NorthWest Notebook

Singer-songwriter Amy Syd of Westford will present her first CD at a Feb. 2 release party.

"The kids would sing when I came in, and it was really fun," said the 43-year-old Westford mother of two, who volunteered at the school for several years. Her two are Julie, 13, and Saib, 11.

That experience inspired Syd, now a stay-at-home mother who studied flute and voice at Juilliard School in New York, to write more songs and release her first compact disc, "Inner Landscape."

On Feb. 2, Syd will celebrate her debut at a CD release party and performance at the Westford Regency's Clark Lounge, at 219 Littleton Road in Westford. The public is invited to hear her play.

"Music has always been part of my life," said Syd, who met her husband, Phil Babcock, when they were members of their high school band in White Plains, N.Y. She played flute. He played trombone.

She went on to get her degree in theater arts from the State University of New York at Fredonia and later studied at Juilliard.

In recent years, she starred in several musical theater productions at the Groton/Littleton ActorsSingers of Nashua.

Westford musician has first CD

Amy Syd loved the days when she would walk into Nabnasset School in Westford and the children would greet her with her songs she had written.


"I'm a full-time mom. I love to be home with the kids, and I always look for ways to express myself creatively and still be home with the kids," she said. Writing lullabies for them and watching old musicals together is part of their routine.

Over the last two years, she started writing songs seriously and copyrighted her work. She played at local open microphone shows and decided to record a CD.

Babcock plays acoustic guitar, keyboard, and flute on the recording. Todd Hamelin, a graduate student of music at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, plays violin.

It's been a great learning experience for me, working in a studio, arranging my music, and making all the thousands of decisions that go into creating a CD. At the very least, I think of it as a gift to myself. At most, it is an opportunity to soothe and uplift others," she said.

WESTFORD EAGLE - Thursday, January 27, 2000


Singer's CD 'Inner Landscape' rooted in her experience

Westford singer-songwriter Amy Syd Babcock went on a journey to write the lyrics and music for her debut CD, "Inner Landscape," but she didn't have to go very far.

"It's my own inner journey as far as discovering myself," she explained; "to find what's important and discovering my inner voice- the inner voice that I think we all have. The songs are trying to get across the message of looking inside for the support that we all need."

She is looking forward to sharing her music with a growing audience as her CD becomes more widely circulated and she performs at more venues. The official launch of her CD is at a free concert at the Westford Regency's Clark Lounge on February 2. Babcock said that her music appeals to men and women of all ages, because the message is universal.

The message is epitomized in "I've come home." The song begins, "Trapped in a hollow of my own self doubt, looking for a way to begin...," and towards the end, she sings, "There's a place right here where I can see myself so clearly / I've found the friend I lost long ago..."

Over the years, Babcock wrote down many of her thoughts and feelings in her journal, sometimes in the form of poetry, and it is these poems she has adapted and set to music for her CD. Some song titles are self-explanatory, like "Do I Make A Difference"; while others, such as "Freckles, Jellybeans," are more abstract.

Her spoken voice is quiet, somewhat unsure, but her singing voice is clear and confident, a rich mezzo-soprano with a strong vibrato.

"Someone once told me I sounded exactly like Bernadette Peters," she said, "and I do have a theatrical- sounding voice."

She styles herself as a folk artist, but her lyrics go beyond storytelling to the sharing of emotions and discoveries. Her music is as lyrical as her poetry, and the variety of pace and judicious use of instruments - she plays acoustic guitar, keyboards and flute - gives the CD a "page-turning" quality.

Influences in her musical life are eclectic - James Taylor, Barbara Streisand, and some new age and eastern philosophies. And her pet budgies - Tipper and Princess - are seldom quiet, adding their own musical input to the cozy ambience of Babcock's home. Uncaged, they chirp and chatter constantly, taking a break only to dart around the family room.

"They love it when I sing," she said.

As well as performing for Tipper and Princess, Babcock has sung at a coffeehouse in Cambridge, and at many open mics, including the Acton Jazz Cafe. She also performed at the Westford Museum's open stage event, and she was invited back the following season to open for a scheduled concert.

THE MANY VOICES OF AMY--Amy Syd Babcock, debuts her new CD 'Inner Landscape' at the Westford Regency from 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb 2. Above, Babcock recreates two of her own musical creations as Zeronimo Rabbitt and Felina Zero, who sang original songs to help children learn to count at the Nabnassett School.

Babcock's background is in musical theater. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Theater Arts from the State University of New York at Fredonia, and has appeared in recent years with the Groton-Littleton Theater and the ActorSingers of Nashua. She used to volunteer at Nabnasset School by dressing up as two of her own creations, Felina Zero (a cat in a colorful cape) and Zeronimo Rabbit (a pink-eared, red-trousered bunny). She wrote and sang original songs about numbers to help the kids enjoy numbers and counting. At the same time, she discovered how much she enjoyed entertaining people.

She has two children of her own - Saib,12, and Julie, 14 - and even though she is very excited about her musical career, her family "will always come first." Her song "Set Them Free" is about her relationship with her husband, Phil. "Together they'll make a new entity," she sings. "Set them free."

She is delighted that Saib and Julie are both musical. They sing and have participated in theater productions. Saib is learning to play trumpet, and Julie plays French horn and piano. Whether they will pursue music professionally, Babcock wouldn't like to say, but she is sure that, "they will always have music in their lives."

And so will Babcock as she continues her inner journey and records her discoveries for others to enjoy.