Dubai helped me keep an open mind, says singer-songwriter Sarah Machlab – News

She has just released her second album, ‘Simple’.

Published: Mon 18 Apr 2022, 12:13 PM

Last update: Mon 18 Apr 2022, 12:17 PM

Dubai-based Lebanese artist Sarah Machlab has drawn on themes of spring and rebirth for her second album, Simple.

The 14-track album blurs the lines between alternative and electronic genres with nods to downtempo electronica and acoustic sounds.

Sarah, who has lived in Dubai for six years, told City hours in a Zoom interview the meaning of the album title.

Noting how in life we ​​”rarely have simplicity” and how “you go through a lot”, the album, she says, reflects a desire to “want it to be simple”.

She admitted that Simple was inspired by a difficult phase in her life which is reflected in the songs and the way they were written.

“You can probably see it on the song Dark; it’s really inspiring to be in a dark place, but to see the light. When you’re not really happy, that’s when you try your best to be happy. So when things are complicated, you just want to simplify things; that’s what I aspired to, and that’s kind of where the idea for Simple came from. So that (the title) doesn’t really reflect how I felt or what the songs are about – it’s certainly not about simplicity, but about wanting it to be. It’s about what you want in the end and what you dream of. It’s a lot of nostalgia and looking back at a life that you no longer have, because I was going through a transition and going from one country to another.

Sarah, who lived between Ivory Coast and Lebanon before moving to Dubai and works in the events industry, shared that despite her day job, she hopes to pursue music to a point where it becomes his full-time profession. “Music is more something that I invest a lot of time in,” she said, adding, “I think I’m relatively new to the music industry and I’m still trying to break my ground. a path.”

passion for music

Going back down memory lane, Sarah revealed how “singing and mostly songwriting” has always been her passion since a young age.

“I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember, but because I was discouraged from pursuing it, I never really did anything about it professionally, until 2019. That’s when I started taking piano and voice lessons to try to recreate my songs on a professional level. And it wasn’t until the lockdown of 2020 that I thought to myself – I have so much free time, my schedule is flexible, it’s now or never – that this would be the perfect opportunity to start recording music and focus on it.”

Her genre of music, she said, is always “undefined.”

“Since I started, I try to keep an open mind; I worked with different producers on collaborations and each had a different style. I tried to adapt to their style and had to make a little compromise on my vision of what I wanted the song to be because I wanted to try new things. I think I did a lot of electronic music; you can see it in most of my songs. But there are more acoustic and more ambient parts; I would say it is primarily considered electronic.

Growing up in the late 90s and early 2000s, she listened to popular artists of the era like the Backstreet Boys and Avril Lavigne — the “typical things,” she laughed.

She cites them as influences, saying, “My music is very different from their music, but that’s what I was listening to when I started writing songs. I think I always had this fascination with the 90s and tried to implement it in my music as much as possible.

Songwriting is something she really enjoys doing, she shared, adding that the experience was “more about my feelings, the things I could see around me…”

“I think the first time I wrote a song was when I was singing something that I just randomly created and I just had this emotional attachment to the beat and I wanted to remember it. I don’t had no recording device of any kind, so I thought, I’ll write it down so I can remember it and keep singing it. And I think that’s where it all started.

Describing songwriting as something “very personal” to her, she said it was “always something more for me, like a hobby or a means of self-expression”.

In this context, his songwriting takes a new turn with Simple.

The album, recorded during the pandemic, “was definitely inspired by what we were all going through together,” Sarah said.

“Like everyone else, I’ve been heavily impacted by the pandemic and it’s really made me lean more into my mental health and think differently about life.”

A “wonderful city”

Sarah said she feels “very lucky to be in the UAE” because of its diversity, which has had a positive influence on her music.

“Dubai has really helped me to keep an open mind about what kind of genre I want to get into and that’s what has helped me to be more flexible and let each song decide how it’s going to be, depending music and lyrics., and just kind of really see what I can come up with. There’s a lot of different things in the songs, different beats that I don’t think I would have used without my experience in Dubai , because I have been exposed to so many different cultures.

Although she hasn’t performed live yet, she hopes to do so soon.

“There is a lot of live music and there are open mic nights. Because I started doing everything professionally during the pandemic, I haven’t really had a chance to perform anywhere yet. I definitely plan to play live in the future. I like to connect with other artists, who started via Instagram (because of the pandemic). I’m really lucky to be here (in Dubai); I think it’s a wonderful city to start a musical career.

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