Singer, songwriter, painter... Cork music student Sarah Beth loves to create

Cork music student SarahBeth talks to COLETTE SHERIDAN about raising funds for her upcoming EP, a song she wrote about Donald Trump, and her paintings
Singer, songwriter, painter... Cork music student Sarah Beth loves to create
Sarah Beth Singer

SINGER/SONGWRITER, Sarah-Beth oozes creativity.

The young woman was intending to study art the Crawford College of Art and Design but decided at the last minute to study for a degree in music at CIT Cork School of Music (CSM). She still paints, linking in the visual arts with her music.

The 20-year-old Kilmurry native, whose surname is O’Mullane, brands herself by just using her Christian name. She has an ethereal presence which belies her practical streak and her awareness of the vagaries of the music industry.

Sarah-Beth is planning to release her first solo EP through a Crowd Sound campaign. Entitled ‘Your Muse,’ the theme of the EP is the celebration of the human being and the soul, “something which surpasses physical beauty.” Money raised will go towards mastering duplication and promoting the EP and a video accompanying one of the songs. In return, those who donate to the campaign by the Sunday May 21 deadline will be given rewards, from copies of the EP, to lyric sheets, music lessons, private performances and Sarah-Beth’s paintings and sketches. The goal is to raise €1,500, a good percentage of which has already been donated.

Sarah-Beth describes her EP as piano-based folk music with some soul sounds and hip hop elements. At the tender age of seven, she started to learn to play the piano with a private teacher.

“I found classical music very constraining. It’s what I grew up on and I thought it was the route you had to take. It’s a thing you do at a young age. I went through the system, doing the grades and progressing. It keeps getting harder. But there are different styles of playing the piano. I like the jazz side of it and the folk singer/songwriter style.” From an early age, Sarah-Beth knew she wanted to write. “I’m a creative person. I love to create something original so that’s why I got into song-writing.” The songs on the EP “are basically about seeing people as works of art.

“We all have a physical appearance. Looking at someone, it’s like a canvas and everyone has their own story to tell. People are a form of inspiration. That’s the main theme.

One of Sarah Beth's images.
One of Sarah Beth's images.

“The EP is also deals with love. But my music has matured a bit. It used to be all about love and was a bit more romantic but now, it’s about experiences. I use my music to reflect on experiences and love and relationships with friends in general. It’s kind of like therapy. I definitely have experienced love but I don’t think it has been real love so far.” Sarah-Beth says that people are not just products of their environment but also, their minds. “We all see the world in a completely different way.” The singing writer touches on politics with a song about Donald Trump. She writes: “I smell the power from his cologne/ sugar daddy, give me something for the journey home/. You told me you’d make me great again/make your homeboys more masculine/.” As far as Sarah-Beth is concerned, people can choose to see the world in whatever way they want. “You see a lot of fear on the news and a lot of killings. But you don’t hear about the good things that are happening in the world.” Sarah-Beth is in her second year at the CSM, studying popular music.

“It’s a great place to be and so liberating. I still love to listen to classical music. I just don’t really want to play it. I have two more years at CSM. For my studies, voice is my main instrument but I still do piano as well.

“The course is mainly performance but I love writing and producing as well. I like the technology side of it. Being able to record yourself is a really valuable tool. And with social media, being able to promote yourself is important. You have to kind of see yourself as a product, but not in a soul destroying way. It’s your business and you have to make that appealing.” A full-time career as a singer/songwriter beckons and Sarah-Beth also enjoys teaching music to young people. “That’s an important aspect of music; giving something back.” Will she remain in Cork? “I love Cork city but I definitely want to travel and see the rest of the world. I don’t want to be closed off.” Sarah-Beth says Cork is full of talented musicians. “There’s live music in the city nearly every night. I like to go and see the band, Rowan. I also like the music of Jack O’Rourke and Sarah Bear. But as a musician, you have to do free shows a lot of the time or you depend on the bar to pay you. It’s hard to get people into gigs when you’re up-and-coming and haven’t really established your name. People are reluctant to pay. You can get everything free online so it’s difficult. You have to ask people for their support and help.” Sarah-Beth’s other great artistic outlet – her painting – ties in with her music.

“At the moment, I’m drawing female figures and I’ve splattered vibrant colours onto their faces. It’s the colour of their soul coming out as a physical representation. The paintings are available to buy with the music. “ Not surprisingly, Sarah-Beth describes herself as ambitious but not necessarily seeking fame.

“I want to inspire people, to make people think. It’s not about fame. I just want my music to be good enough to be listened to. I want my music to be influential.” 

To donate to Sarah-Beth’s campaign, go to www.crowdsound.co.

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