“This song really came from our hearts,” Echosmith singer Sydney Sierota tells Billboard of the alt-pop trio’s new single “Lonely Generation,” out today (Sept. 27). “We’re all forgetting that we need real, substantial, deep relationships in our lives besides social media. It can be used for good, but it can’t replace that real-life connection.”
She speaks for herself and on behalf of her sibling bandmates, bassist Noah and drummer Graham, when she continues to explain that social media is why her generation really does feel, as the song title suggests, lonely. In a time when we’re more technically connected than we ever have been, we have at the same time, they argue, never felt more isolated.
“It’s really sad, and it’s definitely something that I think needs to be talked about more,” says Sydney, explaining that with this track, she hopes to raise awareness of our bad habits. “If anyone else feels this way too, I hope they can hear this song and feel a little better about it. I hope they can also feel inspired to do something about it.”
“Empty conversations / I’ve disconnected, now I’m by myself,” Sydney sings somberly on the new song’s chorus. The lyrics are emotionally heavy, but the instrumentation creates quite a contrast. In fact, if the listener was to entirely block out the lyrics, they just might mistake the song for a bright, sunshine-infused anthem with mandolin and bouncy synths.
“It feels really good for some reason,” Sydney says of the stark contrast. “We were picturing playing it live like we always do when we record songs, and I think this song will be really, really fun to play in front of people… It turned out cooler than I could have hoped for.”
This is also the first single the trio has released independently, after they formed their own label, Echosmith Music LLC, in 2018 with a deal with Warner/ADA. Echosmith was previously signed to Warner Records, where the group scored its top 20 breakthrough hit, “Cool Kids.”
“At the end of the day, we get to decide what we want to do and put out the music we want to put out,” Sydney shares enthusiastically. “We get to be more artistic and have more creative freedom, and that’s really exciting. It’s not very common anymore. Everyone does it their own way, and that’s totally fine, but I’m loving it. Who knows the future, but I would love to keep doing it this way.” According to the singer/keyboardist, going indie can be overwhelming, but there’s no better feeling than watching a project come together, knowing that she and the band had everything to do with it.
“Lonely Generation” follows their previously released single “Over My Head,” which cracked the Adult Pop Songs chart at No. 28, and also had a darker tone in comparison to the rest of the trio’s discography. “The thing is, I was only 14 or 15 when we wrote and recorded all of the songs on our first album [2013’s Talking Dreams],” says the singer. “Now I’m 22 and I’ve experienced a lot more life. There are days when it’s amazing and emotionally great, and then there are days when it’s heavy and sad. So this next album is very honest. There’s still some happy love songs, but there are also songs that really talk about what we struggle with.”
Of course, Echosmith will still nod to its past at upcoming shows, including “Cool Kids.” “I actually feel like I can relate to it so much more now than I ever did, which is so funny,” Sydney says of the hit single. When the time comes to put on a show, the singer says that she never dreads having to play the song at the end of the set. “If anything, I’m looking forward to that moment too — the energy that comes when you even just start to play it… That first second is so magical. We used to play covers to get people to sing along to something back in the day, so the fact that it happens with our own song now is mind-blowing. I’m grateful.”
With “Lonely Generation,” Echosmith still has the same intentions they’ve had from the beginning: to help people feel a little more connected. “It’s really important to speak honestly about what you are going through,” says Sydney. “I really want our fans to know that they’re not alone, whether they’re going through good or bad. I would love to give them some hope with our music.”
As for the social media-specific issue that the band addresses in the new single, Sydney is proposing a challenge to herself and invites everyone to join. “Somebody told me recently that I need to spend at least 10 or 20 minutes [a day] without any sort of technology and just be in real life. I think that’s so important,” she says. “That’s something I’m going to try to do in my own life, and it’s something I would definitely want people to do after hearing this. I think that would be a good first step before, hopefully, going a whole day without our phones!”