From making music, to making desserts, to making music again, it’s been a zigzagging journey for Brisbane singer-songwriter Sarah Collyer. But in finding her direction, this jazz-trained, one- time pastry chef has brought with her a sumptuous velvety voice and a delicious platter of honest-to-the-core original songs. Capturing a uniquely hypnotic blend of jazz, blues and Rnb and dripping with rich emotion, Sarah’s debut EP This Way is sure to tantalize the taste buds.
Sarah Collyer completed her tertiary music education with a Masters in Jazz Voice from The Queensland Conservatorium of Music and served her musical apprenticeship performing in jazz bands up and down the East Coast of Australia. There was a slight detour, when she followed her passion for baking, thinking that making pastries and desserts for a living would be a “nice, romantic affair”. However, the reality of having to “breathe in flour everyday” convinced her otherwise. She returned to music full-time, working as a voice coach and performing jazz standards at cafes, weddings and corporate gigs.
But as Sarah says, “there are only so many times you can sing ‘Autumn Leaves’ before you start playing around with it so much that you’ve created a different song!”. Influenced by the rich sounds of Nina Simone and Renee Geyer, the smooth grooves of Jill Scott and the emotional storytelling and piano prowess of Sarah McLachlan, she began to focus on writing,
and slipped her original songs into performances. Both audiences and her fellow musicians loved them, and encouraged her to record the seven-track EP.
It was while recording backing vocals for an Australian hip hop album that she met producer Scott Mullane. Impressed by his persistence in “always pushing to get the best out of you”, she realised he was the perfect producer for her project. In December 2008, they recorded in Brisbane’s Aisle 6 Studios, joined by Jeremy O’Connor on double bass, Trent Bryson Dean on drums, Peta Wilson on piano and Rhodes, and Dave McGuire on guitar. All are regular players
on the thriving Brisbane music scene.
Sarah’s approach to This Way was to keep it simple. From the swinging holiday song “East Coast” that’ll make you want to call in sick, jump in the car and head to the beach, to the crawl-back-under-the-dooner tune of “Lazy Sunday”, to the achingly seductive blues guitar of “I Wait”; her aim was to create a mood, a vibe, a feeling. For this, she chose the understated elegance of a jazz trio.
“It’s not music to contemplate, it’s music to feel. For so long when I was growing up, I was writing heavy, brooding, melancholy songs. I have books and books of them, but it’s not where I’m at anymore. I’m happy, life is good and it’s pretty simple - so my music reflects that.”
On stage Sarah casts a warm and honest presence, with hints of mischievousness! “I really like to talk to audiences and I like to get them singing with me at the end”, she laughs, “I almost heckle the audience if they’re not responding!”
So, sit back, relax, grab a glass of wine (and a pastry)... and let Sarah Collyer lead you... This Way.
The title track "This Way" was recently short listed for the 2009 QSong Awards (Australia), “I Wait” is currently playing in café’s throughout Australia as part of Sounds Like Café Volume 26 and "The Rhine" was recently selected for inclusion on the AMRAP sampler - distributed to radio stations Australia wide.