Young Sienna Katelyn has a pop star appeal

By Indira Laisram
Sienna Katelyn

At just ten years of age, Sienna Katelyn has her first original song ‘CRY’. Quite a musical output for someone this young but for this Grade Four student of Bethany Catholic Primary School, Werribee, music is something that makes her “very happy”.

Sienna, who has been singing since the age of six, says the song has been a year in the making. She started writing the lyrics last year with her father Mario Desmier, but they never got round to completing it. However, with the lockdown this year they found time to give it the necessary finesse and finally finish it.

After their initial work, Sienna says they sent the song to her uncle Bobby Baskaran, who also had a hand in producing it. Baskaran then got it mastered by the award-winning mastering engineer Reuben Cohen, known for his works in the Game of Thrones, among others.

The result is a full stage-worthy puncher, a single-story song that somehow assumes great proportions. It gets you listening to it more than once, for sure. Sienna starts off the track “You, keep telling me stories, telling me lies” in an innocent voice which diffuses into a really pleasing sound. In the song, she observes, “I can’t read between the lines / You leave me mystified / You don’t seem to understand“, and posits that the good lies in breaking free.

Sienna with her dad Mario

The song, therefore, has a message. “It is about how friends can be controlling and friendships can be difficult sometimes. It happened to me a couple of years ago and I wanted to address my feelings through the song,” says Sienna.

“We’ve seen a lot of music and forums addressing bullying and the like, but not many about controlling friendships, which can also be toxic,” adds her mother Diana.

Released last week, CRY has already garnered more than 11k views on Facebook. The song is available on all major streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and Google Play.

What is also exceptional is that while the song throws light on the serious issue of bullying, the video has been made in a light-hearted way with Zoe, Sienna’s younger sister, shown as annoying her. According to Diana, “We had to do add humour to it because it is about a kid trying to convey the message.”

The family is very happy that Sienna’s teacher is sharing the music video with the whole school.

Sienna with her sister Joe

Sienna aspires to be a professional singer when she grows up. Much of what she is now is due to her music-loving family and culture, believes her mother. An Anglo-Indian family, they migrated from Chennai in India and as Diana says, “My husband’s entire family is musically inclined. Everyone plays some instrument or the other, everyone loves singing and at the end of every party there is always someone who comes out with a guitar. That is very much a part of our culture.”

Last year, Sienna also won the Fast Track competition in her age group. Fast Track Talent was founded in Melbourne in 2013 by co-founders Christine Collyer and Ben Brazil. Initially designed to give aspiring performers additional stage time opportunities, the platform quickly evolved into the largest non-televised talent competition in Australia.

“Sienna won the overall prize in her age group. She was quite pleased because not only was it her first major competition, but she was so nervous and didn’t even know what it was out there. She sang ‘I will always love you’ by Whitney Houston for the finals,” says Diana.

Sienna with her dad Mario

The family has a small studio at their Werribee home with few instruments. “Sienna and her dad are like two peas in a pod. They spend a lot of time in the music room working out songs and both are very creative with the way they change songs, it’s a great connection,” adds Diana.

Part of her experience of music is practising songs, says Sienna, who is into a lot of community events. “It is kind of sad, I don’t get to perform anymore because of Covid,” she rues.

Sienna is extending her appeal through social media via Facebook and Instagram. She describes herself as ‘crazy, fun and joyful.’

At the moment, she has no favourite song but loves anything to do with Ariana Grande or R&B music. “I like to sing a lot, it just calms me down and I feel very happy.”

If you watch Sienna’s videos, you can see her sing, opening her heart and arranged acoustically with her guitarist father. It will be fascinating to see how this translates into the music world in the long run.

This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas

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