Tell us about yourself and your music
Hi. My name’s Sally Crosby and I’m an independent primarily acoustic singer-songwriter from Mid Wales. I’m based in Welshpool, Wales although I grew up in a small village called the Foel which is right in the middle of Wales. Welshpool is right on the border however so I often pop to England for my shopping! I started out in music at the age of five when I started getting piano lessons. Fast-track a couple of years and I was learning to play violin and clarinet on top of that. I wrote my first composition before I’d even reached double digits. I can still play it off by heart. I was sixteen when I got my first guitar and taught myself to play with the foundation of already playing several other instruments. By this point, I’d stopped playing clarinet as my parents couldn’t afford three musical instrument lessons a week! But you’ll find that clarinet still features on some of my recordings as I bought one as an adult. Everything you hear in my singer-songwriter music, I played or sang as well as wrote. I play the violin, clarinet, piano, percussion (egg shakers, tambourines), guitar and ukulele in my tracks as well as sing. Soon I will have a track with a glockenspiel in it as I own one of them now too! It features in a classical composition of mine, my first to be using recorded instruments rather than samples, called Dark Horse. It’s a slow builder. Back to the singer-songwriter music. I’ve released 2 EPs and several singles. They’re to be found dotted about the internet, on Bandcamp, SoundCloud, YouTube among others. My first single was released in 2013, my first EP in 2014 and I went on to receive airplay and interviews on BBC Radio 6, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru among many others with my track ‘Comet’. I am currently working on producing a music video for this track as it is still alive and well on Spotify. With my second EP, All I Seem to Know How to Do Is Write Songs About You, released in 2017, my title song was played on Amazing Radio. I have been playing live since I was a child in competitions, however, I only started playing my music live in 2012. I started with open mics and built up to playing festivals like Wakestock in North Wales, where I was on the same bill as Tom Odell, Frank Turner, and John Newman. In the summer of 2014, I must have played something like 13 festivals! Up and down Wales mostly, although also in England! I’ve played a singer-songwriter festival in the Netherlands and I’ve played in Switzerland where I lived for 3 months. I don’t play live anymore as I find it too stressful these days. I last played live in April 2019. I am now concentrating on writing and recording tracks to share as well as producing videos for my YouTube channel. My songs are indie folk-pop and are based on my true thoughts and reflections.
Talk to us more about your latest release
My latest release is “Good Enough”, a single I have released across most digital platforms via DistroKid. It came out today, August 10th, 2019. It is an upbeat folk-pop number with scatting and is ukulele based with added piano and percussion. It tells the story of my struggle with life in terms of having insecurities and social anxiety but how I overcome this and struggle on in a lively, positive way. The chorus tells of how I feel inadequate but how I remember I have worth in that I am loved and that truly means something. It is similar to my track ‘I’m Not Ready’ in that there are some less positive lyrics that are masked by a strong major key and therefore fuel a dichotomy. It is a stand-alone single. I made a lyric video for this track, it can be found on my YouTube, which is http://www.youtube.com/sallycrosbymusic.
What inspired you to write this release?
This song, like all others, came from my desire to share my thoughts, feelings, and emotions in song in the hope that someone else can benefit from them in being able to relate and in enjoying the music. I do feel inadequate and fear being told I’m not ‘good enough’. I do struggle to engage with life, ‘make stances’ and share opinions. I have social anxiety and that’s the inspiration behind this song. I’m doing a live interview in a couple of weeks and I am TERRIFIED!
Describe the writing and recording process
I wrote this song back in January but I’m only just releasing it formally. I used the chords of another track of mine, an unusual set of chords, changed the pace and strumming pattern, and put them in a different order. This was on the ukulele. I liked the effect. Then I wrote the lyrics. I always write lyrics after I’ve come up with a chord progression I like. The lyrics flew out of me with very few changes, straight onto the pages of my notebook I’ve had since I was 16 when I’d decided I wanted to be a singer-songwriter and set to learning guitar. I set about recording very shortly after writing the song as I have a set-up at home. I recorded the ukulele first, then the scatting, then the main vocals, then percussion, then piano. I tried to add backing vocals but they didn’t improve the quality of the song so I kept them out. I record everything at home using a Shure mic, pop shield, stand, and laptop. I usually use GarageBand as I’m familiar with it and have been for years, with mixing but no mastering. I do have Logic Pro though and have experimented with it. I’m considering using Logic Pro for future releases and getting mastering done. For my meantime I’m really happy with the result of my home recordings, simple effects seem to go a long way. My first two EPs were recorded in a studio but I decided to record at home for this release as I always ran out of time in the studio for good results and couldn’t afford more! Recording at home means I can record as little or as much as I want, whenever I want.
Any plans to hit the road?
I’m not playing live at the moment, and because of the stress, it causes me may not return for some time.
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
I think my music is unique in that it is a special brand of folk-pop and I can’t say that there are many artists out there quite like me. For example, my latest single includes scatting which is something you won’t find in the Top 40! I play, write and record everything myself, I am a one-woman shop. I write about whatever is happening with me, so a great range of themes. Sometimes that’s my experience in or with relationships but also that’s something a bit different like my trip to the supermarket and all that entailed, as heard with my song “St. John’s” which can be found on my YouTube channel as a live performance recording. I have written about depression, mental illness, issues with gambling, all sorts! There is something for everyone that like I say, maybe you wouldn’t find in the Top 40 but can strike a chord.
Who have you been listening to lately?
Phoebe Bridgers, Connor Oberst, Lucy Dacus, Julia Jacklin, Julien Baker, Billie Marten among others.
Who are your biggest influences?
The above but also the likes of Lana Del Rey, Kate Nash, P!nk, Laura Marling, Johnny Flynn, Isaac Gracie, Snow Patrol, oh there are too many. My music is quite different to all that I listen to though. I would love to hear more music a bit like me. Sometimes I go searching YouTube for it. It’s amazing the artists you can find that have barely any following but real talent! Zoe Newton is one of these. She has fewer subscribers than me but she makes EXCELLENT music. I adore her voice and songwriting. I bought her first two EPs and will certainly be buying her next one.
Tell us about your passions
I have a passion for music. It led to me studying Music and Creative Writing at university. I graduated! But I also have other passions. Photography is another one. I bought a new lens recently, took a great snap on holiday in Norfolk this last week with it and I was so pleased! Then we went on a boat trip to see seals and my camera died in the spray, tragically! So no more holiday pics for me! I should be getting it fixed super soon as I also need it for my YouTube channel. I studied Photography at AS Level and dropped it in favor of more ‘useful’ subjects. I wish I’d kept it up really. Anyway, I’m back to it now after a bit of a lull in taking pictures! I have an Etsy shop, https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SACPhotographyGB if anyone wants to check out my photographs. I’m considering setting up a stall in the local market in the hope of selling some framed prints but we’ll see. In the meantime, please help me get my Etsy shop up and running! It’s only recently been set up. Also worth checking out www.sacphotography.com. My Facebook fan page is @photographysac.
What else is happening next in your world?
I’m starting back at the football stadium soon. Serving food and drink. How glamorous! Between part-time work as a server and my music and photography I keep myself occupied. No more holidays coming up, unfortunately! I will be writing and recording over the coming weeks and months. I find that I often have nothing much planned and yet all these plans come up! I like it that way. Too many plans and I start to get stressed and overwhelmed. I’m a sensitive soul.
Thanks for an awesome interview, Sally Crosby
Connect with Sally Crosby
Website: http://www.sallycrosby.co.ukFacebook: http://www.facebook.com/sallycrosbymusicInstagram: http://www.instagram.com/sally_crosbyTwitter: http://www.twitter.com/UnpRfectYoutube: http://www.youtube.com/sallycrosbymusicSoundcloud: http://www.soundcloud.com/sally_c