“Music isn’t supposed to be perfect, it’s just supposed to make you feel something.”
Twickets caught up with SK & The Kings frontwoman Sarah Kelly to talk about her eclectic fusion of genres, how she met the members of her band and their groundbreaking new single, ‘Even Closer’.
Armed with a passion for meaningful songwriting and an abundance of talent, London-based musician Sarah Kelly has recently been turning heads with her charismatic and distinctive sound. Currently working alongside her accomplished band, The Kings, SK’s autobiographical and deeply personal approach to songwriting has allowed her to quickly master the lyrical art of tugging on the heartstrings.
Having only released their debut single in 2019, SK & the Kings have swiftly been gaining attention from all across the independent music scene. Taking their wide range of influences and building upon them to create a unique and exciting sound, it seems as though the quartet are just getting started. With an open road ahead and no signs of slowing down, Twickets caught up with SK to talk about her beginnings in music, the band’s lucky formation and what lessons she’s learnt in her first year of playing live shows.
When did you first start making music?
SK: I only really started around 4 years ago, I never actually believed that it was something I could do. It was only when my co-writer Andy Theakstone saw me singing in a pub and asked me if I wanted to write with him that I gave it a go. My influences range from Donny Hathaway to Jordan Rakei to Tame Impala to Anderson .Paak and everyone in between. So many different artists influence me for so many different reasons, but it’s mostly the stories that artists tell within their songs that have the biggest impact.
Your music is a fusion of jazz, soul and R&B from all across the spectrum. How did your style come together?
SK: I wanted to create something that was a little bit of all the things I loved, it was as simple as that. When you’re trying to find your sound it’s all about trial and error, and those were the genres that resonated with me the most. I still believe I’m a work in progress though so I know my sound will grow and develop as I do.
You recently released your latest single, ‘Even Closer’, can you tell us about the story behind that track?
SK: It all stemmed from being hurt in the past because I hadn’t loved myself enough to know that I deserved better. When I started dating someone new, I realised that I couldn’t go down that road again without doing a little work on myself first.
Why did you decide that having a band behind you was the best route for you as a musician?
SK: Well to start with I can’t actually play any instruments! When I played my music live, it was always my goal to reproduce what we created in the studio. But to be honest, I think the songs sound even better live than they do on record. Maybe that’s because it’s such a vibe when you’re up there with your mates performing. A couple of the guys I’ve played with over the years in different bands and some I met by chance, I got really lucky. They are all incredibly talented in their own right so their opinions carry weight with me and they’re constantly bringing the best out of the songs.
Your songs are quite autobiographical in their nature, why is that important to you?
SK: I only properly understand how I’m feeling once I get it down on paper. I’ve always got a notepad with me and it’s helped me time and time again. I don’t know what I’d do without having music as an outlet, it’s definitely therapeutic for me.
You’re still a newcomer on the scene, having only released your first single in 2019. What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learnt about playing shows?
SK: I’m pretty critical of my performances. I’ll always have them recorded so I can watch them back, make notes and improve on the things that I feel weren’t the best. I’ve also learnt that I have to congratulate myself too, otherwise you’re so focused on the bad you forget about the good. Music isn’t supposed to be perfect, it’s just supposed to make you feel something.
If you could collaborate on a track with any artist, alive or dead, who would it be?
SK: The first person that comes into my head is Frank Sinatra, I absolutely loved him as a kid. I remember doing a school report on him when I was about seven or eight – his phrasing kills me every time.
What do you hope 2020 has in store for SK & The Kings?
SK: I just want to write, perform and learn as much as I can and enjoy every moment.
Check out SK & the Kings’ latest single, ‘Even Closer’, below.