online over winter break.

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