In gesprek met Sari Schorr

Vorige maand verscheen ‘Never Say Never’, het tweede album van Sari Schorr. De Amerikaanse zangeres en liedjesschrijfster heeft in betrekkelijk korte tijd een uitstekende live-reputatie opgebouwd met haar optredens waarmee zij vooral de liefhebbers van de stevige bluesrock voor zich wist te winnen. Dat deze powervrouw zich ook met groot gemak in andere muzikale uithoeken weet te handhaven was al langer bekend maar wordt nog eens overduidelijk bevestigd op dit nieuwe album. Op ‘Never Say Never’ wordt zij bijgestaan door een fenomenale band waarin onder meer een belangrijke rol is weggelegd voor Roy Martin, de Britse topdrummer die eerder samenwerkte met Aretha Franklin, Jack Bruce, Robert Palmer, Snowy White en Jimmy Barnes maar waarin ook ‘onze’ toetsenist Bob Fridzema te vinden is die je misschien kent van zijn optredens met Dana Fuchs, Ben Poole, King King, Stefan Schill of de Nederlandse popband Rigby.
Sari is begonnen met een muzikale rondreis waarin zij alle avonturen, ook op voornamelijk persoonlijk gebied, in haar muziek verwerkt. Ondanks haar drukke bestaan als muzikante maakte zij onlangs graag even tijd vrij voor Blues Magazine om in te gaan op enkele vragen die wij haar stelden.

Tekst: Jeroen Bakker

HOW IS THE TOUR GOING SO FAR? DO YOU PLAY TOGETHER WITH THE SAME MUSICIANS ON STAGE AS THOSE WE HEARD ON THE ALBUM?

The tour has been mind-blowing. We’ve traveled thousands of miles, crisscrossing our way through the UK and Europe. It’s been thrilling to meet so many wonderful people who are so enthusiastic about our music. It has been the reward for all the hard work that went in to making the album.

My live band is the band I recorded the album with. I wanted to capture the excitement of our live show in the recordings. I believed the best way to get that feeling across was to record the album live. So, we went to La Grange Studio – an all analogue residential studio that was a converted 19th century barn in the idyllic English countryside.

HOW DO THE PEOPLE RESPOND TO THE NEW MATERIAL?

The response to the new material has been heart-stirring. I work very hard to write songs with lyrics that people can connect with and find comfort in. I think that is why people have such a strong reaction to my songs. I write about the human experience – our failures and our triumphs with compassion and an underlying optimism.

AFTER RELEASING YOUR DEBUT-ALBUM ‘A FORCE OF NATURE’ AND THIS NEW ONE ‘NEVER SAY NEVER’, A LOT HAS HAPPENED, AS YOU CALLED IT ‘A LONG HARD JOURNEY, IN YOUR LIFE. A LOT OF DIFFERENT MOODS APPEARED ON THIS VERY PERSONAL ALBUM. IT’S FULL OF TEARS, JOY, PAIN, HEALING, LAUGHTER AND FRIENDSHIP. IN WHICH SONGS ARE THESE MOODS THE DEEPEST? WHICH OF THESE ARE THE MOST PERSONAL SONGS YOU WROTE?

“Beautiful” is a sensitive song for me. It deals with my insecurity and my fear that I am not worthy of being loved. It has its roots buried in my childhood. I always felt I needed to be perfect to earn the love of my father.

“Turn the Radio On” is about a relationship I lost that cut a hole in my heart that will probably never heal. It’s a story about finding the right person, but at the wrong time.

IS IT EASIER TO WRITE SONGS FULL OF JOY OR WRITING SONGS FULL OF TEARS?

I tend to gravitate towards writing songs that deal with life’s struggles and challenges. I’m fascinated by the resiliency of the human spirit to shine in the face of adversity. I like exploring these challenges in a non-judgemental and compassionate way through my music.

WHAT’S THE MAIN DIFFERENCE WITH ‘A FORCE OF NATURE’? DO THESE SONGS STILL REPRESENT YOUR LIFE NOWADAYS? DO THESE SONGS STILL REPRESENT YOU AS A MUSICIAN?

The biggest difference between the two albums is how far I was willing to burrow into my personal life. I could do that more comfortably with Never Say Never because after touring constantly for two years I knew who my audience was and it allowed me to feel like I was having a conversation with people I knew and cared about – like sharing secrets with a friend.

THE LAST 18 MONTHS YOU LIVED IN A LOT OF DIFFERENT PLACES, IS THERE A PLACE WHERE YOU REALLY FELT AT HOME?

I truly love being on the road. I find it easy, which is not always the experience for many musicians. It allows me to focus on my craft and I feel at home wherever I am because for me, it’s all about the people I meet. When someone opens their heart to me and welcomes me into their life it gives me a sense of being grounded and belonging somewhere.

ON THE PREVIOUS ALBUM YOU PAID TRIBUTE TO LEADBELLY, THE SUPREMES AND WALTER TROUT IN ONE OF HIS SONGS. NOW THERE IS ANOTHER INTERPRETATION OF A SONG WRITTEN BY SOMEBODY ELSE. WHY THE DECISION TO RECORD ‘NEVER SAY NEVER’, A SONG FROM IAN MCLAGAN, THE GREAT LATE KEYBOARD-PLAYER FROM THE FACES?

I always thought, “Never Say Never” was a beautiful and timeless piece of work that deserved to be heard again. It’s a song about love, loss and courage and I believe we all can relate to that message.

SOME SPECIAL MEMORIES LEFT OVER THE YEARS WHILE PLAYING IN HOLLAND?

Walking through the streets of Amsterdam I discovered a multicultural, vibrant city. I experienced firsthand the spirit of the Dutch people to “live and let live.” I find it inspiring to be surrounded by people who are free thinkers.

DO YOU STILL SING OPERA MUSIC TO DEVELOP YOUR VOCAL SKILLS?

I still use my opera training to keep my voice healthy, but I’ve always preferred to sing my own songs.

WHILE TOURING YOU MET SUCH AMAZING MUSICIANS, WHAT CAN WE EXPECT DURING THE GIGS IN HOLLAND?

I have an exciting new band that brings my songs to life. It features the talents of Ash Wilson – voted one of the UK’s hottest guitarists, award winning Bob Fridzema on Hammond and keyboards, acclaimed bassist Mat Beable and world-class drummer Roy Martin.

FAMOUS LAST WORDS / HOT NEWS / FACTS NOT FORGET TO MENTION / MESSAGE TO THE DUTCH AUDIENCE?

We are really looking forward to coming back to Holland to give the Dutch audiences an emotionally charged performance that will take them on a journey of discovery and celebration of life.

Website artieste: www.sarischorr.com