Spotlight with Sarah Darling
It’s Country Music Week and TEAMW21 have assembled at the Borderline to meet a rather special lady. She has spent more time so much time in the UK over the last 12 months that she’s almost British now! Nominally she is the support act for the closing night of the festival – but let’s face facts the majority of the audience are really here to see her.
In the ideal world this would have been a video interview but alas technical reasons have resulted in this being a written interview you’ll just have to sit back, and join us on the settees at the back of the Borderline for a chat with Sarah Darling
TeamW21: Last time we interviewed you was back at the start of the adventure with “Dream Country” at the Winemakers, it’s still almost certainly our album of the year but now it has come out and we have the official track listings and credits there are a few questions that we could not ask at the time such as how did Charlie Worsham come to play on the album?
Sarah D: Thank you for loving the album, It has only been a year since “Dream Country” came out and I just cannot stay away from the UK. I feel so loved and the album seems to have made a connection and I’m in love with my fans for giving that to me – it really is the greatest gift,
Sarah D: It’s such an amazing story, my producer Larissa Maestro and Charlie are really good friends, and we were trying to find a perfect person for “Where Cowboys Ride”. She called Charlie and he said “Yeah I’ll come and do it”, he was in the studio later that same day with me and we recorded it. Also Sam Palladio is on “Anchor” which he sometimes performs live, I’m honoured that he loves it so. We’re friends and talking about writing for the next album too.
TeamW21: Since then as well the album has come out on a sumptuous white vinyl release, with pictures of Paris and the Universe
Sarah D: I feel like that is my brain inside, Paris and the Universe, we wanted that artwork to look how the music sounded.
Team W21: The photo session for the cover must have been interesting as various shots have appeared on the promo versions of your singles.
Sarah D: They all came from the same photo shoot, Kacey Musgraves sister shot these, her name is Kelly Christine, it was a hot summers day in Nashville and my husband designed all that.
Team W21: It was a hot summer’s day and you look that cool?
Sarah D: I was probably sweating bullets !
At this point we hand over a mobile to Sarah where Team W21’s Singapore correspondent puts a pre recorded question
Team W21 Singapore: What was it like writing “Anchor” with Sam Palladio and how did you not get distracted? He’s a dream!
Whole table laughs
Sarah D: He is a dreamboat, of course I was distracted – it’s Sam Palladio! He came over to my flat at the time and we wrote it with another good friend Jon Tyler Flowers. The way the song happened was that he had a white t-shirt with an anchor on it. He was saying he was missing home Cornwall and we just pulled inspiration from his t-shirt.
TEAMW21: How do you pull a song from the air?
Sarah D: Let me give you an example - I wrote this amazing song last week, with Jess Sharman who writes with Ward Thomas, she was staying with me in Nashville for a couple of weeks, we were talking about diamonds, “time and pressure gives you diamonds” was a quote from pinterest and suddenly we’d written a song that is now one of my favourites.
TEAMW21: Something just struck you?
Sarah D: Sometimes it is just a phrase that’s clever that I’m looking for, and then I scribble a note , I do a lot of voice memos. Songwriting is a mystery sometimes you get something in a couple of hours or a day and then you end up with this package of beauty to release to the world. The greatest gift to me is to write a song that connects with people, that is why “Halley’s Comet” is so special, that was self therapy. Even tonight I’m doing a new song that has never been played, and I love the words and the co-writer is here. Playing with the person who helped create the song brings great synergy to the performance.
TEAMW21: You’re toured the UK twice “In the Round” with Jenn Bostic, Kyshona Armstrong & Michael Logen. How do you look back on those shows?
Sarah D: We did the second one this summer, which was twice the size of the first one. I got to enjoy the second one as we really got to travel around the UK, in a car on the other side of the road. I got to talk more to people and connect
TEAMW21: and 2 TV Specials “In The Cellar with Phil Vassar” and your own show on Vintage TV.
Sarah D: Phil is one of the nicest guys on the planet, he is so sweet and has helped me a lot in my career, I got to play on Aled Jones show, and Dean Roberts and myself got to do a whole set on that special.
TEAMW21: Throughout the summer as well you’ve been a regular at Festivals, primarily of course Buckle & Boots 2017
Sarah D: Buckle & Boots was crazy and amazing, I got my face painted, I was so happy, and all my friends were there. I felt it was like a big family. This was my first festival season and next year I think they’ll be even more.
TEAMW21: At Buckle & Boots, there was one new song that was exceptionally special and made a deep impact – the song you played with Jenn Bostic “I Pray For You”
Sarah D: It’s a wonderful song, it is being considered for the next full project
TEAMW21: The audience were hushed listening to it
Sarah D: We were so nervous playing it, we hadn’t played it together since we wrote it, we were beating ourselves up after saying we hit the wrong chord there but in the end, it is a powerful song and people felt something and that is all that matters.
TEAMW21: With the events of this week ( Las Vegas shooting) it is a song that needs to come out
Sarah D: I feel that is the best thing you can do as a singer songwriter is to sing those sorts of songs. That’s my job.
TEAM W21: On the tour you seemed to be falling back in love with some of your older songs?
Sarah D: Yes ( gasps excitedly in agreement!) One in particular that I am cutting on the next album is “Wasted”,. It’s an old song written about an ex boyfriend – I had packed the song away and I was messing around at sound check and Michael Logen said “What are you playing? That is an amazing song”. I played it that night in my own way, a totally different version and fell back in love. It’s the one where at the end of the night people will come up and say “I really relate to that song” whether it is alcoholism or any sort of addiction or when anybody feels that they just are not being paid attention to in a relationship. which is the worst feeling in the world and I went through that personally.
TEAMW21: You’ve also got “More Issues Than Vogue” up your sleeve.
Sarah D: ( Laughs) I’m such a mixed bag of genres! It is so silly I love that song, it is Jenn’s favourite song too.
TEAM W21: You’ve just come off the back of a special show at the Bluebird Café, with Jess Sharman, Jeff Cohen and Ward Thomas?
Sarah D: I actually got to write a song with Ward Thomas! A really emotional song that we all connected to about how we grew up.
TEAM W21: There is a connection between yourself and Ward Thomas with Cheyenne Medders ( who writes and plays with Sarah) and co wrote “Lose Me” on “Cartwheels”, who is I believe cousin of Rebekah Powell who writes with them as well.
Sarah D: Rebekah Powell and I wrote “Halley’s Comet” with Cheyenne, then she wrote with Ward Thomas and then I toured with them and met Jess Sharman! Only last week we were all together in Nashville having a barbecue! I got to hang out with Catherine who is a baker like me, she bakes cakes!
TEAM W21: Mentioning baking cannot pass without once again revealing this – ( We reveal Sarah’s Cook book!)
Sarah D: I want you all to know something – I don’t know when this was, one Christmas way back when. I put all my family recipes of all the family members. When you come to my house at Christmas, each member has their own dish that they are famous for, for example Tina’s Pizza Dips! Some of these are very American! Momma's Meat Loaf is great. It’s very special.
TEAMW21: Speaking of special shows you have one coming up at Christmas time at St Pancras Old Church
Sarah D: I’m so excited, it was only a month ago that I put a Christmas album together. I’d recorded 4 songs previously and recorded 4 new ones, so it’s 8 tracks called “Winter Wonderland”. It is “Dream Country” meets Christmas!
TEAMW21: We mentioned stars earlier – were you at home for the recent eclipse?
Sarah D: I was in the most amazing place during the solar eclipse – I was in Wyoming on top of a mountain watching full totality where I shot my “Where Cowboys Ride” video. I was there with my parents, my husband and my band and it was like an out of body experience
TEAMW21: One last question as we know you need to sound check – Last time we did an interview “Cheeky” was the latest word that you had picked up
Sarah D: (Laughs and then shouts over to guitarist Dean – he offers up “hello mate!) I do not say “Hello mate”
She ponders for a few seconds
Sarah D: I do say totes a lot and brill. I’ve been hanging out with Jess Sharman and she says “Astonishing” and it makes me feel how polished your British accents are. Where I come from it is very “Field Of Dreams”, very mid Western
TEAMW21 We’ve adopted you anyway so you are an honourary Brit!
Sarah D: Ah I’m happy being part of the W21 family!
Winter Wonderland is available now!
Our review https://www.w21music.com/single-post/2017/11/17/Sarah-Darling-Winter-Wonderland-EP
The St Pancras show is now SOLD OUT however Sarah’s next London show, her biggest to date will be at Union Chapel on Monday 5th March.