Who is Darryl Syms?
THE SHORT STORY...
I’ve been playing guitar since I was 13, with no prior experience on any other instrument. I lived in the UK at this time, and was inspired by my former guitar teacher to take up the instrument. I was very lucky to be guided in talented hands, and continuously inspired and challenged to strive for success as a musician. I remember taking every opportunity outside of school classes to hang out and watch my teacher and his best students, I found it memorising and inspiring. Within the first couple years of playing I was sure that I wanted to pursue music as a career.
Through my teen-hood I would be practicing anywhere up to 10hrs a day, taking my guitar everywhere that I went. I did this for nothing more than the enjoyment it gave me. Around 16 during the early growth of YouTube I felt inspired to get my hands on a camera. For a few years I had to pinch my parents in secret (sorry Dad) since I couldn’t afford my own. I quickly grew to enjoy the art of video production, which compliments audio production like sand does the ocean. I posted a handful of YouTube videos at the time but I was extremely self critical and scared of what others might think, so it was never long before I took the videos down and re-did them over and over. It took me a few years to get over the barrier of self-confidence, and when I eventually began to accept myself for who I was I would post very occasional videos and considered my YouTube channel to be a portfolio of my own achievements. This “portfolio” didn’t receive much recognition at all, but it helped greatly when I decided to create a website and advertise for guitar lessons in my city. I quickly became quite established as a guitar teacher because unlike 99% of other teachers, I had video proof that I could play guitar and people found that inspiring.
As adulthood approached me I was lucky enough to have a range of career opportunities to choose from, but my heart was always set on playing the guitar as a career, somehow. This was understandably a bit disappointing for my family because they saw my academic potential and hoped that I would strive for a more “reliable” and “stable” career. It certainly would have been easier that way in some regards, but I took the hard route because I just can’t resist a good challenge and I saw no alternatives to my primary passion.
Teaching seemed like the easiest and most accessible way to make money, but as a newbie on the scene it wasn’t nearly enough for me to buy a car, pay rent, and endure the costly life of an adult. I took a job in retail and booked my guitar students around that. Cycling was my method of commuting everywhere, and cycling through steep hilly terrain on a single-speed bike with a guitar on your back is no fun, trust me.. but it had to be done! Despite the challenges, I worked incredibly hard to deliver the best job that I could to my students.
After years of perseverance I finally had enough students to quit retail, and I had a car which saved so much time on transport. With the extra time I could reinvest it into my own practice, and create YouTube videos again… oh and surfing. Whilst I’d love to talk all about my surfing experience/career, you’re not here for that so let’s just say that for a few years hereafter I was just cruisin’. During this time I also worked in two high schools as a guitar teacher.
In 2018 one of my YouTube videos got significantly more exposure than usual, and consequently I quickly reached 1000 subscribers – this was an incredible achievement for me! “Making it” on YouTube was always a ridiculously farfetched dream of mine, but it was at this point that I realised that – maybe it doesn’t have to be a dream.
Fast forward to now, my YouTube channel has over 30,000 subscribers and over 3,000,000 views! I’ve created my own successful online guitar school with students across 60+ countries, worked and collaborated with a number of industry leading brands, and done session work for a mixture of clients both live and in studio.
It’s been a tough ride, but a fun one!
Favourite Guitar Players: Andy Timmons, Paul Gilbert, Nick Johnston, John Mayer, Mateus Asato, Mark Lettieri, Guthrie Govan, Takayoshi Ohmura, Plini, David Maxim Micic, Richie Kotzen, Mika Tyyska, Michael Lee Firkins, Jude Smith, Lari Basilio, John Connearn, Andy McKee, Calum Graham, and many more…
Favourite Bands: Dirty Loops, Snarky Puppy, Mr Big, Danger Danger, Racer X, Toto, Paramore, Giant, Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars, The 1975, Polyphia, Surfaces, and many more, changing every day…
Other Interests Besides MUSIC:
- Web Design
- Vegan Lifestyle (Ethics, Nutrition, Environmentalism)
A handful of my favourite projects: