Born to a Belgian-Congolese dad working as a professional guitarist (as a member of the Kalema project) and a poet/writer mum, it was always on the cards that Sarah would end up embracing a life in music and writing. The day she turned 16, her dad gave her an acoustic guitar as a birthday present, an instrument she was familiar with after years of seeing him fretting chords. The spark was instant, with Sarah, rather secretly, finding a means of expression and of opening up to other people in writing songs. Adding her own lyrics to the melodies she was crafting into songs, she tentatively posted her tunes on You Tube.
In 2009, she ventured further into a life of music by submitting a rough draft of a song on Akamusic, which was finalised by 283 producers and ended up as her first single: Let’s believe. In 2010, she embarked on a second project, which harnessed the support of 600 producers and culminated in the release of her debut For Those Who Believe in 2011, a body of work packed with bright and colourful melodies, carried by her mellow and stirring voice. With compositions informed by the music she loves, from Nina Simone to Tracy Chapman via Jimi Hendrix, John Mayer, Richie Havens, and Gnarls Barkley. Sarah discontinued her anthropology studies to fully immerse herself in her musical ambitions, taking her first steps on the stage and playing support slots for the likes of Yael Naim, Emeli Sandé, James Morrison and Amadou & Mariam.
In March 2013, this was followed by a LIVE album, recorded during a concert in “Studio1” at the Flagey cultural events venue where Sarah delivered acoustic versions of the songs from her first album, as well as a handful of covers played with various other artists, including a string quartet. This concert was also the first time when she was joined on stage by her dad Sylvain Carlier, whom she asked to produce her third album SMS. The album was recorded at SynSound studio, which Sarah chose as much for its technical qualities as for the sheer human qualities of its owner, Dan Lacksman. Closely supervising each stage of the album’s creation, Sarah found her bearings during the production, asserting her style which is best described as a gentle blend of folk, pop and soul that is open to influences from world music.
Now she is back, after taking her time to regain her freedom. Free from all ties and commitments, Sarah is ready to take flight again by going back to basics: her warm and captivating voice, embedded in a sun-drenched groove, her spontaneity and creativity. And above all else, her freedom, in seeking the collective support from all those people who have backed her since her musical awakening.
Lately, Sarah has been getting her bearings back and rediscovering the fun of songwriting and working on lyrics. She has been discovering new instruments and exploring new ways of approaching music.
Crested by the voice of a young woman who has come back all the stronger, her new album exudes a different colour that its predecessors. As the fruit of her regained freedom, this 4th album is intuitive as much as it is structured. Sarah has moved away from the guitar/vocal set-up which she adopted to come up with and share ideas with musicians, to create arrangements as a band. She is now doing her own pre-production on the computer to directly infuse the songs with the kind of texture she is looking to develop.
The ties that bind
The thing that underpins Sarah’s work is the strength of the ties that bind.
Just like the previous album, Sarah is keen to record at Dan Lacksman’s studio. Dan is none other than the father of Caroline Lacksman who was the press agent who promoted Sarah’s debut album. She will be working alongside Sarah to set this new adventure in motion.
The ties that bind also means cooperation and collective responsibility, anything but cut-throat competition and the pursuit of success at any cost. Something which Sarah has properly cottoned onto, after spending long months of self-questioning and near-exhaustion, caught up in a system which she did not identify with, which places tapping into an audience above anything else, without a thought for togetherness, the sheer fun of creating music together and the sense of satisfaction that comes with a job well done.
Today, Sarah has recorded her new album, Shy Girl, thanks to everyone who stood by her by co-funding this joyful album which has had a long time to blossom, embodying her regained freedom and creativity, but equally the freedom and creativity of all artists who are keen to give the very best they have to offer, in a human spirit of togetherness and solidarity.
RELEASE : April 26th.
LISTEN TO SARAH CARLIER
Check out all the songs that Sarah Carlier has available.