Photo: Karen Cigarruista
After establishing herself with a bold and inventive array of releases over the last few years, Amsterdam-based artist and producer Jo Sarah returns once again with her vibrant new offering 'The Call'.
Embodying the true essence of female empowerment and tribal feminist spirit, 'The Call' makes for a brilliantly vivid listen. Accompanied by a stunning new video, shot across the island of Panama, her newest release marks one of her most captivating and engaging efforts to date.
So with the new single available now, we sat down with her to find out more about her origins and influences over the years.
What was the first band or artist you fell in love with?
Buena Vista Social Club. My parents used to play their music all the time and I love the many rhythms and beautiful voices this band has brought throughout the years. You feel like you’re in Cuba when you listen to their music. This was definitely confirmed by the time I did go to Cuba. They actually inspired me to dive in and learn many rhythms of the world and play multiple percussion instruments!
Did you ever form a band when you were younger and if so, what did they sound like?
Yes it’s a funny story actually. The first band I was ever in was an R&B rock band where we did mash ups from Destiny’s Child with Nirvana. Super fun!
What has been your primary inspiration in writing music?
My life experiences. I always write from what I have experienced or what I’ve seen happening around me. I like writing about what I know to be true and about what I’ve learned from life situations, because I believe this can help someone else that is going through the same. Sting has taught me how to transform these experiences into music, he’s one of the best songwriters of all time, in my opinion.
What is a song you wish you had written yourself?
‘Kiss from a rose’ by Seal. This song is crazy beautiful: the chords, the melody, the lyrics and the whole vibe of the song. It transports you into that mysterious world right away. I remember the moment I first saw and heard it on MTV and I was mesmerised by the harmonies and composition.
If there was any moment in your career you could relive, what would it be?
I think one of the wildest moments I’ve had in my career was shooting the music video of The Call. It was a crazy adventure shooting in Panama with a crew that I found through Instagram, the amazing director Leanne Vink that I flew over from the Netherlands and shooting back-to-back for 4 days in 6 different landscapes at sunrise on bare feet. We shot in the desert, by a swamp, in the jungle, by the most beautiful waterfall, on a farm where I rode a horse for the first time ever and in the sea and underwater by an island. It was fascinating to shoot and be in the midst of beautiful nature surrounded by all kinds of animals and feel the earth under my feet. And this is why I’m so proud that it’s finally out for the world to see and it’s even been awarded ‘Best music video 2022’ by the Sea of Art International Film Festival. Mind blowing!
Which artist would you most love to share a stage with?
Definitely Alicia Keys! I’ve been a fan of hers since the first album, Songs in A minor, and listened to it on repeat. I've covered each song at some point in my life. I think she is very inspiring, true to herself, empowering and such an amazing evolving artist. It would be a dream come true to share the stage with her.
And is there an artist you would love to collaborate with as well?
I would love to collaborate with Nai Palm from Hiatus Kaiyote. I think we would make a fire song together and really go deep with it. I love Nai Palm's voice, her authenticity and her artistic freedom.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I see myself touring around the world playing my music for different people in many countries and organising events where everyone that identifies as woman and/or has a vulva can go to learn about their bodies and sexuality. There’s a lack of education on female+ bodies and sexuality and it holds us small. I want to change that with my movement called Umaversity. The first event will take place on the 27th of November in Amsterdam and will have expert talks on this subject, panels on the taboos, workshops, a market with brands for women+ and I will give a concert singing about my sexual journey. I know this will help a lot of people and will help against the orgasmgap and gender inequality.
Jo Sarah's new single 'The Call' is available to stream now. Watch the new video for it below.