Guest Playlist: Sarah Williams White

South London singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Sarah Williams White picks some of her fave tunes just for you!

After taking a lengthy hiatus during which she became a mother, Sarah returned last month with a new song, ‘Nebula’, taken from her forthcoming second album, ‘Unfathomable’.

Our ears were blessed yesterday with the second single ‘Monsters’ from the anticipated record. Take a stroll through a tranquil soundscape of gently caressed pianet, shimmering bass, delicate drums and Sarah’s enchanting, but mellow vocals.

Speaking about the track Sarah explains ‘Monsters’ “I had made this haunting play of space between pianet, bass and Timmy’s drums which started me thinking about the scary stories and tales we tell. I had been reading about what Britain’s landscapes looked like thousands of years ago and the giant animals our ancestors hunted to extinction, like the hippo bones they found when they were building Trafalgar Square. I think the feral side of us still seeks out the thrill of monsters via stories, films, or even projecting monstrous images onto others so we have something to fear and chase away.”

With a sound that blends psych soul, folktronica and experimental pop, her guest playlist reflects the diversity of the music she creates. There are some great picks from the legendary Kate Bush to the musical god that is Stevie Wonder, so, just settle in and enjoy the music as Sarah takes us through the tracks…

Sleep To Dream – Fiona Apple
Fiona was one of the reasons I became a songwriter. This debut album was killer, the opening track so dark and richly textured. I love her unusual mix of songwriting and production

I Only Have Eyes For You – The Flamingos
What can I say about this track? Classic. A stunning song set against a haunting use of reverbs, piano stabs and drums. An obvious influence for ‘Monsters’

I Pity The Fool – Ann Peebles
From one of my favourite albums. The songs and sound of this album are ridiculous. Timeless classic Memphis soul, by the same team behind Al Green. I love Peebles’ delivery, so vibrant and moody.

Orange Moon- Erykah Badu
Erykah is another main reason I became a songwriter and producer. Her mesh of jazz hip hop and soul at the time was so genuinely original and strong.

Egypt – Kate Bush
From the first album I picked up by Kate Bush and it was one of those WTF moments. The more I learnt about her, the more mesmerised I was, especially because of her involvement in every aspect of her artistry. The eerieness of this track is epic

I Can Love Again – Jamie Lidell
Love this track by Jamie, a great example of his soulful play with song and production. Another huge influence for me.

Vultures – John Mayer
Continuum album was on repeat for a looong time. The drums & bass groove on this by Steve Jordan & Pino Palladino is gorgeous, a good example of the kind of simplicity I wanted for ‘Monsters’

Supervillain Theme – Madvillain
I was so excited on first hear of this villainous team, the playful multi-faceted and atmospheric hip hop sound only those two artists could create.

Willow Weep For Me – Sarah Vaughan
This is such a beautiful live version of the song. At 13 my jazz piano teacher started me off on the hugely influential journey of learning jazz standards to sing and play

The Life and Death of Mr. Badmouth – PJ Harvey
I adore her storytelling and bullsy artistry. This is a favourite of mine from her self produced album Uh Huh Her. Simple and atmospheric.

Suburban Dream – The Stepkids
These guys were badasses. Love the use of delays, reverbs and synths on this.

Higher Ground – Stevie Wonder
Stevie is a musical god. This is one of the first of his songs I learnt how to play. I love the classic blues funk pattern of the song and how the chorus lifts.

Caravan – Duke Ellington
Ellington was my grandad’s favourite. This trio is epic with Charlie Mingus & Max Roach. A gorgeous jazz album that I often return too.

Monsters is out now – buy from Bandcamp.

CF Smith

Write for Music Is My Sanctuary & Stereofox.

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