Brisbane folk-pop singer/songwriter, Sahara Beck might surprise you with her hand-on-heart honesty revealing a level of maturity and artistic integrity that you don’t always see in young artists. Her music is timeless, from the rip-roaring highs of the emotionally potent ‘Mary Jane’ to the delightfully upbeat ‘C’mon Man You’re Dead’. She captures the very sentiment of what it means to be alive, to believe in the endless possibilities, the power of positivity and to not waste a single day, to realise your potential.
We sat down with Sahara Beck to talk about her forthcoming new EP, travelling the world, family and what makes her happy, plus much more.
‘Brother Sister’ is the first taste of what we can expect coming from your forthcoming new EP, what themes and ideas are running through the new songs? Do you feel that this EP is a progression from your previous ‘You Could Be Happy’ EP?
The next EP is very different from YCBH, I’ve made sure that all of these next songs sound exactly the way that they did in my head when I wrote them to the way that they come across on the CD. The theme of the next EP reflects not only what I have been going through the last couple of years but more the thoughts and moments of self actualisation I had when going through them. I would like to think that this next release is a step up from my previous works.
With your previous material, lyrical ideas have spawned from observations you’ve made of other people’s lives. But with ‘Brother Sister’, does this spark a newfound personal direction to your songwriting?
With some of my previous songs I would sometimes write about myself but then disguise it by giving the main character a different name or personality, with most others, yes, I would feel more comfortable writing about other people’s experiences.
When I came up with the concept for Brother Sister it felt so powerful to me and has changed the way that I think about approaching anything, I figured I should be completely open about its meaning and what it means to me in hope that my honesty would help connect with people and make them understand that they don’t need to be afraid of meeting new people or chasing a dream.
I mean obviously I am still young and have a lot to learn so there would be many people who are already onto this idea of “All we have is time” but I was more hoping to help people my own age get there faster before they waste their time doing stupid things.
In spirit of your last EP, what makes you happy?
A lot of things make me happy. I like when people tell me what they dreamed about last night. I like going back home to the beach and seeing my brother and family. I like when it’s really cold and you jump into bed and you start heating up really quickly. Most things make me happy, especially when everyone around me is happy, and if they aren’t… I’m going to find a way to fix that.
Looking back at your previous work, what does it mean to you?
I look at each release as a chapter of my life. I can’t listen to any of the earlier stuff anymore because it just reminds me of the stories behind the songs. However I have reached a point in my music where I don’t cringe at the songs anymore but just accept them as they were. Every artist I’m sure looks at their earlier work and says ‘ ahhh no why did I think that sounded good!?’
But I compare it to seeing a photo of yourself at a younger age, everyone has a hand full of embarrassing photos where they thought they looked super flyyyy at the time.
Do you have to be in a specific state of mind when writing your songs?
I read an Andy Warhol quote the other day that completely sums up the way I feel about writing:
“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it, while they are deciding, make even more art”.
I often write after being inspired by a live performance or an event that has happened to myself or someone I know, but in the end of the day I am not dependant on being in a certain room in my house or writing at a certain time of day. I never understand when people spend heaps of money on flying overseas so that they can write good music. Good on them but I don’t think it would make a difference, if you have the ability to write music, it should come straight out of your mind onto the page.
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would that be and why?
I would love to collaborate with Paolo Nutini, I’ve been listening to him since I was about 13 and I’ve always admired the soul in his voice and the way he lets go. He has very unique phrasing and rhythm in his lyrics and melodies and that’s very important to me.
Your music is centred on the power of your lyrics; I know that’s one of the reasons why I was drawn to you as a singer/songwriter originally. What lyric are you the most proud of writing so far?
On the next EP (spoiler alert) there’s a song I wrote called “The Creators” which I wrote about… well… people who are the creators of everything around us, people who don’t think practically or normally and might have had a hard time because people didn’t understand the way they thought.
There are two lines in this song that I am particularly proud of in this piece:
“Darkness never saw the light, even though he always tried”
“We are the loners, we’re the creators, we are the lucky ones who can see”.
Australia is currently one of the most exciting places in the world for its musical output. Are there any under-the-radar musicians that you think deserve a shout out, or any bands that we should be listening to from oz?
Oh definitely, there are so many. I wouldn’t know where to start. There’s an act that I’ve recently discovered in Byron Bay called Potato Potato, who make very fun music. But I especially like the two lead singer’s solo project ‘Loui and Patrick’. They write amazing lyrics and simple yet stunning melodies.
If you had the opportunity to travel the world, where is the first place that you would like to travel to?
I already get to travel a lot because aside from my mum, dad and brother… All of my family live in Europe. However I would love to go to Cuba or Spain, I grew up listening to a lot of music from there. It would be groovy to get to play there one day.
Who are the artists that inspire you creatively and who are the artists that you listen to for comfort?
I listen to a lot of Louis Prima, Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, Paolo Nutini, The Cat Empire. They all inspire me in different ways. For example, Louis Prima and the Cat Empire inspire the energy that I bring to a live performance. Both acts jumped around on stage and made sure that the audience were having as good a time as they were.
Radiohead, Led Zeppelin and Paolo Nutini have expanded the way that I think about adding rhythms into songs and the emotion and meaning that comes into singing each song.
What are your top tips for aspiring musicians and singer/songwriters?
1. When you start writing music and get to that point of wanting to do this for a career people might not like or understand why or what you’re doing… That doesn’t matter, you should be writing music because it’s an infectious disease and you couldn’t stop playing if you tried!
2. It takes time and patience to get your music to a point where people on a larger scale will hear it. Sometimes people get lucky and write a first song that get’s played all across the world and they get fame instantly.. But remember, the quicker the rise, the quicker the fall.
3. If you want to play music and put your heart out on your sleeve, don’t get hurt when you don’t achieve something instantly or if someone says you’re shit, that’s their opinion and it’s none of your business.
And finally… It’s a lot of hard work, with massive highs come massive lows but if you love what you do, it’s totally worth it.
You started making music at a young age, where did that drive come from? Do you come from a musical family?
My parents are very inspiring, they both play music but never wanted to play in front of people but they have always taken my brother and I to music festivals and theatre performances since we were very young. Looking back now I think they would have done it to inspire us and show us that there is so much more to the world than we think.
I remember we watched the Cat Empire play at Bluesfest when I was younger and I said to my mum “I want to play on a stage and be like them” and she told me to go for it, she said “Do it then! Learn the piano, learn the trumpet, sing to people. You can do anything you want to do, and if it makes you happy, people will see that and they will come along for the ride!”.
A special thanks to Sahara Beck for this interview and for more info on her music, check out the following links below: