Where In The World is a significant milestone on an exceptional musical journey.
From its heart, Where In The World speaks of love lost, love found, and love remembered in Sylvia's transcendent and unmistakable voice. It is a striking collection of finely crafted songs brought to life by vocal performances that reveal their true essence.
Where In The World marks the culmination of an 11-year musical collaboration between Sylvia and co-producer/instrumentalist John Mock. John's musicianship transforms this "solo" album into a series of duets featuring him on a variety of instruments ranging from guitar and mandolin to uilleann pipes. Another shaping force is songwriter Craig Bickhardt. He penned four of the eleven songs, including the title cut. Craig has recorded, co-written and performed with Sylvia since 1984.
Sylvia's musical journey began at age 3 when she was asked to sing at a small church near her hometown of Kokomo, Indiana. This was all it took to set Sylvia on a course that eventually led her to Nashville soon after high school graduation.
Drifter was her first No. 1 single and the title of her 1981 debut album for RCA Records. The album contained several Top Ten songs, including "Tumbleweed" and "Heart On The Mend." In 1982, with the release of her second album, Just Sylvia, "Nobody" sold two million copies and was No. 1 on all country music charts. It was also a Top 20 crossover hit on Billboard's Top 100.
In 1983, Sylvia was the Academy of Country Music's "Female Vocalist of the Year" and a Grammy nominee for "Best Female Vocalist." Recording for RCA until the end of 1987, Sylvia garnered a total of 13 Top Ten and No. 1 songs, and sold over 4 million records.
Over an eight-year period, Sylvia crisscrossed America many times with her popular concert performances (over 200 per year), and she was a frequent guest on network television talk shows and specials - from "The Today Show" and "Good Morning, America" to "Dick Clark's American Bandstand" and the "Country Music Awards."
Her decision to stop touring and recording at the end of the 1980's was not fueled by the grueling schedule, as some might guess, but by her desire to bring more of herself to the music. So, she turned her energies to songwriting and began a new phase of her journey.
For Sylvia, it all begins with a compelling song.
"I don't think I really began to sing, until I started writing songs. That's when I learned to sing a song from the inside out. A great vocal performance, for me, is when it feels like a conversation." Sylvia continues, "I didn't write any of the songs on Where In The World, but I feel my experience as a songwriter has helped me to access the music on a deeper level."
Where In The World follows Sylvia's 1996 release, The Real Story. Both productions, released on Sylvia's own label Red Pony Records, share an appreciation for the timelessness of acoustic instrumentation. From Joni Mitchell's 1960's classic "Marcie" and Bickhardt's haunting "Crazy Nightingale" to Cheryl Wheeler's wistful "Arrow" and the Beatles' hit "In My Life," we're taken through a range of emotions that weave a "whole piece of fabric."
"I feel I'm on the trail of where I want to be musically," Sylvia explains. "Ten years ago I wanted to do this, but I couldn't for many reasons. Today, independent artists like me can have a lot more creative freedom. Since recording has become more affordable, artists can make great sounding records in a more relaxed atmosphere.
"The commercial world of music can be very stifling. You are 'put in a box' and labeled for marketing purposes long before you know who you are. As an artist, that's how I felt in the '80's. And I'm seeing, clearer and clearer all the time, why I had to stop. There was just no place to grow, in that box.
"I want to create music I care about and that inspires me," Sylvia says. "I hope people will enjoy this music, but honestly we created Where In The World just as we wanted, without any expectations beyond that. Anything that happens after that is icing on the cake."
And the journey continues...