During our lifetime, we all strive to get to a point where we are comfortable with our existences and with our hopes and dreams. The latter, perhaps not completely fulfilled but, at least, with the awareness that, during the years we got to know ourselves a bit better through life's many experiences.
The way we build said awareness may vary, depending what we do for a living and often dictated by circumstances arising through the years in our personal lives.
For an artist with a sensitive and occasionally troubled soul like the hugely talented American Powerhouse singer/songwriter Sari Schorr, there could not be a better platform than music to be able to grow, both as a musician and as a human being. Through two remarkable albums like A Force Of Nature and the most recent Never Say Never, the Brooklyn-based artist has won the love of thousands of fans in Europe as in the United States and the great respect of the Music Press, thanks also to the artist's capacity to create a unique bond with her audience, almost like a bridge of empathy through her charisma, personality and extraordinary singing voice.
Bluebird Reviews is very privileged to get to talk once again to Schorr in the United Kingdom, during one of her Never Say Never Tour dates, about the making of her latest album Never Say Never and what the future plans of the singer/songwriter for 2020 are.
BB - Never Say Never, your latest record, to us felt like the natural development of the A Force Of Nature album. Still, the album showed at the same time, especially under a sonic aspect, your desire to express your artistry by using more pronounced layers of Rock And Roll, into your songs. Was this the direction that you intended to follow from Day One, musically speaking, when you started working on the album or maybe, having a new band with you, helped and inspired you to bring the overall sound of Never Say Never to a more Rock territory?
SS - Absolutely. It has a lot to do with the songs that I was inspired to write, at that time. Knowing that I had this caliber of band behind me, I knew I could take more chances and with music, getting things a bit more complicated. This new dynamic with the band gave me a lot more freedom. My record label kept reminding me how important this second record would be to help establishing my credibility with my audience, because lots of people, in this business, can get lucky on one sole record but for me, to be able to build a catalogue of good solid work through a second album, it was a solid step forward.
BB - Our website sees Never Say Never, from a songwriting aspect, as an album about people. People that have influenced your love for music and life in general, from Martin Luther King to Robert Johnson or from the mysterious Tom, the central figure of your Turn The Radio On song to artists close to your heart too, like Small Faces and Bad Company. Did you perhaps, at some stage, in the making of the album, unconsciously feel that this album was also your personal vehicle to express gratitude for those that, in a way or another, have heavily influenced some parts of your life or even your whole approach to music and your personality?
SS - I am really glad that you picked up on that, because I felt that, as my audience continues to grow, I have a greater opportunity to talk about wonderful historic artists and draw attention to them and also to introduce music pioneers like Robert Johnson to a new generation of listeners, who might not necessarily be aware of his legacy. But the other part of it was, for me, the fact that I felt much more comfortable writing this second album, because I was also more connected with my audience, from doing so much touring. I felt as I was having a conversation with real people, I could see real faces, while writing the songs. When I close my eyes, I can sense them and my spiritual connection to them, sense that intimacy that helps to get a bit more open with my audience. It all become much more conversational, much more honest. It's like you are eliminating any fear between you and your audience.
BB - What was the most challenging aspect in the making of Never Say Never, Sari?
SS - The most difficult part of it was, to me, recording a studio album in a "live" way, something I felt was really challenging. It sounds lot easier than it is, but there are a lot of technical aspects that you need to get right. One of those aspects, having a great live band like I have, it was about the ability to capture their energy in a studio, whilst you are recording, a goal not always easy to reach, at times. But this dynamic of musicians, they are so conscientious in the way they care about each other, listen to each other and were fantastic through the whole process; plus, as an added bonus, the studio where we recorded the album was fantastic too. For me personally, I guess that the biggest challenge was laying inner vocals that were honest, without over-singing, because there are some very emotional, heavy songs on the record and I really struggled to get some of those right, to be honest with you. There were a couple of songs that I had to go back and re-record, because I just wasn't satisfied enough with the outcome. One of those songs, the album's title-track Never Say Never, especially, it was the hardest track for me to record, because of the emotional connection I have with it.
BB - American artists like yourself, Albert Castiglia and Mike Zito, among others, have raised their voices in unison, in recent times and through songs, to the US government (and the people of course) about the legalization of weapons and to stop the madness occurring in the States with mass shootings. Do you feel, as an American citizen, that the States are finally taking decisive steps, thanks also to the strong messages coming from artists like yourself and the others I mentioned, to bring all this brutality to a definite halt?
SS - I do feel that there are changes on the horizon, on that, but we have to fight, every day, to bring these changes sooner rather than later, otherwise many more lives will be lost in the process. I have never been a fan of guns, I don't believe anyone should own a gun at all. My father used to have guns and I was always very uncomfortable to be around them. But I do feel that, as young generations also continue to help creating more of an anti-guns movement, that things are going to change for good. They have to.
BB - In Maybe I'm Fooling, you are openly talking about vulnerability in relationships and that difficult balance to be reached, between trust and mistrust. How difficult is it for you to reach that balance too with music and the whole business gravitating around it?
SS - It's a huge challenge, really, because there is so much pressure on all of us to be something that we are not. I have to be very focused on what I want my artistic goal to be and I want to be the best storyteller that I can possibly be, because I owe that to my audience. But if you succumb to the pressure of what is considered trendy and hip or trying to chase after what the latest success on the chart is or trying to emulate the new sounds you hear on the radio, then you lose contact with the reality around you by not being honest with yourself. The same is with relationships too, when you try and change who you are, in order to accommodate someone else's will. I am a true believer that relationships work so much better when you are with someone that allows you to be the best version of yourself, when you are in each other's company. My challenge is that I really wanna please people, especially in relationships and I got to a point, some time ago, where I felt I completely lost myself... I remember I just behaved differently because, deep inside, I sensed that this was what he wanted from me, at that time, not realizing that, by doing so, I was very much diminishing myself. I then luckily realized that the whole dynamic was far too unhealthy for me and not sustainable at all, because I wanted to be who I am. I guess that, in this big journey that is life, you have to find out by yourself who you are, also by going through those difficult stages and, right now, I feel that's what I am trying to do; to be the best version of myself that I can possibly be every day.
BB - To write a new song, put down verses and choruses, it is perhaps the hardest part of the job for a singer/songwriter like yourself and for many other artists. What is your preferred state of mind or, perhaps, type of location that inspires and fuels the most your storytelling creativity?
SS - That is a great question. I have been back from Wales, in UK, not long ago because I was working with Steve Wright, a very accomplished writer. We have been so prolific in writing new material and I have been, especially, very prolific for my standards. I feel that one of the reasons behind my inspirational state, it was due to the location where we wrote. It was so beautiful, we were surrounded by nature, working in a very quiet environment, with spectacular sceneries all around. I feel like I need space, physical and mental space, in order to be able to express my creativity at its best and that place was, for me, highly inspirational. Completely different from where I normally live, in Brooklyn, where everything is so full on, very noisy, overcrowded and full of distractions, everywhere you look at.
BB - You mentioned few times to the press that what you call Home, it is where your suitcase is. With that in mind, how hard does it get to plan time to write new material and are you already working on the follow-up of Never Say Never?
SS - You are quite right. It is really hard, to plan time to dedicate on writing new material, with the full-on touring schedule I have. The logistics of touring, at times, are really crazy, if you think that in the past few weeks we have been from the UK to Scandinavia, then Germany, back to Scandinavia again, this time, close to the North Pole and now back to the UK again! To get back to your original question about starting working on my next album, that is something that I have started already, so to avoid having extra pressure on me while I am touring, when the time will then come for me to be close to the finish line for the new record. You have to fit your touring schedule in a way that, whenever you find a space in your calendar where you are not performing, you have to mark it as my "Writing Day".
BB - Sari, do you feel that Never Say Never finally helped Valentina (Schorr's alter-ego in one of the songs of Never Say Never) to be more at peace with herself?
SS - Ha! Great question. You know, it's a journey for her. I think that Valentina is still a bit in denial about the mistakes that she made, because it's hard to admit what she might have done wrong. But she realized that forgiveness is such an important aspect of her mental health and she is on her way! We'll have to write a follow-up on the next album to see how she is doing (smiles).
Sari Schorr is on Tour in Europe right now and the full Tour schedule can be found at the artist's Official Website