photo by: rockfrank
Right at kick off-time to her "Freedom-Tour 2023" I had the opportunity to ask American blues-rock singer Sari Schorr a few questions about her new album,its origins,
and a few other topics.
Before the interview, Sari was nice enough to comment on my homepage:
Sari Schorr: Let me say, what you do is important, it’s really important. Because you help people to discover new music. And that is something that national papers won’t do. So, it’s harder work what you do. “Gute Arbeit”!
rockfrank: I’m not so sure…. But thank you! Du sprichst ein bisschen Deutsch? (You speak a little German?)
Sari Schorr: Ein bisschen (a little bit) …. not enough to impress you.
rockfrank: Tonight marks the start of your tour here in Germany which had to be postponed quite a few times due to the pandemic in the last three years.
So how do you feel about going back on tour in general? What are your expectations? Will the fans be different, maybe?
Sari Schorr: What I’ve found is that everyone appreciates live music now more than ever. From the band’s side we are even more grateful to be able to do our work, because, I’ve been touring for so many years, you take it for granted, it’s just something your do, it’s part of your work.
But then, when it’s taken away from you, and for the first time in your life you can’t do your job, you realize how much you miss it, you realize how much it defines who you are.
And audiences also not being able to have a place to celebrate life in a beautiful way with people, with likeminded people that are enjoying something positive and beautiful in the world; because there are so many problems in the world now. Music has always been important to uplift the human spirit.
photo by: rockfrank
rockfrank: So, hopefully you will bring along some of the new songs that we will find on the new album. We read in your e-mail that the work is almost completed, so when will it be out?
Sari Schorr: We’ll definitely have an album out in the fall, September, and we really had a hard time putting the set together, because we were asking fans for their favorite songs and we would need to do a three-hour concert now to get the new material in.
It’s fantastic to have too many songs to play, but we really had a, you know, long discussion with the band about what songs to show in 90 minutes. So we’re now at the point where with the new material and the favorites it’s been difficult. I hope we make most people happy.
rockfrank: You’ve been to the Swiss mountains last year. Did it help with your inspiration for new songs?
Sari Schorr: It did. It was so inspiring. I had a desk at a window with a mountain outside. And then one day the sheep were coming down the mountain and I joined them. So, for one day I was a sheep herder. That was “unglaublich”. Then I went hiking on the mountain, I thought, you know, I’m a very good hiker; I hike like five hours no problem…
II was so scared. In Switzerland everything is much more difficult. I was hiking along a trail where it was going down (on the sides), I ended up not hiking, but crawling on all fours, on hands and knees. It was very embarrassing. I thought a helicopter was gonna have to come and get me.
rockfrank: So where was the inspiration? Was it the sheep or the mountains?
Sari Schorr: The sheep. After we brought the sheep down to the valley, they had Rochefort, the cheese, and there (the people in the valley) were singing, and they taught me how to yodel. It was so inspiring.
And you know, when you free your mind, when you get a break, like really away from the music, something different from the music, and then come back to the song, and then I finish the lyric, a song we’re gonna play tonight called “My friend”. I finished it there, it’s a hard lyric, but the sheep, the sheep helped me.
rockfrank: How do you go about finding new songs, new music? Do you start with lyrics or do you have that riff in your head, where do you get the inspiration from?
Sari Schorr: Good question...
rockfrank: Or is it maybe not always the same way you go about it?
Sari Schorr: It is actually always the same way. I wish I could do lyric first, but it is always a melody, always starts with a chord progression. I hear a melody right away; I hear melodies very fast. And then I start singing some made-up words, like “dodadebop” and then I record it and then I go back and then write the lyric to the idea. And the lyric comes from the music, comes from the mood of the music. It really speaks to me; it tells me what it wants to be.
And I have so many different ideas that I’m trying to get go songs, but each time it’s the song that leads me. I can’t tell it where to go.
rockfrank: Since your first album was very blues oriented, like with Billie Holiday or Bessie Smith, are those artists idols who have any influence on your music or have had in the past?
Sari Schorr: Yeah, definitely. I started actually with the great jazz singers as you mentioned, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn. And I really got into RnB music, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan. And then, you know, went more into rock, The Who, Led Zeppelin, as I wanted to develop my lyrical writing, my capabilities as a lyricist, really got into Tom Waits and Bob Dylan. So, it’s been different stages of development.
Break in the interview, because Sari is needed by the band for the soundcheck.
And we are allowed to come along!
photo by: rockfrank
rockfrank: We not only can download your music or buy CDs, we can buy vinyl also, which is awesome. Is that important to you, especially nowadays with all the digital availability of music?
Sari Schorr: Yeah. I think there’s something so special being able to hold an album, and see the artwork and read the liner notes; and the sound is warm, and it’s just bringing me back to the way I used to listen to music. I loved my first record player. I saved up for weeks babysitting money to buy it; and a boy-friend drove me to the store, it was a big deal. I was buying so many records that I actually had an account with the record store; they would send me a bill once a month.
rockfrank: What about the new album? Will we have the chance to get that on vinyl, too?
Sari Schorr: Yeah. There’s a big delay with vinyl manufacturing, so it won’t come out right now but it will take a few months.
rockfrank: I’ve read, that this summer you’ll be headlining for Kiefer Sutherland in Germany. How much does that mean to you.
Sari Schorr: Unfortunately, I have a conflict in my schedule, so I’ll probably will do only the UK shows.
rockfrank: How about that well known range of your voice, about five octaves, about the same voice range as Aretha Franklin, Celine Dion or Mariah Carey. So how do you make sure, it stays that way, that your voice stays fit? Is it the tea with honey or the tea with lemon?
Sari Schorr: You know, it’s more not what I do but what I don’t do. I stop drinking when I’m on tour. I’m not a big drinker anyway, but my husband is in the wine business; so, we have some great wine.
But when I’m on tour, alcohol you know, I really try not to…. I love whiskey, but, so no alcohol. I don’t have too much caffein. And just rest, trying to get rest and exercise, you know, just going for runs and try and keep all the stress out.
rockfrank: How about sight-seeing on your day off. Do you have any time for this?
Sari Schorr: Yes, because I get up early, I’m a morning person. So, I’m always up way before the band and I’ll go out and you know, go for a run and get to see some of the sights. Yeah, and I always make it a point to see as much as I can. Yeah, that’s important to me.
Sari Schorr giggles and welcomes with a kiss, not her husband, but her producer Henning Gehrke and introduces him as being the one responsible for all the best songs that we will be hearing at the show later on that night.
Also, a very good friend and the bodyguard during the time at the studio is introduced along with the recommendation, not to get in a fight with him ?
rockfrank: Do you find any cultural differences in the way how fans react or perceive you or react to the music?
Sari Schorr: Oh, absolutely. The fans in Germany are the best! Do not play this interview in the UK…. :-)
No, we really love coming to Germany. First of all, we wrote a lot of these songs very close to here. So, this is like homebase for us. And, you know, at first the German people are a little bit like, you know, I’m gonna decide, maybe I like you, maybe I don’t. But I’m not gonna get too excited right away. You know, when we’re in other parts of the world, like in the States and in Italy and France, they’re like crazy right away. You have to work harder here, and I like that. I do, I like that. It’s the same in New York, too. And so, I mean, in California, you know, everyone likes everybody; so it really gets boring. But here, you know, it’s a discerning audience; you’ve got to give your best, because the German people will know, they don’t like “Scheiße”. They don’t. And the men are gorgeous, right, I must say, that’s why I keep coming back. Look, at this, look.
Sari is pointing at the surrounding men, and tells me I should make television interviews.
rockfrank: I thank you for your time, and I will post this soon on my homepage. We will do a German and an English version and will send you the link.
Sari Schorr: Thank you. And thanks for the great questions as well!
Interview: rockfrank u. Sandra B.
Translate: Sandra B.