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Sharon Corr steps out to the front, and without compromise

Following a six-week tour of the States, Ireland’s Sharon Corr stopped in New York for another round of media promotion in support of her acclaimed new album The Same Sun.

Sharon Corr attends The Radio Academy Awards at The Grosvenor House Hotel on May 12, 2014 in London, England.
Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images

“Any excuse to be in New York!” she said, speaking to a reporter in her publicist’s office. But the Dublin resident and The Corrs' singer/violinist Sharon Corr, who wrote the sibling group’s hits “So Young” and "Radio,” was equally happy to be out on tour.

“I’ve always loved it, but I love it even more now,” said Corr. “I suppose it’s because I’m doing what I want to do now, and expressing myself completely and honestly as an artist without any compromise.”

She explained that despite her hits with Celtic-infused The Corrs, there was always the “necessity” of compromise.

“Once you compromise, you’re not 100 percent on the road you want to be. But compromise is what made The Corrs great, so I don’t mean this to be negative in any way. I just knew there was more for me, and wanted to see where I could go musically—especially as an upfront singer.”

The roles in The Corrs, she added, were “very defined [such that] I couldn’t explore my voice very much outside of backing vocals.”

But Corr also felt she was “very self-protective” in her position in The Corrs.

“That limits your artistry,” she said. “If you’ve ever listened to a really great song, you know one thing--the truth, good or bad. It resonates because you know the same feeling from your life. For me, the older I got, the more comfortable I got in being brave about being vulnerable—and the need to be brave to be vulnerable.”

“It’s that beautiful paradox that reflects life,” Corr continued. “Every moment has an opposing feeling to make that moment, like without joy, there’d be no sorrow—and vice versa. That’s what I’m seeking all the time--that perfect reflection of life in all its imperfection.”

Corr chose Mitchell Froom to produce The Same Sun because of his work on Crowded House’s 1991 album Woodface (he also produced The Corrs' 2005 traditional Irish album Home and their 1999 album The Corrs Unplugged).

“The beauty of it was its musical integrity, and ‘the corners,’” she said. “That’s how I describe his music: It has tons of interesting little corners. We keep turning corners as we speak because our mind does that. What I also love about Mitchell is, again, it’s just the truth: There’s no perfect seamless moment or thought or feeling—nothing that’s false.”

Corr’s preceding solo album debut Dream of You (2010) was produced by Irish producer Billy Farrell, who produced The Corrs.

“He’s a beautiful producer and the record was stunning, but I felt it was too similar to the Corrs’ sound, and didn’t feel I was learning,” said Corr. “I felt it was a comfort blanket, and I needed to take it off: I needed something more raw and organic, to make a mistake and embrace it rather than make it perfect. We came out of the David Foster [co-producer of The Corrs’ 1995 debut album Forgiven, Not Forgotten] era of pristine productions, and I needed to truly find who I am as an artist--and who I could be.”

Corr said she wanted her solo career to be more like a “a bungee jump.”

“Everything I was afraid of, I wanted to do,” she explained. “It’s all about the moment: The more vulnerable I am, the less I control it, the better it is. Nowadays, everyone’s so busy tweeting, emailing, Instagramming, cell phoning—doing everything but our art. I need to stay completely in the moment in order to experience rather than just verbalize the feelings.”

The Same Sun has already yielded the international hit “Take A Minute.” The titletrack, meanwhile, was inspired by Corr’s 2012 trip to Tanzania as ambassador for Oxfam Ireland’s “Ending Poverty Starts With Women” campaign.

“I’ve been with them in different campaigns in Ireland and they asked me to do the trip,” said Corr. “I was honored to be asked and dying to do it. It’s particularly special because it’s a campaign that helps women, and it’s the truth: If you enable women—providing access to tools, registering land, taking kids to school--you enable the whole community.”

In Tanzania, she related, women have no voice in the community.

“The cultural norm is against women,” she said. “They’re the lowest rung in society. They have no voice and experience extreme violence daily, as men are conditioned to be drunks and wife beaters. We try to effect change by showing that if you don’t do this, she gets more work done--and doesn’t work in fear. The children will be happier, you’ll be happier and the community starts to do better.”

“The Same Sun,” Corrs contended, is not “a charity song or judgment or speech, but an attempt to recreate the atmosphere, because I know what happened to me was very profound, but I wanted to write about the color of the landscape and even how the women moved. I dance, but very European, and they all thought it was very funny.”

“We lead different lives, but we’re all underneath the same sun,” she noted. “It’s the thing that unites us: We don’t’ exist without the sun. It’s very humbling, and we need to remember that.”

As for The Corrs, “we’ve gone our separate ways, but retain our familial relationship instead of musical,” Corr concluded. But she added that in her solo shows, she continues to play violin and plenty of Irish music.

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