"Sarah Jaffe was raised on Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchell, and James Taylor." – Interview

Every now and then a singer/songwriter comes along that makes a huge impact on music. Sarah Jaffe is that musician. A lot of people haven’t heard of her but Jaffe is getting noticed and recognized for her album “Suburban Nature.” USA Today and Amazon.com have her in the top 100 for people and albums. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Jaffe about her album, her music and her influences.

Q – How did you get started in music?

A - I was raised in a family that had a deep adoration for music. So I started asking for instruments as soon as I could talk. And I started playing shows as soon as the clubs would let me in.

Q – For those of you first discovering you, how would you describe your sound?

A - Um... I can’t answer that question for myself really. So, I’m not sure. I just hope it’s well received!

Q – When you sit down to write a song, does it begin with lyrics or music? Is there a certain formula for writing music?

A - I've never really had a formula. I definitely move on impulse when it comes to writing. Very inspired by melody. So sometimes lyrics are secondary, and music first. And then other times, if an instrument is not available, I'll think of lyrics, or lines, or ideas, and I'll punch them in my little memo pad on my phone until I can twirl with them in melody.

Q – How do you feel about reality shows like “American Idol” that promise everything for essentially doing nothing?

A - Makes for good clips on “The Soup.”

Q – USA Today listed you as number 49 in its list of “100 People of 2010” in regard to your album “Suburban Nature.” What does that recognition do for your confidence as a musician?


A - It never stops being flattering. And it continues to be an honor in every sense. It brings me joy to write and to play and to travel. I used to dream about it when I was a little girl. So, props along the way are icing.

Q – “Suburban Nature” was also on the Amazon.com’s list of best albums in 2010. When you recorded the album, what was your goal or goals for it?

A - My goal always is to make music that I’m proud of and I feel good about. So, I think that was it really. To make an honest record.

Q – Who were your musical influences growing up?

A - I was raised listening to a healthy amount of Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchell, and James Taylor.

Q – How do you incorporate your influences in your music yet still maintain individuality?

A - As much as I'm mindful of what I'm doing when I'm writing songs, there’s also a kind of oblivion when I'm writing. I mean that in a sense that I just do what sounds good to me. And everything plays a part, including my influences.

Q – That’s all I had. Is there anything you want to add?

A - Thank you very much!

















BYLINE:

Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Email Jason at jason@zoiksonline.com.
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