Sunday, October 26, 2014

Chicago musician Sarah Marie Young creates emotional richness on new album

On her second album, "Little Candy Heart," Chicago musician Sarah Marie Young builds on the emotional richness she created on last year's debut album, "Too Many Februaries."

Young will celebrate the release of the album with a show Nov. 3 at Schubas Tavern, 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $10, available at

I had a chance to talk to Young about the new album.

Q - Great talking to you again. You released your first album last year and you are about to release your second album. Did you feel the need to get these songs out sooner rather than later?

Great talking to you too. I had been sitting on a lot of new material since the first album was released, so I felt that I wanted to at least begin recording again in 2014 if possible. The label Snip Records gave me the opportunity to do just that.

Q - I understand one of the songs, "Be With You," you wrote while at the laundromat. What was the writing process like for this album? In sitting down to make "Little Candy Heart," what were your goals and do you think you accomplished them?

That is correct. I had a melodic idea for "Be With You" and brought my ukulele to the laundromat, so in between washing and drying my laundry, I sat in my car and worked out a harmonic progression. 

I finished the lyrics when I folded my clothes. 

Folding clothes is a great time to do some thinking! As far as the writing process for most of the album goes, the laundromat was not involved. 

Many of the tunes I had sketched out for a while, mostly from sitting at the piano or singing in the car. Much of 2013 was spent driving weekly between my hometown Indianapolis and Chicago for personal reasons. 

It's a three hour drive, so I had a lot of time to map things out in my head. I was going through a lot of different transitions, and many times on the drive back to Chicago from Indy I would feel exhausted and have to go put on a show and perform in front of a bunch of people. 

My goal was to present songs from the album that reflected those times, and I think for the most part I accomplished them. The title track especially explains how I was feeling.

Q - SnipRecords is a new label. "Little Candy Heart" will be the fourth album it will release. What made you want to sign with the label? Do you think you fit in well with the other artists on the label?

Marijn and Astrid from SnipRecords really made it a point to say they are an eclectic label that is dedicated to putting out quality music, which is also how I like to describe myself as an artist. The other groups on this hi-fi label are different than myself and each other, but the quality of the music is well played and produced. 

I feel like my music fits nicely in their catalogue. As you said SnipRecords is new label, and I am excited about seeing where it goes and where I go as an artist on it.

Q - The video for the song "Lo and Behold" features many Chicago scenes. Was it important to have Chicago in the background in the video?

SnipRecords is based in The Netherlands, so it was important to showcase the city I live in albeit far from Snip's home base. This was not too hard to get on board with because Chicago is a beautiful city with some really stunning scenery, especially in the late summer/early fall when the videos was being shot.

I knew that I wanted to include Humboldt Park since that was the neighborhood I lived in for a while and had a lot of experiences walking my dog and just enjoying life. Videographer Nick Martin had really great ideas for good video locations we used.

Q - Who do you consider your major musical influences and how have they influenced your music?

That's a hard one to answer. There are so many inspiring and prolific song writers and musicians that I feel influence my music.

I love the way Stevie Wonder seems to perfectly marry his lyrics to the melody, harmony and instrumentation. I love how The Beatles songs are superbly written. 

I feel the same way about some of the old jazz standards I enjoy singing, and the certain composers who wrote them as well as the singers who performed them. When I'm working on a song I don't necessarily think about imitating them, but sometimes I do try to get inside those feelings I have when I'm listening to a piece of music I like.

Q - In addition to making your own music, you also are involved in other groups, including The Oh Yeahs. What do you get out of such collaborations?

The Oh Yeahs are two of my best friends who just happen to be bad ass singers/songwriters. It's one of the only chances the three of us get to work on three part harmony in an acoustic setting, and truly zero in on our vocal skills as individuals and as a group.

Being in the Oh Yeahs brings so much joy to my life! I also am a part of bassist Bryan Doherty's Hood Smoke. Due to Bryan's good songwriting and the musicians in the band we have a killer live show, and I get to be a rock star when we play :).

Q - What are your short-term and long-term goals?

Short term goals: cook and eat the food in my fridge, learn all the music for shows this month without getting too stressed out, put on a good record release show at Schuba's this November, save more money if I can, take my dog Martin on long walks before it gets too cold. 

Long term goals: Tour internationally; release more music.

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