S.A.A.R.A. Sparks Fire Within Her Lush Single, "Forest"

The North London-based multi-instrumentalist, composer, and sound artist S.A.A.R.A. releases her lively 'orchestral funk' single entitled "Forest."

Beginning her music career as a bass player, S.A.A.R.A. later ventured into songwriting, production, and performance through her involvement in groups like City Lights (garage-rock), Ezra Band, and Hot Machine (guerrilla-funk), and more recently, Westerman (alt-pop).

Now paying homage to acts like Kate Bush, Björk, and Grace Jones through releases like "Forest," listeners are able to hear a deftly-produced sonic soundscape merged with tones of woodwinds, brass, and bass. While S.A.A.R.A. offers a soulful and spirited lyrical performance, we're nothing but impressed with the sonic texture of this track.

S.A.A.R.A. opens "Forest" with upbeat electronic drum patterns, shimmering woodwind instrumentals, a warm saxophone, and shimmering background synths. Already fueling the sonic atmosphere with nothing but texture and versatility, S.A.A.R.A. makes her vocal appearance and begins ethereally singing of feeling awake when the rest of the world lays their head to rest.

The song's energy maintains its pace throughout the entire experience, blasting our speakers with intricate synth arrangements and the grooviest of jazz/r&b instrumentals. We're more than pleased with the outcome of S.A.A.R.A.'s smashing single, as she's truly carving paths for other powerful and talented female creatives to follow. Giving us a blend of modern electronic and nostalgic jazz through this single, S.A.A.R.A. is definitely an artist to keep an eye on.

Dance away with S.A.A.R.A.'s recent single, "Forest," and don't miss out on her exhilarating sounds as she sprints through 2021 with force. Available on all digital streaming platforms.

Listen to "Forest" here.

We're incredibly excited to chat with you regarding your latest single, "Forest." How did the creation of this single begin? This was the first song I wrote for this project and the first song I had finished in a long old time!! I wanted to create a track that felt like a club mix – something that people could dance to- with the feel of a DNB track. I started off jamming on the bass with a live drummer before moving the ideas into Logic. I love stacking up drum loops in order to create that big-beat feel. I then built up the instrumental arrangement, starting with the bass and then the woodwind elements through a lot of trial and error. I had the opening lines of the first verse stuck in my head for ages, so I just started mumbling them into a microphone until the melody and the rest of the lyrics started to take shape. It was amazing to hear the band bring it to life once we got into the rehearsal room in order to refine it.

What theme or story did you want to touch on within your lyricism for "Forest?" How does your lyricism coincide with the song's energetic sonic atmosphere? At the time, I was studying an MA in experimental music and had become interested in exploring the line between what we consider reality and hyperreality, the IRL (in real life) vs the URL (online). This song is about not being quite certain whether you are in a weird dream or a dystopian reality and trying to find something, anything, to confirm it. One of my favorite lines is “sometimes I look at you and I wonder if you’re on my TV, but I don’t think you’re real, I’ve seen you running through the forest.” Kind of fitting for how we are living right now, reliant on the internet and social media to keep us connected, I guess…

Could you take us through how you created such a dense sonic atmosphere for "Forest?" What did the process look like when merging synthetic production with organic instrumentals?

I found myself having quite a visual approach to this track. Once I had the lyrics down, it became easier to think about what sounds and textures to bring into the arrangement in order to paint a picture. For the choruses, I wanted the listener to experience a sense of magic and wonder in addition to the dark density of a forest. There is a gorgeous waterfall-like grand piano that picks up in the choruses accompanied by layered vocals, multiple synths, and timpani in addition to the beautiful woodwind. By contrast, the verses are much cleaner and more structured, although there is a fantastically sinister synth growling its way through giving a sense of discomfort and tension. I love jumping between the two worlds – the synthetic production and the organic instruments, you can’t get any more organic and corporeal than woodwind as it relies on your breath!! The production elements are always purposefully organized to complement the organic instruments, giving them a base. In that sense, I try to think of all the sounds as one fantastical being, a bit like an orchestra.

As a female producer, composer, and artist in a male-dominated industry, how do your brand and music inspire other women in the industry to take charge of their craft?

I was motivated to set up my own project so that I could make my voice heard. In so many iterations of bands I have been involved in, I found myself being talked over or talked down which meant I never really got to see where my ideas could go. Funnily enough, even in this project, I have encountered personalities that have wanted to tell me how I ought to be going about realizing my own creative vision!! I think a large part of that comes with being a woman, yes, but also being a black woman. I have had to learn to stick to my guns and not be afraid to follow that creative urge. Music and creativity are not empirical sciences, there is no right or wrong answer. Doing work that is unique and truthful to one’s self, requires walking an untrodden path. I love experimenting with my tracks and the arrangement and going with what feels good. I hope in doing so and by being visible – something I have also had to learn to get comfortable with, I can inspire other women to not shrink themselves to fit outdated norms that permeate popular music.

What has been keeping you inspired to create music?

My amazing band keeps me focussed on creating new tracks – sometimes it’s easier said than done, but it’s so satisfying to bring in a new track and hear them breathe life into the arrangement, literally! I also am motivated by our amazing supporters – giving them tunes that they can have a proper dance to when we play live.