Upcoming singer-songwriter Sara releases her debut single Little Nerves this week and heads to the Garibaldi in Northampton for a gig with Kian Russell and headliners Garden on Saturday.
The multi-instrumentalist from Hertfordshire via Mozambique takes inspiration from the likes of Frank Ocean, Sufjan Stevens and Bon Iver.
Her music is inherently melodic, but she uses unusual arrangements and displays of lyrical vulnerability, touching on themes of mental health, loneliness and sexuality.
“Little Nerves is about being trapped in the purgatory of another person’s feelings and the intense, drug-like emotion you experience when your own are reciprocated,” she explains.
“Musically, the song uses smooth bass lines and fragmented drumbeats to create a sense of anticipation and confidence.
“The general mood of a homecoming and desire for relief was also in part inspired by a line from The Great Gatsby, ‘his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it'.”
Originally from Hemel Hempstead, Sara spent much of her childhood in Mozambique where she was lucky to survive the 2007 Maputo arms depot explosion, when a Russian arms depot self-destructed in the intense heat, with missiles landing just metres from where she and her family took shelter. The event changed Sara and drove her to create and express herself in order to cope with the trauma.
Sara’s musical output began with the release of her home recorded lo-fi EP Haunt in 2017.
With no press or plugging, she received track of the week from her local BBC Introducing while racking up plays of nearly half a million on Spotify.
The subsequent 18 months have seen Sara go through a creative burst that has nurtured more than 50 songs, while developing more expansive sound following the addition of two live musicians.
Explaining her choice in picking Little Nerves as her debut single, she said: “It was really hard to choose.
“There was a lot of back and forth when it came to which single would be the proper debut.
“In the end, Little Nerves won out because it encapsulated the direction I'm going right now.”
Talking about her influences, she adds: “I've been inspired by films, conversations, heartbreak and generally anything that makes me feel strong emotions.
“That's really what drives me to express anything in the first place - so every song is usually about something that's really bugging me.
“The final chorus of Little Nerves was written while I was on the plane going away on holiday.
“I really liked this girl but was pretty sure that things would be different when I came home again.
“I had screenshotted a text from her that said something like ‘I’ll be here waiting for you’ - and that whole exchange made me feel so many things that I just needed to write down.
“A 10-hour flight alone with your thoughts isn't fun.”
Sara is currently working on writing more material for her debut album and has a series of gigs liked up across the UK between now and February.
She will join Kian Russell and headliners Garden at the Garibaldi Hotel on Saturday, November 30.
Music is from 8pm, admission is free. For more details, visit fb.com/saramusicuk