Before Sarah Darling wowed the crowds at the 2019 Nashville Meets London festival held at Canary Wharf in London, we caught up with sweet Iowan and honorary Brit backstage to chat about dueting with Sam Outlaw, festivals, Europe, tattoos and sport.
Hello, how are you, feeling tired?
I’m good, no I’m doing alright actually.
Are you excited to perform later?
Oh, I am excited, yeah very excited.
Do you feel like there’s a different energy when you’re performing at festivals compared to headline shows?
Absolutely I feel like I find that, I think people are like in for more of a fun time. Like a party atmosphere. I can’t wait to get out there.
So, with the new single with Sam Outlaw out now [Forever and Always] is he joining you today?
He’s not coming today. He’s actually still in Nashville.
You are performing with him next month at the Opry though?
Yeah, August 16th. I am very excited. It’s our first time performing it [Forever and Always] together and we just got added to a cool Spotify playlist today which is great. We’ll do a duet but I’ll also sing a couple of songs off ‘Wonderland’ too. I’m not sure how they’re going to do it but we’ll both have our own slots. We’ll probably pull each other up on each one of our slots. It’s a doubleheader that night so we do two Opry’s in a row, it’s kind of fun. Those are really fun nights because it’s like a double Opry night it’s like really great.
Are you going to be releasing a music video for the song?
Do you know I don’t know yet. I’m not sure just yet. I know I haven’t done like many videos.
It’s such a sweet song
Sam [Outlaw] has said you might be touring together soon, is that in the works?
Possibly. But nothing I can set in stone yet. Like no dates yet.
UK dates planned for that?
For sure we’ll definitely add some UK dates.
How about Wales?
That I can’t make any promises.
You need to come
Yes for sure.
I heard that Jeff Cohen was the one who introduced you to Sam?
Yes, so basically how it worked was; Sam had written this song for his wife [Andi] and it was such a beautiful like sweet little love song and he was trying to find a duet partner and you know after hearing ‘Where Cowboys Ride’ that was kind of the one that was like “she’ll be perfect for the song”.
He has said his wife actually prefers the song now with you on it
Oh, that’s sweet, aww I haven’t heard him say that that’s really sweet.
So have you met his wife?
I have met her, she’s like gorgeous.
How did the actual collaboration come about after Jeff introduced you?
Jeff Cohen called me and then we [Sam and I] met in person and we just totally hit it off. And like we sang it together like in his house and then it was just like oh man this is going to work, You know it was that easy. And the reaction has been so good, really positive and to me, it’s just like a country, beautiful standalone song and like you know that’s part of me, like part of who I am. Artistically where I am now is kind of a fun place because I had like ‘Dream Country’ which was like you know a little bit more like cinematic but really country and now ‘Wonderland’ has tapped into the experimental sounds and stuff. A little bit ethereal and pop and you know, the next album who knows? See like that’s the fun of being independent you can do what you want. and It’s fun like today I’m so excited because we’ve added the seagull sounds in to ‘Blue Sky’. We’re not going to release seagulls into the crowd but that would be funny if we did.
Do you have any plans to release a music video for ‘Blue Sky’?
I don’t know yet. I think it would be fun to do some videos for sure. I love that song. It’s kind of expensive to do videos. But Matt Allen actually did the ‘Fire’ video so bravo Matt.
Are you planning on writing any more with Sam or is it just this one song?
Do you know I think we are going to write. Yeah, we’re definitely going to write and I think it definitely gave me the itch to do some more collabs.
You need to release the one with Ward Thomas [Our Own Song]
Yes. The thing is you write so many songs and not all of them actually make it to fruition which is sad. But like I think sometimes fate even over time like I was thinking of my old song ‘Angel Wings’ you know that could come out at a different point.
‘Wasted’ took 10 years
Yeah exactly so you know, eventually.
Do you plan on doing any more work with Ward Thomas?
Do you know we don’t have any writes set up at the moment but I love and adore them.
So after today, you go to Cambridge for the Cambridge Folk Festival and then home?
Yes, next weekend I go to Cambridge then I go to Nashville. I’m going to relax and take some time. I go back to Nashville for the whole month of August and I’m just going to chill. I just want to be home on my front porch and cook. I know that sounds really funny but I haven’t been cooking while I’ve been here.
You’ve been going to restaurants instead. How was Hello Darling in London?
Oh, I love it so much. It’s my new favorite restaurant.
It’s fair to say you probably know more about London than most Brits?
I think I do actually. Now I’m like a tourist.
You’ll have to start a Vlogging series of Sarah’s London
Well actually it’s funny you say that because I am going to make something up at the end of this trip.
Any British food places you enjoy going to when you’re back home?
You know I have like this favorite patisserie and it’s pastries and I’ve loved that.
So, when you go back to Nashville do you have any writing sessions planned?
Do you know what, I’m actually just going to give myself a little bit of a break.
Any touring lined up after that?
Only the October Germany dates as of right now but we’re kind of working on the next thing but that’s what’s exciting.
Are you already working on the next album?
I’ve definitely already written quite a few songs. I’m actually gonna sing a new one tonight [Divide]. Which is kind of rare for me to just like pull one out of the bag like that but full band we’re doing a new one tonight. It has a little bit of a Fleetwood Mac vibe. It sounds very much like ‘Dreams’.
Do you have any plans to release the covers you’ve been performing lately?
You never know. Like I’m actually doing a cover today [Country Roads].
You need to release ‘When You Say Nothing At All’
Yes, I agree.
Do you know about the Ronan Keating version?
Yes, I know that one from Notting Hill for sure. It’s very sweet.
After today and Cambridge, you’ve got The British Country Music Festival in September as well and you’re the only American on the line-up
I know, apparently, I slid in somehow. I’m the honorary Brit which I love.
Are you going to be performing with any other acts on stage there or will it just be a solo show?
Just me so far. I’ll be on Friday the 13th.
Not the best date
Oh yeah, Friday the 13th, it’s going to be great.
Then on to Germany for Country Music Week?
That’s actually in October with Twinnie which is really cool. She’s amazing we’re doing an In The Round tour which is really, really fun. It’s kind of like a new concept, not really like a new concept in the States anymore but for Europe.
Do you enjoy going over there?
I love Germany. The audiences are like very sweet and loving and warm and I just remember touring for the first time with Jamie Lawson. When I finished a show people would come up to me and they would say like the sweetest, literally the sweetest words. I can’t even describe how sweet it was. It was wonderful.
Do you find the European audiences are more intrigued by the country genre?
Yes absolutely. Obviously in America country music’s been around a long time but I think in the UK and Europe in general, country music is new and it’s exciting and there are less boundaries for country. I think you can be a blend of country and RnB and a little bit of everything which is really fun and exciting.
Now, you’re spending so much time in Europe have you started to get into our sports like football?
No, I don’t know much about it. I like the energy of it but I’ve never been a supporter I Don’t claim any teams. I did watch cricket though, like the whole thing. It’s interesting.
Shania Twain actually wrote ‘From This Moment On’ when she was watching a football match in Italy, so there is inspiration there
Oh, I did not know that, okay fun fact.
After September do you have any plans to return to the UK this year?
You know, we don’t know yet. The thing is like nobody plans anything, I’m like I don’t even know what I’m doing next month actually. I’m just going to go and rest, do a little cooking make a few Macarons. I’m actually going to Paris on Monday night. I’m just going for a day. I’m doing like some fun photos with a friend of mine [Andy Teo]. Just for fun. Honestly, It’s like an American in Paris. That’s me though, just like crazy.
Do you have any plans to film any more music videos out there eventually?
No, but I will say that like shooting ‘Montmartre’ was probably like one of the greatest musical experiences I’ve ever had. Like the song is really special to me I think it’s one of the most special ones that’s kind of stood the test of time. ‘Where Cowboys Ride’ is like that too you know.
After you wrap everything this year, what are your plans for Christmas this year after spending last years over here in the UK?
Because I spent Christmas here and Thanksgiving here I’m actually gonna spend my holidays in America and you know maybe it’s just like I want the anticipation to come back a little bit stronger you know. Because I’ve been here so much It’s like I’ll let people miss me a little bit.
Don’t stay away too long
Not too long I promise.
So nothing lined up for next year?
No, nothing yet but I’m working on it.
Before you go I need to ask if you’ve decided on a tattoo?
You know I’ve never been a tattoo person. I don’t know, I’m not sure. I’ve heard that people like get addicted. But you never know though.
Tickets for all of Sarah Darling’s upcoming festival dates are on sale now via sarahdarling.com