The Reverb Interview: Sarah Joyce a.k.a. Rumer - Reverb

The Reverb Interview: Sarah Joyce a.k.a. Rumer

Rumer will play the Larimer Lounge on Sunday. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Rumer will play the Larimer Lounge on Sunday. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Already a critical and popular favorite overseas, singer/songwriter Rumer (real name: Sarah Joyce) brings her jazz-inflected, easy listening pop to the Larimer Lounge this Sunday evening. With this, her first major tour of the states, many posit that the young singer will be the next sensation in the continuing female British invasion.

Her pure, gorgeous voice, breezy musical style and endearing charm have been championed by the likes of Elton John, Carly Simon and Burt Bacharach. And it’s easy to hear why: from the soulful balladry of “Aretha,” the catchy pop of “Am I Forgiven?” to the sultry, smoldering jazz of “Slow” and “Come To Me High,” Rumer’s music blissfully recalls another era.

Reverb had the chance to catch up with Rumer before she and her band hit the road.

Your album “Seasons of my Soul” came out last year in the UK and Europe receiving tons of acclaim, but is only now being released in the U.S. Is there a reason for delayed release date? 

I was fortunate that the album was so successful so quickly in Europe and England. I wanted to make sure I could spend the time touring all the different countries there as well as at home – to sing for those audiences. So, I’m happy that now I’ll get to take the time to play for America as well.

This will be your second visit to the U.S., but first time hitting cities like Denver. Anything you’re looking forward to seeing? Expectations? 

No expectations really. The unexpected always seems to happen. And looking at it from a foreigner’s perspective, America to me is a magical place. So I’m looking forward to the road trip, seeing the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, meeting people and connecting with the audience. Also, I made some friends last time and it will be good to see them again.

How are you approaching the U.S. tour musically?

We’re going to be performing a longer set than last time we were here. It includes songs from the album as well as some covers. And we’ll have an intimate setting: I’ll be playing acoustic guitar and singing, there’s another guitarist, bassist, a drummer/percussionist.

You’ve garnered accolades from some of the biggest names in the business as well as rave reviews from the press. As such you’ve drawn comparisons to legendary voices such as Karen Carpenter and Dusty Springfield – influences of yours – do you hear the similarities? 

I suppose the sadness in my voice reminds people of Karen. Really it’s just an honor to be compared to such great singers. It’s amazing to have my name mentioned with along with them.

And Burt Bacharach, upon hearing you sing, actually invited you to work with him, is that correct?

Yes. He and (lyricist) Steven Sater pitched some really beautiful songs. Unfortunately they didn’t fit the feel of “Seasons of my Soul.” Some of the songs I’d written on there date back to 2004, but others, like “Aretha,” are more recent – up through 2009 and 2010. So, I recently released a special EP that includes an original tune of theirs “Some Lovers,” as well as a cover of his song “Alfie.”

Like many great vocalists, you’ve performed a number of other pop standards and covers. Any plans to record more or are they just fun to do live?

Actually I’m just finishing an album called “Boys Don’t Cry” which will be me covering all men’s songs from the ’70s. It has songs by Isaac Hayes, Randy Newman, Steven Bishop, Gil Scott Heron, Paul Williams, Jimmy Webb. It will be coming out in April or May in the UK and later in America. Also, some songs will end up on a merchandise booth only b-sides collection for fans.

Catch Rumer at the Larimer Lounge this Sunday, Jan. 29.

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Michael Behrenhausen is a Denver-based writer, musician and regular Reverb contributor. The worst crime he ever did was play some rock ‘n’ roll.

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