SARAH DARLING TALKS NEW MUSIC, TOUR PLANS & SONG-WRITING INSPIRATION 92

Currently promoting her new album Dream Country, Nashville-based Sarah Darling is a talent whose music crosses several genres including contemporary pop, Americana and, of course, country. Having achieved considerable success thanks to her 2012 Home To Me EP, this new collection showcases just how much she’s grown and matured as an artist and she kindly took time out of her increasingly busy schedule to talk to Thisisthelatest about musical influences, performance plans and her hopes and dreams for the future.

TITL: Please introduce yourself.

Sarah Darling: Hey everyone! My name is Sarah Darling.

TITL: At what age did you first realize you wanted to be a performer and prior to that, did you have any other career ambitions?

SD: There’s this video of me singing a solo in pre-school that shows I was quite serious at a very young age. It makes me laugh watching it now. I had all the moves going back then. I guess I was born wanting to perform!  However, there was a brief moment I wanted to be an oceanographer.

TITL: Which bands and artists did you grow up listening to and have your music tastes changed much as you’ve gotten older?

SD: I grew up listening to Fleetwood Mac, Patsy Cline, Joni Mitchell and The Eagles. I feel like my musical style is still the same. I’m pretty pumped for Alison Krauss’s new album to release!

TITL: Hailing from Nashville, do you ever feel any pressure to live up to the success of artists like Taylor Swift and bands like Paramore or are you happy just to ride your own wave?

SD: There’s always the pressure because it’s constantly around, but I’ve learned over the last couple years that you have to ride in your own lane. As long as you trust your instincts, it makes for a happy life in my opinion.

TITL: Who or what most inspires your song-writing and with that in mind, which song would you say is the greatest ever written and why?

SD: I’m really inspired by landscapes and stars. I think there’s something quite wonderful about painting these pictures in a song. It’s dreamy and romantic. With that being said, I really love the track “Halley’s Comet.” I think it really inspires us all to shine bright.

TITL: Tell me a little about your new album Dream Country.

SD: Dream Country is a concept album that’s very inspiring for the dreamer. It takes you somewhere else which I love. I wrote a lot of the tracks as encouragement to myself, and I think a lot of people will relate to the honesty of that.

TITL: Could you pick your favourite track on the album and if so, which is it and why?

SD: I truly love a track called “Where Cowboys Ride.” It’s my love letter to Wyoming. I love it because I’m immediately right back there when I hear the first verse. I knew it was special when I wrote it.

TITL: How would you say the album differs from your previous collection, the Home To Me EP?

SD: This album is more experimental, I would say. I’m a country singer that writes about Paris and things other people don’t write about in my genre.  I have always had a love for strings and they are in almost every track! I wanted each song to sound exactly like what I was singing about. It was really fun for me to explore.

TITL: Will you be touring in support of the album?

SD: Yes, I will be touring this year! Just keep checking the website sarahdarling.com.

TITL: You’ve opened for the likes of Carrie Underwood, but if you could share a stage with three other bands living or dead, who would you choose and where would you play?

SD: Coldplay at Glastonbury, Patsy Cline at The Grand Ole Opry and Alison Krauss at the Royal Albert Hall.

TITL: Are there any other plans/projects in the pipeline you can tell me about?

SD: There is a wonderful video coming that I shot last year that is associated with the track “Montmartre.” It’s quite epic!

TITL: How do you feel about social media and to what extent has it impacted your career? Do you think it’s possible for bands and artists to succeed without it?

SD: I think social media is our direct line with fans. I adore the chance to get to know the people who take the time to listen to my tunes. I think anything is possible these days, but I it would be quite sad to not interact when you can. We have to change as the world changes.

TITL: Finally then, where would you like to see yourself five years from now and what’s your ultimate career ambition?

SD: In five years, I hopefully would have traveled the world! Of course, I’d like to record a couple more records, but I’d also like to own my own patisserie in Nashville. Big goals!

For more information on Sarah, give her page a like on Facebook or follow her on Twitter. Her album Dream Country is available now on itunes.

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LIVE: THE SCRIPT @ MANCHESTER ARENA – FEBRUARY 3RD 2018 40

After a hugely successful mini-tour back in August and September ahead of fifth studio album Freedom Child’s release, it was really only a matter of time before The Script found their way back to the place they truly feel at home – on stage. But, before they delighted the thousands of die-hard fans, some of whom had queued since 2am to get the best spots at the barrier, who had sold-out Manchester Arena, it was up to Ella Eyre to metaphorically, and given the biting February cold, literally help warm them up ahead of the main event.

Ella walked on stage to a rapidly filling arena and for the next half hour, danced, shimmied and sang her way into the hearts of many before her. Vocally, she may not have been the strongest female to have graced the arena stage, but she certainly proved herself to be one of the most energetic as she encouraged the crowd to sing and dance along, especially to closing number and smash hit “Came Here For Love” which went down a storm.

After an interval of around half an hour, during which time a four sided curtain shrouded the B stage towards the back of the arena, the lights dimmed once more and, almost simultaneously, the cheering proceeded to get louder and louder. As the curtain fell away to the opening notes of “Superheroes”, the band, drummer Glen, guitarist Mark and front-man Danny, complete with newly dyed blonde locks, made their first appearance before their ecstatic audience, with Danny bouncing up and down brimming with the energy of a man half his age, but with a vocal that’s never sounded better.

Having told their fans via Twitter that this new tour was to be very interactive, following “Rock The World”, the band proceeded to prove said comment via “Paint The Town Green” and with Glen armed with a mini drum and Mark leading the way with his guitar, the band made their way through the packed crowd down to the front and onto the main stage.

“It’s Not Right For You” offered up the first real opportunity for the thousands packed into the venue to show off their vocal skills, and they seized said opportunity happily as their “oh-oh-oh’s” echoed around the vast space, before they earned themselves rapturous applause from Glen and bassist Ben in particular for their efforts during “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved.”

As Danny took a seat at the piano that had by now appeared on stage, he began to play the intro to “Wonders”, a track from the bands’ latest album which had already proven itself (given the Twitter reaction it’s received in recent months) to be a new fan favourite, so needless to say, as the thousands present finally heard it live for the first time, they were more than a little happy. One individual close to the front was likely even more so, when, mid-song, having left the piano, Danny proceeded to reach over, grab their drink and take a swig of it. The trio then continued to power their way through their set, delivering hit song after hit song – “Six Degrees Of Separation” and “Nothing” being just two, with applause and cheers rarely far from their ears. “If You Could See Me Now” meanwhile had many audience members, myself included, on the verge of tears, and the emotion in Danny’s voice, and in his eyes, was clear for all to hear and see.

“No Man Is An Island” had practically everyone in attendance (at least those I could see), including those in the seats, at Danny’s instruction, placing their left arm around the shoulder of the person next to them and taking eight steps to the left and eight to the right in time with the music – it made for quite a sight, one which has seen the crowd since be referred to, rather humorously, as “penguins.”

Continuing to be extremely (and surprisingly) interactive during with the crowd their set, the band then appeared in the middle of the seating area, surrounded by standing fans, and proceeded to play renditions of “If You Ever Come Back” and the beautifully melodic “Never Seen Anything Quite Like You”, before, as Mark and Glen made their way back to the main stage, Danny continued to delight those in the tiers by singing “The Energy Never Dies” as he made his way through the crowd back towards his bandmates.

It’s not every day you see fans hold up umbrellas indoors, but that’s exactly what some did during the performance of “Rain”, the song that rounded off the main set. Having left the stage for a few minutes, during which the sound of thousands of stamping feet and rapidly increasing in volume cheers echoed from all corners of the venue, the band then returned for their encore, kicking it off with “No Good In Goodbye”, closely followed by “Breakeven.”

With tonight being the first show the band have played in the arena since 2015, and following the bombing last year, it was touching to then see Danny introduce on stage the Parrs Wood High School Harmony Choir, who performed with Ariana Grande at the One Love Manchester concert.

He then went on to give an emotive and passionate speech about freedom:

“We all stand united together Manchester. That’s what this album is about; freedom. The freedom of expression, to love who you wanna love, to be who you wanna be, to say what you wanna say. Have no fear. Never fear! Now to me, music has always been the one true religion, because it accepts you no matter who you are, what colour, what creed, what sex, what shape, what nationality…it cares not. It’s always been there for me since I was young, and I’m guessing, by looking at all of you, it was there for you too.”

He called on everyone present to take out their phones and record the moment that was unfolding, inviting them to make a memory with him and the band. That moment, with thousands of lights filling the arena, created what Danny referred to as “a whole constellation of stars” of which he said, “every one of those is a portal to the outside world, and we’re going to give them a moment to remember.” As he asked if Manchester was ready to “make a moment”, the roaring cheer he received in response told him the answer was an emphatic ‘yes.’ From there “Hall Of Fame”, with the choir adding an extra special something to the performance, closed out the set, ending it on an undeniable high.

With over a dozen more dates still left for the band to perform on this leg of the tour, and likely scores more yet to be announced, tonight The Script not only entertained those before them, but also got those with tickets for upcoming shows, and following the show on social media, even more hyped up. They might have been away for close to three years, but given the energy and passion with which they performed each and every song, together with the reaction of the crowd, tonight in Manchester, it was like they never went away at all.

BRIT AWARDS 2018: RITA ORA TO PERFORM 42

The BRITs 2018 performance line-up adds another superstar in Rita Ora who will take to the stage at the awards ceremony for the first time this year. She will join Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters, Sam Smith, Stormzy, Rag’n’Bone Man and Jorja Smith at The O2 on 21 February for the biggest night in British music.

Previously nominated for four BRIT Awards, and with 7 million single sales and a No. 1 platinum debut album to her name, Rita’s recent return to music has seen her into the charts four times in less than a year, most recently with ‘For You’ – a duet with BRITs 2018 double-nominee Liam Payne.

Rita said: “I am so honoured to be performing at The BRITs this year, as a British artist it has always been a dream of mine and I am beyond excited”

BRITs Chairman & CEO and Chairman of Sony Music UK & Ireland Jason Iley said: “The BRIT Awards are a celebration of the biggest success stories of the last 12 months in music and Rita has had an incredible year.  She is one of the most exciting British artists of her generation.  I am so pleased to welcome her to The BRITs stage and very much look forward to what will undoubtably be one of the evenings many highlights.”

The 38th BRIT Awards will be hosted by Jack Whitehall and broadcast live on ITV. Celebrate with us on 21 February!