Oh, Sister: 'I’m finally writing songs that I’m happy with'

 

Do we need another female singer-songwriter? Feist; Laura Marling; the now ubiquitous Lana Del Rey: the internet being what it is, we can find what we are looking for with the click of a button. 

This is the question that boomerangs between record labels and music critics and often becomes a barrier for those trying to get their big break. But when Oh, Sister plays, such a question becomes arbitrary.

Oh Sister – otherwise known as Sarah Berresford – has the potential to be the next big thing on London’s music scene. The 23-year-old from Barnard Castle in County Durham came to the capital when she was 17 to seek her fame and fortune. And with her first single and EP out in June, it looks like six years of waiting tables to pay the bills may finally be paying off.

Berresford describes her sound as “American music with English lyrics.”

She says: “It’s very American rock ‘n’ roll inspired rhythms and chord changes, and then the lyrics are quite English.”

She lists her inspirations as Skeeter Davis, Buddy Holly, Morissey and Bob Dylan (Oh, Sister is a nod to his song of the same name as well as a tribute to her own sister). But a more modern critic might recognise Norah Jones or Laura Marling in her sweet, silky voice (“That’s a really nice thing to say!” she gushes).

When we meet at the Queen’s Head in Islington, Berresford has just finished a set of recently-penned songs: “As soon as I write something I try and play it in front of people as soon as I can, ‘cos it almost makes the song more real for me.”

Just from watching her play, you can tell how dedicated an artist Berresford is. Petite and bird-like, she is wearing a black t-shirt and black leather trousers. Though she makes no show of herself, when she plays it is as if there is no-one else in the room; the odd brushing back of her long blonde hair is the only hint at self-awareness. If an athlete’s body is their temple, hers is her guitar.

You wouldn’t believe it, but Berresford confesses that she has come a long way since she first started writing songs at the age of 15: “I think it just took me a long time to get really honest about things, because I was young, and I was trying to be like the people I admired rather than just you know, write what you think and let that be good enough. I’m finally writing songs that I’m happy with.”

It also took her a while to embrace where her songs were coming from: “Sometimes I write about other people, you know, how I view the situation, but a lot of times when you’re writing about someone else it kind of spills over and ends up being about you and you look back and go, oh my God, I was writing about myself but I put it onto someone else so I could deal with it a bit better.”

In this turbulent world of one-hit wonders, and the vast depths of the internet a big pond for little fish, there might just be the possibility that Berresford could struggle. When challenged with the age-old question, she openly replies: “I don’t really think the world really needs another songwriter, in fact.”

But you get the impression she’ll be ok. “I could never shove anything down anyone’s throat – if they want to come to a show, they’ll come to a show. I just always wanted to write, really – I just wanted to write songs.”

Oh, Sister is playing at the Notting Hill Arts club on 9 May and the Hackney Picturehouse 1 June. To find out more visit wavegoodbyewavehello.com

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Thomas carried Lady Edith over the flames in her bedroom in Downton Abbey series five

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham

books
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

    Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

    ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
    Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

    Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

    Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
    'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

    The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

    Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
    BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

    BBC Television Centre

    A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
    Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

    My George!

    Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
    10 best rucksacks for backpackers

    Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

    Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world