Sarah Crean is an Irish songwriter, producer and musician. She has just released her debut album “Call For Refinement”, an album almost entirely self produced and fully self-written. It most certainly cements her status as one of Ireland’s most exciting upcoming artists & producers. MNÁSOME’s Alison caught up with Sarah to talk in-depth about the album and some of her favourite artists of the moment.
Hey Sarah! Thanks so much for talking to us today. Congratulations on the release of your debut album “Call For Refinement”.
You described the album as a “celebration of who [you] have grown to become”. Do you think writing and releasing this album has helped you grow through the hardships you wrote about?
100%. The writing/producing process definitely felt quite therapeutic in that way. Across the board, it’s quite honest and reflective, and that alone is something I would’ve seriously feared in the past. But at this point in my life, I’m much less apologetic about the hardships I’ve experienced and who I’ve become in the process of experiencing them. There’s a proudness there instead of shame, and I think writing and releasing the album has encouraged that proudness quite a bit.
Some songs like ‘’Fate Induced Insomnia’’ and ‘’Body Filled With
Hatred’’ were trickier to write but definitely pushed that growth further – I wouldn’t exactly call writing those therapeutic, purely because the content brought back some negative memories. But in this case, the positive is people telling me they’ve found solace in those songs. So yes, it’s definitely a celebration of the person I’ve grown to become, but it definitely took some serious self-encouragement.
I believe this is an entirely self produced album? What was your favourite track to write & produce?
Minus ‘’Rainy Day in Berlin’’, yes! I had the pleasure of co-producing that particular track with Adam O’Leary, who is such a fantastic talent and so incredibly easy to work with. Every other track is self produced, and the album is entirely self-written.
I think ‘’French Boy’’ was the most fun to write and produce, for sure. My music taste is extremely varied – ranges from Snoh Aalegra to the Carpenters – and that mix is something I’ve always wanted to incorporate into my own music.‘’French Boy’’ is the by-product of finally tapping into that desire to mix and incorporate multiple musical inspirations. The track is supposed to depict a brief moment of euphoria amidst the emotional chaos of the rest of the album, and I think funnelling that feeling of euphoria into the writing and production process elevated it completely. It’s probably the track I’m most proud of production-wise, purely because I allowed myself to have a lot of fun making it.
Take us through your songwriting process? Is it the same every time?
It really depends! There’s times where I sit down at the piano with the sole intent of writing, other times I’m just playing for enjoyment and something good comes out of it. ‘’Rainy Day in Berlin’’ and ‘’Fate Induced Insomnia’’ were the result of sitting down to write, ‘’French Boy’’ and ‘’Selfish’’ were the result of something good coming out of playing for enjoyment, for example.
Lyrically though, my focus is to try and be as reflective as possible. Whether that’s by tapping into inward emotions or by delving into past experiences from an objective viewpoint, I always try to add multi-layered depth to each experience used as inspiration. I’d say the way in which I write lyrics is usually the same, but musically it can differ.
Who are some Irish artists you are loving at the moment & why?
I’ve got a huge amount of respect and admiration for Soda Blonde. Faye O’Rourke’s voice is literal magic, the kind that demands your attention so effortlessly. ‘’In the Heat of the Night’’ has been on constant repeat for me since their album came out, it’s so insanely powerful.
SPIDER is another Irish artist that I will always have respect for. Her journey as an artist is something I’ve had the honour of witnessing and I’m just constantly in awe of how she continues to get better and better, even when you think she’s reached the peak of musical excellence. ‘’Water Sign’’ is definitely up there with some of my favourite lyrical works of all time.
Do you have any more big plans for 2021 you would like to share with MNÁSOME readers?”
When the time comes, I’m definitely extremely excited to perform ‘’Call For Refinement’’ live, and especially excited to commit more of my time to writing and producing for other artists.
Although at the moment, my priorities definitely lie more so with taking care of myself and bettering my health. But I am severely excited to see where the album takes me now that it belongs to those that are listening.
Stream “Call For Refinement” by Sarah Crean on Spotify
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Cover image by Niamh Barry.