London calling

Camden-based Cork singer- songwriter Sarah-Beth has released her new single Inner Life.

From Kilmurry, Sarah- Beth was previously lead singer of the Cork-based genre- bending band Luunah.

Formed while she was studying at Cork School of Music, Luunah’s album has been streamed more than 250,000 times.

But the singer-songwriter, whose real name is Sarah-Beth O’Mullane but goes professionally by Sarah- Beth, moved to London in September to pursue a more solo endeavour in collaboration with producer Josh Northwood.

Inner Life is the first fruit of their collaboration but further singles and an EP are expected in 2022.

The singer-songwriter, music teacher and visual artist says she uses music as her means of interpreting the world.

Relationships, philosophy and visual art are all derivatives from which she seeks inspiration.

She intends to paint vibrant pictures in the mind of the listener through emotive language and instrumentation.

Sarah-Beth explains Inner Life is about memories and the place they hold for her.

She says: “The inner world is a sacred place – boundless yet intimate.

“It is where memories, thoughts and emotional imprints are kept, shielded from the ever changing elements of time and reality.

“This song is dedicated to all those who have crossed my path and left a lasting mark. It is for those I have loved and inevitably, learnt from.

“I wrote it during lockdown.

“At the beginning, it was about one person. When I began writing it, that was the focus.

“My songs tend to write themselves a lot of the time and I just let whatever happens happen within the song.

“What I feel now when I listen to that song is just all the memories that I have with people.

“I feel like memories all gather inside me.

“Even though time moves on, and I go through time, the memories are always in this special place within my mind.

“I like to collect them there.

“It’s a place I go usually when I just go inside my head when the world is too much or sometimes I’m just daydreaming or I’m just reflecting at night time or whatever.

“I just think back on what I’ve done with people, experiences I’ve had.

“There’s a world inside my head really.

“There’s nice quote from John O’Donoghue, the Irish poet, and he says that there’s a place where memories secretly gather. And I like that idea.

“I think that resonates with why I wrote it, so I think it’s probably a common feeling for a lot of people, that your dreams and your memories and your emotions that you felt when you were younger or even in the last year can gather.

“It’s like they’re in a room of your house and they’re all just there together and you can kind of go back and visit them whenever you want.

“You don’t have to go back to them. They’re there for you if you want.

“I think it’s a nice thing if you want to go back visiting fond memories, maybe sometimes bad memories too, you can also go back to them and learn from them.

“But I think it’s valuable to have them all the same, regardless of whether it’s a good or bad experience.”

Sarah-Beth’s memories became more important to her during lockdown.

“Lockdown made me realize that it’s important to live.

“I’ve been thinking back to festivals beforehand, even just being on the roof of my house or even drinking in a field, anything like that that we have done, like stupid things or fun things really.”

Josh approached Sarah-Beth  about a potential collaboration having seen a Colin Vearncombe cover she posted on  Instagram.

This was a positive thing to come from social networking sites that Sarah-Beth does not have an entirely positive attitude to.

“I have a very mixed relationship with social media in general.

“I’m kind of in two minds. It’s amazing, you meet so many artists and musicians.

“But then you also feel like you’re competing with everyone and it kind of feels a little bit overwhelming at times.

“I think this was a really positive thing to come out of social media for me.

“It kind of changed my view of it a lot because it was someone reaching out to collaborate.

“I looked at his stuff. I had a good feeling because I liked the music that he was producing, it seemed in sync with what I was doing.

“We would have chats for hours on zoom and stuff.

“I think that’s a massive thing, if you feel like you’re friends with someone or they understand you, it’s a lot easier to collaborate and work freely with someone that way.”

Inner Life was created remotely. Sarah-Beth and Josh may both be in England now but Josh lives in the Midlands so they continue to work that way.

Sarah-Beth found recording from home to be a positive experience she says, “I enjoyed the  process of recording at my own pace.

“I was at home and would send things to him and we would go back and forth.

“It feels similar to painting a picture, a task I return to over time. When I work in this way, I often feel the art tends to make itself.

“I actually haven’t met him in person yet.

“We still do everything online together.

“It’s kind of funny. One day we’ll meet.

“We’re still working on stuff together. While I’m here, we’re still doing a remotely as well.”

Sarah-Beth has played major festivals such as Electric Picnic, Body & Soul and Indiependence and her music has been played on RTE 1, 2FM, Today FM, BBC Northern Ireland, SPIN SW and RED FM.

It was just in July that Sarah-Beth released her Loud Demure EP. Although she says she may return to the band at some point, she now wants to explore her own sound.

The band was my main focus for the last few years.

“We released an album last year.

“It’s different in style, It’s more alternative pop, a bit more uptempo than my own stuff.

“We released that during lockdown.

“I then wanted to take some time to, I guess, serve the songs that I had been writing on my own that were a little bit more singer- songwriter and just put them out.

“So I waited after we released the Luunah stuff to do that.

“I’m just focusing on my own solo stuff at the moment.

“But I think we could return to the band stuff at some stage.”

There has clearly been no ugly break-up, more a diverging of directions.

“I’m not into the idea of trapping people or anything.  Music should be a fun thing to do so I think if anyone wants to go traveling and stuff, the option’s there for them rather than being like, ‘Oh no, you can’t leave the country because we have to serve the band’ or anything like that, you know?

“Also, I just wanted to get new life experience because I think in order to write, I need to live.

“Usually I write songs that I enjoy myself or I’m proud of from life experience.

“That was a reason for moving also.”

Luunah.

Camden has to be a rich tapestry to glean material from. Does she find her surroundings inspiring? “Yes, there’s so many characters everywhere.

“I love the people you meet and the energy of the place is quite different.

“It’s nice seeing that difference and it’s like very different.

“It’s nice seeing that difference and the different styles as well.

“I see loads of punks and then I see people who are rapping and hip-hop and then there’s folk artists and singer-songwriters.

“There’s loads of DJs. I’ve met lots of electronic producers and stuff.

“I just think the mix is amazing because it all feeds into your music, what you’re surrounded by.

“I feel now that I’m here my writing style is slightly different because I’m getting influenced by what’s around me. I enjoy that.”

The singer thinks about getting involved with some GAA but doubts she could commit but she may avail of the chance to practice some Irish language her new location affords her.

“I love GAA. I played football all my life. I stopped in college but maybe (I could start again). The only thing is with football, you have to be very dedicated and I’m working in the evenings a lot of the time.

“I see that there’s an Irish Centre in Camden so I’m going to check that out.

“I think I’d like to revive my Irish language. I think that’s the next step.

“I’d like to get back into speaking Irish.

“I think they do lessons at the centre so I have to check it out.”

Inner Life is out now.  

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