Sarah Maguire

Foto: Hella Wittenberg Foto: Hella Wittenberg

Sarah Maguire is a new little star at the horizon of storytellers. Now she moved to Berlin, wrote some self-inspired songs and works on her first album. And what is better to promote this than to go on a tour with friends, love and creativity?

At first I would like to introduce you more. How would you describe your music to people, who don’t know you yet?

Mmm…words…lots of words. I like words you see. So I wanted to find a way to incorporate my love of language and words into music. Little short stories sung to chords. It turned out as some pop/folk/show tune kind of songs!

I know that you have lived in a lot of different places and in some cases made a permanent move – like from Sheffield to Australia, New York, Seattle and finally Berlin. Has this affected or changed you? Has it made you more creative?

I think if you are someone that enjoys to observe the way people live then anything can shape you and change you. Sometimes the simplest things can do this. I am a bit like a painting that is never really finished and everywhere I go and everyone I meet paints a new line or colour on my canvas. But at the same time my canvas is very much ‘made in Rotherham’…ha ha ha. But the thing that is making me more creative at the moment is staying put in Berlin. I spent a long time wandering around the world, with my artist stuck in my head. Each time she began to show herself I moved country and disrupted the flow. Now she has had time to grow and so Berlin and me have had to become better friends.

In the past you went to a music university and you had many singing lessons in England. In which way was it helpful? And do you still draw on the skills you learned?

I guess all things are helpful to me in hind-site. But it’s taken me a long time to accept this. I shed a lot of tears in music education because I was not what was expected of me. I lost a lot of time and confidence in feeling ‘not good enough’ and like a failure. I think it’s almost impossible to teach creativity by a ‘marking out of 10′ kind of system. I don’t believe it is possible to mark out of 10 (or from A to F grade) what comes from someone’s heart. Creativity is immeasurable and I was in danger of losing my creativity and myself if I stayed in school. But over the years I have absorbed a lot about singing technique and I still draw on in daily.

How do you get the self-confidence to sing so sincere about your life and problems?

I’m not sure it’s about self-confidence really; it’s just the only thing I know how to write about. I am mostly singing about my insecurities in life and hoping that through telling my truth it might inspire some one to tell there’s or at least admit it to themselves. I must like the adrenalin and fear that exposing myself gives me! Ha ha ha.

Do you think you could sing about topics, which don’t have to do anything with your life and your experiences?

A lot of my writing starts as nothing to do with me. It’s about someone else. An observation. But before long I realise it’s about me as well. So its half biographical and half observation. As I said earlier all I experience in day-to-day life influences me. Even if I write about someone/something else, its still fundamentally about me because I saw/heard/felt it and then filtered it through myself and into my work.

Your Myspace is very personal: spontanous songrecordings like “Lucy” where you can hear laughing, slips of the tongue and a lot of fun, photobooth-pictures, you’re talking pretty personal about good friends of yours in the influence-section and you mail back to your fans. Don’t you feel more like a star? Do you think you’re unique through your behaviour with fans?

I believe that we are all the same. I don’t think I am more superior then any other person. It’s real people that inspire my work and I am grateful to those people who write to me. Each heart is important and I am happy to hear from them. I guess I don’t see that as unique, just honest.

A lot of people are asking you about your style, people want to have pictures with you in the street – do you see yourself as a role model? Would you say that you have found your own style, your inner self?

Oh god what a question! Ha ha! I have always known exactly what I like, although it changes frequently. I have flippant obsessions with different periods and styles. Ill ‘have’ to only buy vintage 60′s clothes or go through a hat period where I only collect hats. Generally it depends on my mood and feelings. That also goes for finding my ‘inner self’, some days I feel close to myself and others I barely recognise myself.

You often use different musicians on stage – like the producer of The Strokes Gordon Raphael and the drummer from IAMX Tom Marsh – what qualifies them and what is the attractiveness for you to play with so many different people live?

What qualifies them is that they are very close to me and extremely good friends and they like my work. Oh yeah and not to mention they are both absolutely gorgeous!! Ha ha! I am very afraid of getting a permanent band because of my past experiences. I always found it stressful and a bit like babysitting. It’s hard enough to organise myself never mind multiple people. So I rely on friends when and if they are available.

You interrupt a concert when people talk too loud. So how importent is the audience for you? Don’t you think they feel too constrict, in an impelled situation?

Ha ha ha that makes me sound like a schoolteacher! Well its like this, if you are with a full electric band on stage, then a few people talking is not going to make a difference. If you are on your own and playing acoustic in a small venue, then one normal volume voice can wreck a show. Not only for me, but also for the people who are they’re to listen. When I am performing there are lots of words and my audience is following the story. When some one drunk decides to have a conversation it’s a bit like a family member talking over your favourite TV program! You just wanna scream SHUT UP! And I do! Ha ha. My audience are really important to my performance and when I’m telling them a story and I want to honour there patience to listen.

Do you want to play more concerts or is it just a horrible, but needable side effect?

Who have you been talking to? I love to perform and always have done. But if I am honest the transition from acting/singing in a theatre to playing in bars and ‘rock’ venues has not been easy for me. I am used to people wanting to be there and paying 95% attention to the performance. It’s a very strict atmosphere and so it is very shocking to suddenly be singing your heart out whilst people are ordering at the bar and chatting over something you have rehearsed and worked very hard on. Some times I think that I am not cut out for it at all. Plus there is the fact that I do not drink alcohol and so my tolerance for drunken people is pretty low now. Playing in a bar is not what it would be if I was a drinker. But I am plugging on!

As I said before: you have a lot of famous friends like Gordon Raphael and Sue Denim. Do you have the feeling that you have to give more to put yourself in the foreground or don’t you think like that and see them more like helping, supportive hands?

Luckily my work is very different to what my friends are working on, so that helps. I really love the thought of living in a creative community and friends helping each other out. A bit like a creative socialist community in a way.

All my friends have been very supportive towards me and have held my hand all the way. I am not ready for them to let go yet either! Ha ha.

When can we listen to a whole album full of Sarah Maguire’s music?

I guess when I can commit to an albums worth of material. In my opinion each song I write gets better and better each time and there for I am afraid to commit any of them to an ‘album’ just yet. But I am working on it, I promise.

What do you expect from yourself in the future?

I expect to have many more glorious obsessions!

No really, apart from that. My expectations are usually far too high for any human being to reach. A real perfectionist I am. So Ill try to let go of expectations and just keep doing what I’m doing. Working on songs and the evolution of Sarah Maguire!