When Sydney Choate performed on Virginia Beach in July in front of thousands of people, she felt connected to each of them — even though they were all strangers.

“You’re connecting with all those people at once,” Choate, a native of Richmond said in a phone interview Thursday. “You share this one moment, and you share this music.”

Choate is the newest member of the nationally-known pop and hip-hop musical group, DaCav, with whom she performed in July on Virginia Beach and recently released a music video that was partly filmed in Maine at Richmond Middle and High School. 

But for Choate, singing for thousands is just as meaningful as performing for a few people.

“I’m grateful for anyone to come out and watch me, so even just a few people watching would mean just as much,” she said.

Choate, a 2013 graduate of Richmond Middle and High School, is part of a musical family and knew from an early age that she’d be a performing artist, writing her first songs at age 4.  

“The songs didn’t even have words,” she said, “just sounds.”

With the support of her family and her high school performing arts teacher, Virgil Bozeman, Choate developed her voice, performing at local venues and sharing her covers through Instagram that eventually caught the eye — or ear — of her two future bandmates in DaCav.

Mikey and B Roc were original members of the band DaCav5, who earned an MTV video music award for Best Breakout Philly Artist in 2009. The band later stopped performing, but the two men regrouped to become DaCav out of Las Vegas and New Jersey.

Sydney Choate is a Richmond graduate and a singer in the band DaCav. The band recently filmed a music video in Richmond for a single about bullying, “Take A Walk.” Portland Press Herald photo by Derek Davis

Choate, whose stage name is simply “Sydney,” had the voice their work was missing, and they invited her to record a song with them — and then another, until she was invited to be a new band member.

The studio chemistry of the three performers “fits together like puzzle pieces,” Choate said. “We can goof around and give constructive criticism. It’s a cool dynamic.”

Their music video for their recent release, “Let’s Take a Walk,” was filmed in part at Richmond Middle and High School starring local students. Choate directed the video, her first, after approval from Regional School Unit 2 Superintendent Bill Zima and with the support of people who also supported her growing up, including Mr. Bozeman.

“Mr. Bozeman’s always had a lot of faith in me,” she said. “He’s been waiting for me to do this kind of stuff.”

The topic of the song and video is something that touches many teens: bullying. The video shows the peer-bullying of a student portrayed by Teeghan Gilpatric, a Richmond school student and close friend of Choate’s younger brother, Koleman Kroesser, who had a minor role in the video.

Choate said that while she was not bullied as a student, she felt belittled by her peers because “in small town Maine, I was trying to be a singer.”

Choate now lives in Portland but travels at least monthly with the band performing, including at the All American Game in Las Vegas on March 31.

She is in the process of recording a solo album and plans to release six or seven songs on it by July. Eventually she hopes she’ll be signed to a major record label — but she wants to remain the same artist she is now.

“In this industry, everyone can win,” she said. “Five different people can be making music. We’re all going to touch our fans. It’s an art form — it’s to touch people’s lives and make an impact on them.”

 

Abigail Austin — 621-5631
[email protected]
Twitter: @AbigailAustinKJ

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