Interview with Sian Sanderson

We have a duty here at Soundscape to try and bring you the best the UK music scene has to offer, regardless of what genre/style it is, so with that in mind say hello to Sian Sanderson, who will introduce herself fully in a bit, her song ‘No Sweeter Love’ has been on heavy rotation on my iPod for quite some time, she has one hell of a soulful voice which definitely bely’s her youth, and a knack writing a great tune. So without further ado…

Who are you and what do you do?
Allow me to introduce myself – I’m Sian Sanderson. Before we go any further, let it be known that my name is pronounced ‘Shawn’ – it’s a common mistake, but people often call me ‘Sharn’. It’s cool, as long as we all know what we’re workin’ with here.. 😉 With that out of that way, I’m a singer and a songwriter from Weybridge, in Surrey. I also play guitar, and sometimes keys if I’m so inclined.

How did you get started?
According to my mum, I started singing before I could talk. I got my first band together (an all-girl three-piece) when I was 12 & that’s when I first started playing shows. My first serious band, if you will, was Hearts Under Fire (who are still going – check them out!) which I started with Lexi at the age of 14. We toured a lot and I’m so thankful for those experiences – we played some cool shows with awesome bands, and I got to grow up playing music with some of my best friends. Very proud of all we achieved at such a young age, but I made the decision to leave in Summer 2009 as my heart just wasn’t in punk-rock.

What have you got going on at the moment?
Right now, I’m concentrating on writing as much as possible. I want to expand the repertoire and write as much, and as far outside of my comfort zone as I can. I just unleashed my full-band’s first live recording as I decided it was time people heard the live arrangement. Up until now, everything online has been acoustic, but there’s so much more energy with bass and drums involved, and I want people to feel that. I’m blessed to be working with incredibly talented & inspiring musicians, so it’s about time they get the recognition they deserve!

I’ve also collaborated recently with an awesome drum & bass producer called LSB, writing & performing the vocals on the title track of his forthcoming EP, ‘Overthinking’. It’s set for release early this year on Spearhead records & features another tune with myself & Stamina MC on vocals. Very exciting! http://www.facebook.com/LukeLSB for all the updates!

Favourite music and why?
Soul & blues. That’s where my heart is. That’s where my voice sits most naturally and what feels most gratifying to sing. I was brought up listening to Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Etta James, Marvin Gaye, all the classic performers. As I’ve explored the genres for myself, I’ve found love for artists like D’Angelo, Donny Hathaway, Raphael Saadiq, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bill Withers.. but that’s the tip of the iceberg, you know?

I could sit & list artists all day, but really it comes down to the soul. If they sing or play from the heart, with honesty, passion and authenticity, I’ll love it. That must be why I love the guys in my band so much! 🙂

Favourite book and why?
The first that springs to mind is ‘The Secret History’ by Donna Tartt. It strikes the perfect balance of having a tense, gripping storyline while being beautifully & elegantly written. There’s nothing worse than a novel of graceful, descriptive prose in which nothing actually happens.(Virginia Woolf, I’m looking at you..) ‘The Secret History’ inspired me to go back into education, so for that, I hold it in high esteem. Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ also deserves an honourable mention, and pretty much anything by Ian McEwan or Chuck Palahniuk. Sorry, my inner nerd is having a field day.

Favourite film and why?
‘Home Alone’. Do I really need to explain why?

Best experience in the business?
I played a show on the 28th December at Ronnie Scott’s. It’s a venue that I’ve dreamt of playing for a long time – I’ve been tattooed a few times across the road at Frith Street, and every time I was there I’d clock the venue & think how awesome it would be to play. My guitarist Tom & I were so excited about it.. I don’t think he’d ever seen me that nervous, haha!
Anyway, it was rammed on the night and we got such incredibly positive feedback. I had my brother, my cousins & my best friend there to support me, we smashed the set and had so much fun. (Plus, they make a mean Old-Fashioned at that bar!) That’s what music’s about though – vibing out with music you love & having fun. So there it is, best experience.. so far!

Why should soundscape readers care?
This is a hard question for me. See, while I believe in myself, I’m not an arrogant person. I see a lot of artists right now giving it the big’un, with all this “2012 is MY year, watch this space, you can’t touch these bars..” etc – all this cocky affectation stuff. But that’s not me. It’s not my place to tell you why you should care – if you resonate with my voice or my writing, then that’s on you. Of course I’ll be overjoyed, but there’s nothing I can say to manipulate how someone perceives me or my music, nor should there be. All I can promise is that I’ll always bring honesty & authenticity to everything I do. That’s how I see it.

Tell our readers an interesting fact about yourself?
I once had my nose broken at a Horrorpops gig. Served me right for being there, I guess.. :-\

Best thing about playing in Wales?
I’ve only ever played in Newport & Chepstow! That was years ago.. But the Newport show was at TJ’s with Young Guns, and that was an awesome show. Those guys are absolute LADS, so of course it was going to be rad. Hopefully there’ll be many more awesome Welsh experiences to come!

Who are your role models or idols?
Michael Jackson has to have been my first inspiration; definitely the reason I wanted to pursue performance. His courage and compassion is just unparalleled, I don’t know of any other performer that delivered the way he did. That, and Amy Winehouse. I have a ‘Love Is A Losing Game’ tattoo on my right forearm, which I had done when I was seventeen.. so I guess you could say ol’ Winegums has had a big effect on me. Obviously she wasn’t much of a role model in terms of lifestyle, but her fearlessness always inspired me. Deciding to ‘go solo’ as an artist was a scary thing for me, having spent eight years as part of a band, but her music always motivated me to fuck my fears and do what my gut told me.

Honestly, I don’t know. I try not to focus on the negatives. I’m a ‘glass-overflowing’ sort of girl, shall we say.. I believe anything in life is as hard as you perceive it to be.

Sian is on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/siansanderson – and if you head over to her Soundcloud – http://soundcloud.com/siansanderson – you can download some of her songs, including the aforementioned ‘No Sweeter Love’ and a great new, full band track called ‘Fluent In False Sentiments’.

Thanks to Sian for talking to us.

About Paul Esp 190 Articles
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