If you had to describe your music/style in a sentence, what would you say?
I usually describe it as lyrically-focused jazz pop.
How did you get into music?
I started out playing the violin and singing in a church choir when I was young, so the first music I learnt was classical. When I was 12 my mom bought my brother a guitar hoping he would start playing it, but I was the one picking it up instead. It was a summer when I was very bored and I started teaching myself the chords of cheesy songs online. It was around that time that I started writing my own songs.
Can you pinpoint a live gig or a piece of music that initially inspired you?
It’s hard to pinpoint one thing really, when the things I take inspiration from are always very different. I grew up listening to the Norwegian band Kings Of Convenience, and I think they’ve influenced the way I write a lot. The way they play with space in their song My Ship Isn’t Pretty really inspires me.
Do you have a favourite song or piece of music to perform? What does it say about you?
I have a song called The Hanging Man, which is a song about a man who’s struggling with depression. I think this song says a lot about my love for writing stories; the songs I write don’t always come from personal experiences. I mostly enjoy performing this song because, as it is a story, I feel a more intimate connection with the people listening to it. And I also love creeping people out.
What do you think is the overriding influence on your songwriting: other art, emotions, current affairs – or a mixture of all of these?
A mix, definitely! A new song usually starts with me remembering a feeling I had years ago, a friend telling me something or just a nice sentence I’ve written down. Sometimes even interesting words can inspire me to build around them. Even though they seem very personal, my songs aren’t always about my own emotions; I see my process as taking tiny feelings, mine or yours, and magnifying them.
Do you have a favourite venue you’ve performed in? If so, what makes it special?
My favourite venue so far must be in the Walker Art Gallery! I played an acoustic gig during LightNight in the room with all the beautiful stone statues. Biggest crowd of stoners I’ve ever played to.
Scarf Song is released on 30th November. Sara Wolff supports Nicola Hardman at Jacaranda Records Phase One on 16th November.