There was a time when Sydney Sierota was trying to do pretty much anything but music.
"I tried the sports thing, I tried dance, all sorts of things that normal kids would do," says the 17-year-old Echosmith frontwoman. "But it was a no-brainer to do music."
So the high-schooler ended up forming Southern California punk-pop combo Echosmith with her brothers, drummer Graham, 15; bassist Noah, 18; and guitarist Jamie, 21.
"We grew up in a very musical household, our parents are musicians and artists, so it was a very artsy house to live in," says Sydney, who handles vocals and keyboards.
With production by Mike Elizondo, whose credits range from Dr. Dre to Maroon 5, Echosmith's recently released Talking Dreams does sound a bit, well, mature for such youthful siblings. They also got by with a little help from their dad, Jeffery David, who manages the group and co-wrote hook-filled material like "Cool Kids," "Let's Love" and "Come Together." He schools them in recording techniques in their home studio, which is basically a converted garage.
"We can't even park our cars anymore," sighs Sydney. "Music is just too important."
Signed to Warner Bros. Records and currently out on the road as part of the Warped Tour, Sydney and her brothers are now pleased that the Echosmith apple didn't fall too far from the family tree.
"Our dad is a music producer and a songwriter and musician," explains the proud daughter and powerhouse singer. "He goes by Jeffery David because our last name is too difficult to spell."
Sydney's father also taught his kids the importance of lyrical honesty in songwriting, as well as the importance of storytelling and metaphors.
"It was just natural for all of us to try to write together. We weren't just doing it out of guilt. We had written a lot of other songs with other people, but we kept coming back to these songs that we wrote with him."
Before the band's sudden takeoff, Sydney spent some six years trying her hand at every type of dance her school offered. "My first day in ballet, I fell and hit my head on the barre," says the singer. She should have taken it as an ominous sign, she snickers.
All the other students started to measurably improve. She didn't. Then she took a stumbling stab at soccer — another no-go. Her brothers had already lured her into singing with them, after school. "And then I realized 'Man! I like doing music better than all of this! So I just need to do that instead.'"
While the band began as a creative hobby, the siblings soon noticed that they preferred writing and rehearsing with each other more than hanging out with friends.
"We had actually been recording our entire lives," explains Sydney. "We grew up in the studio, grew up doing demos, whether it was Christmas songs or whatever else. And we all knew that we'd be playing music forever, but we didn't know in what capacity that would be."