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June 29th, 2011

Exclusive: British singer and composer Sarah McGuinness interview

June 10th, 2011

By April MacIntyre Jun 7, 2011, 22:06 GMT

Sarah McGuinness’ CD ‘Believe’ is a compilation of songs that accompany the feature length biopic of one of Britain’s brightest minds, Eddie Izzard.

His longtime creative partner Sarah McGuiness uses her versatile talent to deliver sounds of past decades to bring an emotional core and soundtrack to the documentary that reveals a painful past for Izzard.

Check out our exclusive interview with composer and musician Sarah McGuinness, known for her work on the recent Eddie Izzard documentary, ¡°Believe.¡±

Monsters and Critics: I understand your next project is a movie musical based in London in the 1980¡äs. Please tell me more about this, and your next solo album too.

Sarah McGuinness: While I was writing the music for the documentary, I covered many different eras and styles. This was not something I¡¯d ever deliberately done before ¨C nor had I written ¡®for someone else¡¯s feelings¡¯ – for want of a better description ¨C I¡¯d only ever written from my own perspective, as many writers do.

I found it quite liberating and explored some more, gradually developing songs which were in the end not quite right for the film, but which began to take on their own independent shape.

Eventually I began collaborating with a writer colleague and developed the songs on the basis of my own experiences in those worlds – university, Edinburgh festival, the standup circuit - into a completely different story with imaginary people.

It gave me a lot of freedom to write more expansive, humorous, dramatic songs for different characters and that was so much fun. Now it¡¯s fully formed, we¡¯ve had such a positive reaction to the music we¡¯ve decided to take it further.

M&C: I read that you and Eddie first met at the Fringe festival in 1989, can you tell me what you made of him and vice versa then?

Sarah McGuinness: I thought he was rather full of himself actually!! But seriously, a lovely guy and so positive towards everyone. He really cracked the mould at the time¡ªno-one thought he would make it but he did. He encouraged me to go into music.

M&C: Creatively, do you see yourself connected to Eddie in a very unique way, a lifetime creative collaborator?

Sarah McGuinness: Well, I suppose starting standup rock and roll-like shows was a new thing when we started.

It was fascinating to find ways to write for that scale of presentation, especially when there were no precedents. People were blown away in the early years and it certainly made them remember the shows.

It was great for me to learn musically to create that suspense in a big room and release it in such a way that people were ready to scream by the time Eddie walked onstage.

Then of course knowing him well helped me to write the Mama track and all its versions. That was a privilege and I felt able to express something I had seen in him ¨C which, luckily, worked very well for the movie.

M&C:   How did William Orbit come to remix “Mama Can You See me Now’ for you?

Sarah McGuinness: My UK manager knows William and asked him if he would be interested in doing it. Amazingly, he said yes and got on to it very quickly. That was a huge thrill, as he’s a musical genius and a genuinely lovely guy.

M&C: You have a very glamourous, stylized and retro vibe on stage, what are some of your favorite song standards of years past, and what modern artists do you enjoy today?

Sarah McGuinness: I enjoy listening to a variety of genres from different eras and taking inspiration and creative ideas from each one.

I love listening to Minnie Ripperton, Portishead, Scissor Sisters, Keane, and Maroon 5 just to name a few.  But above all, I think my ultimate favorite is John Barry.

M&C I loved your blog entry about shooting the footage in Times Square in NYC, and how bizarre that got to be. You perform everywhere, so tell me what are your favorite American cities and venues, and which places in the UK are dear to you?

Sarah McGuinness: I love Los Angeles, because I spent a lot of time there. My ideal day in LA consists of sitting at a table in the corner at Chateau Marmont. Other places that inspire me are my cottage in Donegal, Ireland, and a sunny day and a picnic in Central Park.

Check out Sarah’s June 15 Los Angeles date: LINK