Sari Schorr – Elemental
The music and soul burst out of this performer and with a mustard-hot band she will soon be making more friends at live shows across the UK and Europe. I heard Peggy Lee in there straight away, so that artist seemed worth mentioning. You are about to learn what inspires this singer and a little of how she does it all:
How do you look after your voice? Any rituals?
More sacrifices than rituals. Being conjoined with your instrument means healthy living becomes the first line of defence in the ongoing battle to protect my voice. I run (mostly away from things and large objects moving in my direction), I do yoga (as an excuse to wear Lulu Lemon) and save the screaming for special occasions (and Wi-Fi outages). As much as I love coffee, whisky and chocolate, I try to do without them on show days because they supposedly dehydrate the vocal cords. But, maybe vocal cords prefer to be dehydrated. Anyway, I love essential oils, like lavender and eucalyptus, and nothing as of yet prevents me from using them generously before I go on stage.
Do the darker elements on your music and delivery act as any kind of valve or release I suspect your answer may include something on versatility, but what does Innes Sibun’s guitar style bring to your music??
Music inspires, energizes and calms me. It also gives me a safe outlet for the those volatile emotions that thrash around for an outlet. I think most of us have a pressure cooker simmering away beneath that, “I’m coping fine” face.
Regarding Innes’ guitar playing – he’s so explosive and expressive, you can almost hear the lyrics articulating themselves through his amp. Innes uses his guitar like a paint brush to create a picture of the song.
Best 2nd or follow up album of all time? (Any artist) and why? ( I love The Doors ‘Strange Days’)
That’s a great choice. I’ll add Led Zeppelin ll. It’s perhaps Led Zeppelin’s finest hour.
Every now and then a touch of Peggy Lee tinges your singing…are you or were you a fan?
That’s the first time anyone has drawn that comparison and I really like it. Yes, I’m a big fan of her work. Peggy became an influence early on when my interests lead me to singers like Jo Stafford, Carmen McRae and Nancy Wilson.
Suggest an ‘expanded edition’ album release where the additional cuts impress you…and why?
Grace – Legacy Edition by Jeff Buckley. It would definitely make it as one of my “desert island records.”
I love the tracks on Disc Two which are live recordings from the original session that were just unreleased for whatever reason. You can sense how much pressure Jeff put on himself as he strove for perfection. He breaks my heart.
Name an actor or actress who made a listenable song recording – and what’s the appeal?
I love the recordings Jane Birkin made with Serge Gainsbourg and the story of their epic, albeit torrid love affair. I’ve listened endlessly to “Je t’aime moi non plus.” I agree that it’s one of the most erotic love song ever written. I was lucky enough to have worked closely with Jane and Marianne Faithful during an Amnesty International music project. Getting to know them both changed my life.
Where are you planning to tour next?
I’m looking forward to our upcoming tour in the UK. Then we’ll be in France, Belgium and Holland. We’ll go wherever the music leads us. Luckily, we’re not afraid of heights.
Which of your own recordings to date show you at your most a/ aggressive b/ relaxed c/ confused?
That’s a good question. OK, here goes:
Aggressive: Black Betty
Relaxed: Demolition Man
Confused: Damn The Reason
Which artist did you go to see perform with low expectations but ended up impressed? Where and when was this?
Paul McCartney. When I was touring with Joe Louis Walker, we had a co-bill with Paul and John Fogerty in Las Vegas. I didn’t expect to be blown away by his performance. But experiencing him so up close was really impressive. We kept making eye contact. I was sure he was going to ask me to leave Joe and jump on his bandwagon and tour the world with him. He must still be looking for my number!
Where in the world in your opinion is live music best received? What venues appeal?
Music is best received where it is needed most.
One of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had was when I sang in a church in Haiti. I was there doing humanitarian work after the devastating earthquake. I was asked to sing to the emotionally drained congregation. I started softly with my voice quivering. By the end of the song, the entire congregation was on their feet, singing with me, celebrating life and ready to take on the challenges waiting beyond the church walls.
Is there a book or novel you would like to create the music for if filmed?
The first book that comes to mind is “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd. A central part of the story reveals the bond between a mother and daughter and the heart-wrenching tale of their lives during the horrific days of slavery. My mom and I are very close, in fact, she is my best friend, so this book hit me hard.
Two tickets suddenly arrive for a live performance, they are for someone you have always wanted to see…….which act or artist and which numbers will be hoping to hear?
I’d love to see Joe Bonamassa. I’m a big fan of his work. I have tremendous respect for him as an artist, innovator and leading role model for a new generation of Blues guitarist. He is our greatest advocate for keeping the Blues alive.
Has a radio DJ anywhere ( and any era) ever impressed you and if so why?
There are wonderful people working hard behind the scenes in radio, especially in the UK. I’ve been fortunate enough to speak with many of them. They dedicate themselves to providing their listeners with quality music that transcends commercial consideration and profit driven motivation.
Can you dance? Do you dance? How do your family rate your dancing?
My best work is horizontal.
Please tell us about the song ‘Damn The Reason’
“Damn the Reason” is about domestic violence. Domestic violence is an epidemic affecting women and men around the world, regardless of nationality, economic status, sexual orientation, race, religion or age. I wanted to offer perspective on the complicated and soul destroying predicament victims can face.
Would you say you were closer in style to Lucinda Williams than say Bonnie Raitt or Beth Hart?
You’ve picked three of my favourite artists. Each formidable and each responsible for contributing so much beauty to the world through their talent and love of music. I can understand why comparisons have been drawn between Lucinda and myself. We both fuse rock, blues and Americana into our song writing.
What two things have you learned NEVER to do on stage?
1. I never bring my problems on stage with me. No matter what might be going on in my life, I leave it at the stage door and drag it around with me after the show.
2. I never give less than everything. It’s a privilege to create and share music. That honour comes with the responsibility to respect your audience and the music by always giving everything you’ve got.
Please recommend a record – any artist – that would make a long drive more pleasant.
Freddie King’s Burglar produced by Mike Vernon
Walter Trout is one of our favourite acts and indeed a friend to this site – what does his playing mean to you? How pleased were you to have him contribute to your own record?
I adore Walter. He has always been so supportive. We first met in Oklahoma on a big festival. I was singing with Joe Louis Walker at the time. We then reconnected at the Lead Belly Fest at Carnegie Hall. Listen to Walter play, and you’ll hear a genius at work. He manifests a spiritual energy that is tangible to his audience. I am so honoured to have him on the record.
Did you ever see any acts at CBGB’s e.g. Talking Heads, Blondie, Living Colour? There is something about the city (not necessarily NY) about your music..
I used to play CBGS’s. It was a venue like no other. My feet would stick to the stage floor – it was so wonderfully filthy. There were so many years of history in all that grime; no one dared remove it.
I think NYC is a uniquely creative place because of its cultural diversity. The influence of rock, soul, and jazz is definitely embedded into my music.
Which two songs in your opinion say the most about David Bowie, from his recordings ? any reasons?
“The London Boys” another Mike Vernon production. It was Bowie’s most theatrical performance up to that point. It was also more David Jones that Bowie which gives us some insight into him as a suburban teenager before he became the urban artist.
“Lazarus” is my second choice. Between these milestones lies the astonishing evolution of an icon.
Sari Schorr’s debut album “A Force of Nature” is released by Manhaton Records on Friday 2nd September 2016. Further info: www.sarischorr.com
Don’t miss Sari Schorr on tour as follows –
Sept 5 Half Moon Putney, London, UK (Album Launch)
Sept 9 Darlington RnB Club, The Forum Music Centre, Darlington, UK
Sept 10 Blues Club, Devizes, Wiltshire, UK
Sept 11 Winchester Discovery Centre, Winchester, UK
Sept 14 The Tunnels, Bristol, UK
Sept 15 Southern Pavilion, Worthing Pier, West Sussex, UK
Sept 16 New Crawdaddy, Billericay Town FC Billericay, UK
Sept 17 Old Town Hall, High Street, Hemel Hempstead, UK
Sept 23 Selby Town Hall Yorkshire, UK
Sept 24 The Iron Road, Evesham, Worcestershire, UK
Sept 25 Hope Tavern, Caistor Rd, Holton-le-Moor, Market Rasen, Lincs, UK
Sept 28 Vonnies Blues Club, Cheltenham
Sept 29 Cranleigh Arts Centre, High Street, Cranleigh, Surrey
Sept 30 B.A.R Festival, France
October 1 Hereford Blues Club, Booth Hall, Hereford, UK
October 6 Bar Brunel Bridgewater, UK
October 7 Deux Rivieres Blues Festival, Brittany, France