UC Riverside

Getting close with UK singer and songwriter Sarah Close

Sarah Close gained international attention when her song “Call Me Out” became a viral sensation. At only 22, she’s made quite the name for herself in the entertainment industry– releasing her first EP, making the British iTunes charts, and acquiring over 100,000 followers on Instagram.

Yet despite her rising fame, she continues to keep it real with her dedication to her passion, her commitment to her values, and her unapologetic personality. We had the chance to sit down and chat with the UK singer and songwriter.

Julia Schemmer (JS): Your song “Call Me Out” has been an enormous success– it’s heard on the radio station, in the grocery store, or in malls. When it first started gaining momentum, what was your initial reaction– were you expecting it or did it come as a complete surprise?

Sarah Close (SC): It’s so hard to describe how it’s all felt. I feel like I’ve been walking in a bubble for the past couple months watching everything unfold and it all feels so fragile because it’s something I have chased, worked and dreamt of for so long! Pretty much everything has been a surprise, I really wasn’t expecting it to be supported by radio as much as it has been, or for it to be playlisted in the stores. It’s all been wicked cool and I feel like a flower that’s just started blooming. I can’t wait for what’s to come.

JS: Your EP titled “Caught Up” only features four songs but a variety of different musical styles. Where do you draw inspiration from, and how would you describe your creative process for making music?

SC: I find inspiration in things I’ve experienced or seen around me. Maestro doesn’t relate to me personally like the other songs do, but I wrote it after I first moved to London and spent time on the tube [YouTube] watching people. When I’m in the studio with someone, I like to start building the track with a beat and keys and let the music lead me. I usually come into the studio with a couple of lyrics ideas or a topic I’d like to write about so I’ll use those as a starting point to find melodies or scrap them all together and see what runs off the tongue.

JS: Everyone has a moment, or a series of moments that lead them to choosing a particular path. For you, what was the “a-ha” moment that showed you that you wanted to pursue music professionally?

SC: I’ve known that I wanted to pursue music my whole life. When I was 4 or 5, I recorded an “album” of songs I’d written on a cassette tape in my karaoke machine, which was very funny to find. I’m going to put some of it on my album. I think for me, it was more the moment I found out that it was actually possible for me to do this professionally. I come from such a small place, and I grew up believing that only people who lived in London or big places could make big dreams a reality. It was when I was 14 that I started giving it a shot, but it’s when I moved to London at 18 that I realized I had a chance.

JS: Are there plans to release a full-time album soon? If so, what has the recording process been like for you– could you give us some insight on what to expect?

SC: There are no plans right now, there’s a lot of stuff I want to do and say before I put out an album. There’s a couple songs I’ve written that I want to put on there, but I’m leaving the vision open for now. I guess you can look forward to hearing me sing age 5 as I said before.

JS: What does it mean to you to be a woman in the entertainment industry?

SC: I don’t really know yet, I don’t think I have enough experience in this industry and at this time I would only be answering using the perspectives of the women around me. Ask me again in a years time and I’m sure I’ll have tons more to say on the topic.

JS: What type of obstacles do you believe women face in entering the entertainment industry, and what advice would you give to girls wanting to pursue music?

SC: The hardest thing I’ve faced so far is being taken seriously and having people talk through me rather than to me about my own music and career plan, which is unbelievably frustrating. It’s hard to call it out when something like that happens, I often don’t realize it until afterwards. To any female wanting to pursue music, be strong and tough, this industry tends to make you feel small, but there ain’t nothing small about us.

JS: Are there any upcoming projects that you’re excited about?

SC: Yes. Getting the EP out was a huge weight off my shoulders creatively. I’m having so much fun being back writing full-time right now. My brain is super colourful and crazy and free and I’m loving it. For now though, I’m gonna keep quiet about what’s coming.

JS: Summer is here! If you could create a playlist for the perfect summer day, what type of music would you include on it?

SC: Ooh, I love to kick back with super chilled songs in summer! Immediately “Island In The Sun” by Weezer popped into my head. Some Ben Howard would have to be in there, The Strokes, Joni Mitchell– I love listening to songs from my childhood in summer, songs where you can sit back, enjoy the sunshine and let the music wash over you like a wave.

JS: What is one message that you hope your fans take away from your music?

SC: I hope that fans can find some parallel between my music and their life, certain songs have been so important to me and I can only hope that my songs can be that to other people.

Artists like Sarah Close are proof that if you have a dream, it is with pursuing with all of your might. Who knows– you might be the next to create a viral, chart-topping hit!