Multi-talented Irish singer-songwriter, musician, violinist and The Voice of Ireland coach, Sharon Corr is set to tour the UK in support of her latest solo album The Same Sun.
Plus at the end of the interview don’t miss out on your chance to win some cool Sharon Corr goodies.
Sharon is probably best known as a member The Corrs, which she co-founded with her elder brother Jim and younger sisters Caroline and Andrea.
However as part of our Eventim Spotlights series Helena finds Sharon eager to cast aside her ‘nice girl from the Corrs’ image and open up with much more personal themes and sounds in her latest solo project.
Congratulations on the new album The Same Sun it’s really beautiful! What is the story behind it?
Thank you very much! Well it’s full of little stories. I started writing it about 3 years ago, and I wanted this album to be really raw and really organic and very beautiful, so I had a different approach.
I wanted to work with different people, so I would be out of my comfort zone – and feel more vulnerable – and I think create stronger feeling material. It’s hard to describe a whole album, there are so many mixed and different emotions on it, but they are very real.
I was aiming for something extremely vulnerable and yet very organic.
Who did you work with producing this album and where did you do the recording?
I recorded in LA with Mitchell Froom who is my all-time favourite producer. He’s worked with Nirvana, Sheryl Crow, Paul McCartney, Crowded House and many great people. He’s a really true musician, and we get on like a house on fire.
One of the main things that I did this time around that was different from what I’ve ever done before was writing with other people as well as alone on this album.
So it’s been a completely different process from your past work, how did that come about?
Traditionally for me, I’ve always written on my own in The Corrs – songs like So Young, Radio and Long Night were songs that I wrote myself and then just brought them into the band where we all worked on it.
I kind of knew I was playing it a little safe, and I wanted to work with other people. I worked with this lovely songwriter called Don Mescall. He’s an Irish guy who’s worked out in Nashville for many years and with Celine Dion a lot of artists out in The States.
We get on like a house on fire, and had a song out within an hour and it was beautiful and strong. It was Edge Of Nowhere which is the middle track on the album, and really vulnerable. When you work with other really talented people you do feel vulnerability.
Do you have a particular favourite track on the album?
It’s funny you should ask, because yesterday I was just thinking about that. The real test of a track to me is if I will play it personally on my own, in my own house.
I live with an album so much longer than the public does because I write it, and then I record it, and then I release it. The first release on this album was last year in Brazil, and I’ve been working my way around the world touring and releasing as I go.
If I’m still playing one of the songs on piano for myself, then I must really love the track, and Upon An Ocean is the one that just gets me every time.
I was just playing it yesterday and I will play it today. The song with The Corrsthat lasted with me was Runaway I have never gone off it, ever. I mean I love all the tracks, they’re all like my little babies, but Upon An Ocean for some reason just resonates the most.
Tell me more about Upon An Ocean – how did you come to write that particular song?
When I was writing with Mitchell in August in LA, the heat was stifling and the air conditioning broke down in the studio and we just couldn’t stand it any longer.
We went into the house and he played me this piece of music that he had sitting in his music bag for a couple of years and I kind of knew it was meant for something.
Immediately we were writing Upon An Ocean.
In this song I kind of imagine myself in a fifties ball gown standing on Santa Monica pier meeting the man of my life and spending a summer with him and then him leaving and my life just falling apart.
It’s like a little vignette. It’s a little story that I imagined in my head I suppose. It’s very beautiful and a little tragic. How life often is.
And it feels like a waltz so you feel like they’re dancing in the ballroom in the song.
One of the things that struck me about this album me is that your voice is so pure, Karen Carpenter-esque, very beautiful. Who inspires you in particular?
Since the moment I was born my mother was singing The Carpenters to me and to all my siblings. My mother actually sounded like Karen Carpenter.
My mum and dad had a band together and they sang everything that was in the charts like The Eagles, Genesis, Peter Gabriel.
I actually can’t listen to The Carpenters anymore because it makes me sad, [Jean Corr died aged 57 in 1999 from a rare lung condition while awaiting a transplant operation.] but, when I was writing Upon An Ocean and Take A Minute with Mitchell, this tone came out of my voice that obviously was always there. Since doing my own solo work my voice has developed and developed.
I was always really good at doing backing vocals – that in itself is its own art – but the art is to hold back and provide this lovely bedrock for the lead singer
For this album I had to learn how to sing forward and push everything into what I was doing vocally and I kind of discovered the Karen Carpenter in my voice.
So it’s kind of been funny and it’s a great compliment – when people say to me I sound a little bit like her I think that’s fantastic because I love her voice! I didn’t anticipate Karen Carpenter in my voice, it just arrived one day.
What are the most exciting and the most challenging things about creating and releasing a new album?
Oh my Lord!! It’s like a huge mountain to climb. The lucky thing is I love it, and I cannot not do it.
I’m always writing so it’s not a giant battle, but once I kind of realise ‘oh I’m writing an album here’ then I go ‘oh my God you can’t see the end!’ because I would be lucky if I wrote a song a month.
I can sometimes write two songs in two days, or three songs in six months and I have no control over that. Inspiration hits and takes control when it does and I can’t control that.
It feels like a huge amount of climbing then suddenly you find yourself at the other end of it, the album is produced and you go ‘oh wow its done!’ but when I’m making an album, it’s all I’m doing.
I’m cooking dinner for the kids and I’m still writing a song. You’re always doing it. Whereas when I release an album, it’s a huge release for me physically and emotionally as well, to let go of that journey that’s been going on.
And then to get the joy of going out and playing it all over the world! For me, my favourite thing is touring and it’s been a blast.
What is your favourite thing about touring?
Being on stage, oh my goodness! I am a sucker for it, I absolutely love being on stage! I could be in the worst mood ever, I get on stage and I am the happiest person alive!
For me it’s so amazing because so many people in their jobs never get to really, actually express themselves. In fact they’re really discouraged from doing it and if you’re outside of the box at all, then you’re not doing what you’re supposed to.
I can just be me, and that’s good or bad! When I get on stage I just feel really like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be and that feels great.
Your children and your family must be so excited when they see you play live! Do they get to come along to any of the tour dates?
Yeah they will absolutely. It depends on school, and they’re back to school in September so I don’t want to be pissing off all the teachers and taking them out of school!
I have to play it cool for the month of September and then I’ll start getting really naughty after that.
I tour Brazil and South America in November and I want to take them off school to come out and do that, and they love it, they absolutely love it. I mean they get to hang out with the band, stay up really late and eat all the sweets off the rider, so it’s kind of heaven for them!
As a fellow violinst and singer, I’m wondering….can you play violin and sing at the same time?!
Oh it’s impossible! I mean I did and you have the violin sticking into your neck and you’re supposed to be trying to sing!
I try it, and I tried it, because I wanted to prove to myself that this doesn’t work. Now I’m sure there’s other people who can do it. I think a lot of the bluegrass players do, who don’t actually hold the violin by their shoulder.
With The Corrs I used to do BV’s on that song The Right Time, but even getting the rhythm of it, playing against the opposite rhythm that was going on, on the violin was impossible!
So my answer is no I can’t!!
There is this outrageously talented fiddle player you should look up. His name is Andrew Bird, he’s from The States. He is astounding. He sings and he plays. He plays beautifully in a classical style, and then he plays incredible sort of bluegrass, and he writes all his own stuff. Then he actually loops as he’s playing on stage, so he provides his own backing track. You can check out his ‘one man orchestra’ TED talk here.
Before we go, what else can you tell us about your live show?
Just come out to the show, you’ll really, really enjoy it. I bring some of the past with me into the present, so there is some Corrs songs in the show that I wrote and there’ll be some traditional Irish music that I’ll play and off the new album and the old album.
It’s a really diverse and dynamic show. So come out and enjoy it!
You can find out more and get tickets to see Sharon on her UK tour now at eventim.co.uk
For your chance to win a copy of Sharon’s latest LP ‘The Same Sun’ and a Same Sun tour t-shirt just answer this simple question.
With which band did Sharon Corr rise to fame?
- The Doors
- The Corrs
- The Alan Parsons Project
Just email your answer with your name and preferred contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharon Corr Competition Terms and Conditions
1. Entries must be received by 1:00pm on Friday 19 September 2014. Winners will be notified via email as soon as is reasonable after the closing date.
2. The prize on offer is on CD copy of Sharon Corr ‘The Same Sun’ and one Tour t-shirt size XL.
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