Rightfully named after the Persian word for "Lioness," The Shirzans are a truly diverse, all-female ensemble that were founded during the summer of 2018 by the band's lead singer, Sarah Khatami. As an activist whose own solo music has much to do with social issues, Sarah's goal with this all-female band was to place women at the forefront of her local music scene, where they belong. In a male-dominated industry, Sarah & the Shirzans are answering back to the disrespect and lack of recognition with their own voice. They are here to change the narrative and represent aspiring musicians and artists like themselves: women of color, queer women, and women as a whole.
"I had just gotten sick of being disrespected and belittled by men in rehearsals and recording sessions, and I noticed that women listened to me, understood me, supported me, and genuinely cared about the quality of the music we were playing."
Sarah & The Shirzans make their powerful debut with “Hunt”. There’s a purpose to a song like this, there’s an intention to the writing, and those leading vocals captivate beautifully to reinforce this right the way through. There are moments of full throttle weight and power as the track reaches its peak. Insane guitar work is met by a quickly compelling chord progression and lyrical substance, all of which is strengthened further thanks to the band’s unquestionably impressive performances across the board. “Hunt” is incredibly energizing, uplifting and empowering in many ways. The best way to experience a track like this is either at volume or at a live show. With an incredible debut like “Hunt”, we can’t wait to experience more from Sarah & The Shirzans.
Listen to “Hunt” here and read more below in our exclusive interview.
Welcome to BuzzMusic! In your own words, what’s the concept behind “Hunt”, and why did you decide to create a song around that?
When we were in writing sessions for the EP, we came up with the title "Hunt" before we even started writing the song. We noticed that all of the songs that we’d written so far had a common theme of searching/yearning for something more. Most of us had recently graduated from Berklee and a huge chapter of all of our lives was coming to a close, and we felt like the word "hunt" perfectly described how we were feeling.
The song itself, however, doesn't really have much to do with the whole "searching/not-really-knowing-what-we're-doing-with-our-lives" theme. It was actually based on a poem written by one of our background vocalists, Michela McDonagh, about the Salem witch trials. We were literally in a writing session, and as soon as Michela showed me the poem, I knew that the song was going to be a bop and that we were literally going to crush the entire patriarchy with it, so I immediately texted our bassist, Sophie Potrykus, and was like "girl, I need you to send us a funky bass line stat,” and then we wrote the song. It’s basically about how history is constantly repeating itself. Just as the witches suffered in the 1600s, women are still suffering today, and so this song is our way of fighting back, and honestly just getting revenge on men.
What do you hope people take away from this release?
Our music is for female-identifying people. Particularly women of color and queer women. We hope that the people who identify as such can see themselves in us and feel empowered by our music.
Who or what would you say inspires or influences you the most musically?
I mean, we do a lot of Ariana Grande covers at our shows sometimes because it’s fun, but I’m not sure if she’s like a huge musical influence for us. But if I’m speaking for the whole group, I think I’d say, collectively, we’re all really inspired by Noname, Lizzo, and Janelle Monáe.
What are your main aspirations as a group right now?
Honestly, we’re not thinking too far into the future at the moment. Right now, we’re focusing really hard on getting the EP done so we can announce a release date, and filming a music video for Hunt. I think we’ll probably do a couple more shows before the end of the year, mostly in New York. And who knows, maybe at some point down the line, we’ll go on tour. But I think right now, we’re just focusing on the present and really trying to perfect this record.
What’s something about you that most people don’t know?
We’re all just the biggest One Direction stans you’ll ever meet. And also, “shirzan” is the Persian word for “lioness,” but I feel like anyone who follows our social media probably knows that already.
Stay connected with Sarah & The Shirzans via their socials below!