Sarah has performed with:
Influenced by early jazz, blues and the spirituals of the 20’s and 30’s with the very best musicians. Mahalia Jackson was fun loving, passionate and through her, I’m delighted to present this album to you.Get Album Now
Long before working for some of the greats that I have had the pleasure of singing with such as, Quincy Jones, Roxy Music, Pink Floyd to name a few – not forgetting the iconic Simple Minds, I was listening to Mahalia Jackson. It was her voice, her cry that moved me to sing. The soundtrack to this album has been inspired by the spirituals, the blues and the jazz of the 20’s and 30’s.
It has been a trying and yet ecstatic experience having to steer the wheel – having to take the helm – and having to find the courage that has been building in me for years. I am now so eager to share this album with the world. It started with a few sporadic rehearsals and gradually grew, growing into the studios at Abbey Road and growing once more to you.
I believe that Mahalia Jackson was not only a hard working business woman, she was fun loving & passionate and through her, I’m delighted to present the album Sarah Brown Sings Mahalia Jackson.
‘Walk Over Heaven’ was the second single to be taken from the ‘Sarah Brown Sings Mahalia Jackson’ album
The album sees Sarah offer her interpretations of some of the classic tracks of arguably the most famous gospel singer of the last century. Mahalia Jackson gave Brown hope and sanctuary through hard times faced over the years. Having recently appeared on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Sarah explains;
“For as long as I can remember, Mahalia Jackson with her fever pitched performances have been a soothing note to my tapestry. At 10 years old, I remember hopelessly trying to sing along to her bellowing thunder of a voice and, in my bedroom, I would become her. I chose these songs because they tell of my story growing up in a Caribbean home, to parents who were a long way from their home. Anger and fear were the two prominent emotions that I lived with.”
On the second single she adds;
“The style I was trying to achieve on Walk Over Heaven and the album, was influenced by early jazz, blues and the spirituals. I was only going to achieve this with the very best musicians and that’s who I’ve got on this. This song has such a fun energy about it and more than a hint of Rock & Roll – with a bit of early swing!”
The seed that grew ‘I’m On My Way’ and then the album was planted back some 20 plus years ago, when Sarah Brown was singing backing on the Roxy Music reunion tour.
Waiting for soundcheck, she stood on the stage as Roxys’ pianist Colin Good was warming up on an old blues tune by Ma Rainey. “And as he played I was immediately transported back to when I was eight and in church on a Sunday and these matriarchal figures, these big black mamas dressed like Audrey Hepburn, were bellowing out their Mahalia Jackson hymns, they were crying out from their very souls and as I listened to Colin I was crying too, lost in the music and I vowed I’d pay my own homage to Mahalia one day,” she says. “I needed to say thank you.”
‘I’m On My Way’ is Sarah’s way of saying thank you to Mahalia life and her lasting legacy.
Mahalia Jackson (October 26, 1911 – January 27, 1972) is widely considered as a major influence on Mavis Staple, Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, Donna Summer, Ray Charles, and a Civil Rights Icon (Malcolm X noted that Jackson was “the first Negro that Negroes made famous”, Harry Belafonte stated “there’s not a single field hand, a single black worker, a single black intellectual who did not respond to her”, and it was Mahalia who prompted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr to improvise the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.
You may not know Sarah Brown’s name, but you’ll most definitely have heard her voice.
From her appearances on records with the likes of Pink Floyd, George Michael, Stevie Wonder and Simply Red, plus tours with Roxy Music, Simple Minds and Duran Duran, the English-born singer is one of the most prolific and in-demand vocalists in the world.
From a very young age she was encouraged to perform at her local Pentecostal church, where she encountered a host of inspiring, guitar-playing women in the mould of US gospel legend Sister Rosetta Tharpe. “The church was where I got my training,” she says. “It was drums, guitars, bass, Hammond organ. Proper soul music and blues. Lots of clapping, lots of shouting, rolling in the aisles. It was full of passion.” READ MORE…
Sarah understands first-hand the healing properties of singing and has plans to run countryside retreat workshops in the power of the voice to help those who’ve suffered emotional turbulence.
“I plan to run courses on how the voice can help to heal the soul,” she says. “Through the expression of sound vibrating through that part of you, I think you can heal whatever your sadness is, whatever your problem is. My voice helped to heal me through my parents’ divorce and gave me a self-assurance. It’s definitely healed me. And I would like to pass that on.”
PlayOne feat. Simple Minds & Sarah Brown – Waterfront (Radio Edit)
Simple Minds – The monumental ‘East At Easter’, I absolutely loved performing this song!