Sydney Franklin Drops New Single “Challenger Deep”

Track art for Sydney Franklin’s “Challenger Deep”

Track art for Sydney Franklin’s “Challenger Deep”

Imagine growing up knowing that you and the closest women in your life have suffered from the same internal struggle.

Up-and-coming R&B artist Sydney Franklin released her newest single, “Challenger Deep,” last Friday. It channels a girl’s introspective experiences dealing with anxiety and depression. The song was released in partnership with the Anxiety and Depression Association of America in support of October being National Depression Education & Awareness Month.

Sydney has battled with anxiety and depression over the last three years. During her sophomore year in college, it was so bad that she had to withdraw just to focus on her mental health. Coincidentally, but unfortunately, her mother and maternal grandmother experienced the same strong wave of depression at the same exact periods in their lives.

 At one point, Sydney and her grandmother Pat were taking the same form of antidepressant medication. While this was occurring, they would share their similar reactions to the medication–vivid and illusive dreams.

The title of the song refers to a term for the deepest point of Earth. Sydney takes this idea and turns it into a way to describe the lowest she felt during her depression.

 Sydney has a way of charming her audience into listening to every last word she says. This technique was shown in her debut EP Make It Hurt, which dropped in February. This EP is a four-part soundtrack of songs: “Forever,” “Noise,” title track “Make It Hurt,” and “Figured Out.” The official music video for “Make It Hurt” was released back in September, and is now at almost 10k views. Sydney’s blunt but poetic lyrics take us on her journey through love and loss. Each song lends a hand to listeners, letting us know that we are not alone in the feelings and experiences we have.

“Challenger Deep” reminds us of “Make It Hurt” because of its bassline, which is moody, groovy and jazzy all at the same time. The song begins and ends with a voicemail from grandma Pat— “…I love you” and “…I hope you’re havin’ a great day.” The song starts-off and finishes sweet, with some bitter feelings in between. In this song, we get a sense of the emotions that Sydney is struggling with, such as confusion and frustration. She can barely recognize who she is anymore. She is so unlike herself that even strangers know that something is up and that “it’s not like [her].”

Sydney continues to compel us into listening to her story, almost as if she’s begging for someone to give her the support and affection that she so desperately craved during such a fragile time in her life. Leading us through her subconscious dreams, we get to listen to what she fears about herself and her desires in life. At one point in the song, rather than talking about the pitting feeling within her stomach, she talks about a blue and yellow sky.

The song seems to take a positive turn until we learn that she is only dreaming, and her alarm is about to wake her from the paradise she only seems to know during sweet slumber. As she is waking up, she realizes that because she is not experiencing the same pleasantness of her dreams in real life, she is no longer anything like herself. Pre-depression and anxiety Sydney would have always looked at the glass half-full. It seems like it could be a plea for help.

Sydney performing alongside her guitar player at a SoFar Sounds show in Bushwick

Sydney performing alongside her guitar player at a SoFar Sounds show in Bushwick

“Challenger Deep” drives us directly into the mind of the artist. Sydney does a graceful job of exposing her emotions and is able to reveal them to her audience through her enticing style and songwriting.