In Photos With Sarah Close

Tuesday 18 September 2018
Photography Aaron Crossman

Sarah Close has undeniable talent, creating dynamic and uplifting pop gems, making her an exciting artist to watch. Following her successful EP Caught Up, Sarah Close is back with the eagerly anticipated release of her two new singles ‘You Say’ and ‘Crazy Kind’.

Hailing from the Isle of White, and songwriting since she was 6, Sarah started a YouTube channel at 14 with the hopes it would lead to pop stardom, and that’s just what it did. Previously working alongside Parlophone Records, Sarah is now back in full control, releasing music independently via her very own label, The Kodiak Club.

We’re excited to see what the future holds for Sarah Close, in the meantime, we discussed her new record label and the advice she’d give to her 14-year-old self.

So firstly, we know you’ve been writing music since you were 6! Who were your favourite artists when you were growing up? And do any of them influence you now? 

Oh I absolutely adored S Club 7, when I found out that they didn’t write their own songs I cried! Other than them I loved Shania Twain, Kirsty MacColl, Carole King, Weezer and Blink 182 growing up. Carole King’s songwriting definitely influences me most, I think she is a full on legend.

You originally gained popularity by posting covers on YouTube, talk us through the decision to post your first video.

I started on YouTube when I was 14, I knew I wanted to be a songwriter and put out my own music, but I really didn’t know how to go about doing that. I grew up on the Isle of Wight and even though there is a vibrant music scene going on, I knew I needed to be in London to do what I wanted to do. My thinking was that I would use my YouTube channel to make connections in a way that I couldn’t by not physically being there. I asked a friend what she thought of me putting up a video and she was so supportive, so I just went and did it!

And how did your friends and family react to the rapid growth of your YouTube channel?

I can remember so clearly the moment when I told my mum, I even remember the corner we were driving round on the route home. I had waited until I’d hit 100 subscribers because I thought if my parents didn’t want me to do it, by that point they wouldn’t be able to stop me haha. My mum’s first reaction was ‘did I use my real name?’, after that both my parents were very supportive. Equally my friends were all really happy for me and interested in this new world I had stumbled upon as it grew and grew!

Have you listened to any of these videos recently? If so, how do they make you feel?

My early early videos, which you can’t find anymore, make me equal parts cringe and laugh. I was a really terrible guitar player, and my voice was so undeveloped. It’s nice though, having that part of my life clearly captured.

What are the best and worst things about being an up and coming artist? 

It’s super exciting to be up and coming, I love getting comments from people who are just finding my music. The worst part would be that it’s terrifying, putting your music and yourself out there is a vulnerable place to be, but I’ve found that the best things in life should always be a little scary.

It’s an exciting time for you, you’re taking control over your creative and musical direction! Tell us a bit about The Kodiak Club

I for sure am! The Kodiak Club is my record label, the name came from a song I wrote called Kodiak. It was the first song that got a ‘wow’ reaction from my manager at the time and it’s also the last song I wrote before I moved out of home to London, so it’s a special one for me. I knew I wanted to start my own label and I wanted it to feel like a treehouse club that you would have as a kid with your friends. Online, you have to sign up to TKC to get the password, and on the site is lots of extra bits of info about me that I don’t put anywhere else. I have lots more plans for it, one day I would love to sign and develop other artists and I want to do a clothing line, right now I’m taking it step by step.

So, you’ve released your highly anticipated new single, ‘You Say’, which was written based on your personal experiences. Is writing anecdotally how you best like to make your music? If so, why?

I really love conversational lyrics and they’re what I enjoy writing most! I’m drawn to artists that write in a way that gets their personality across, The 1975, SZA, Charli XCX and Rex Orange County are all really good at that and I admire them all. I think the strongest lyrics are when they feel real and that’s what I try and instil in my writing!

And what’s the reaction been like to the song? 

It’s been really good, I think it was the right single to put out before my other new songs. I’ve had a couple funny messages from people who have told me that whilst listening to the song, it dawned on them that they were in the same situation and needed to get out, which is sweet!!

How did you feel ahead of the release of ‘Crazy Kind’?

Buzzing! And nervous! It’s quite a personal song and I think people might be able to work out who it’s about, which is scary. But I really love the track, one day I just booked a flight to Barcelona for that evening and had 23 hours in the city to do whatever we felt like, it was the first time I’ve ever been truly spontaneous and it was a freeing experience- but also very knackering. I came into the studio the next day and wrote this song!

What does the rest of 2018 have in store for you? What can we expect from you?

I have some more songs to release and I’m going to be announcing a live show very soon, which I cannot wait for. Being on stage is where I am happiest.

And finally, if you were to give one piece of advice to your 14-year-old YouTube self, what would it be? 

I would tell her to stop worrying, kiss more people, have more fun and work harder at learning music theory!