One year after the release of her debut EP, Missing Pieces, London’s Sarina Haggarty is back with Compass.
The album represents the different directions life can take, and how they aren’t always the avenues one expects or wants. Falling in and out of love and losing and finding yourself along the way is a prominent theme throughout the five-track offering.
“You never really know where you’re headed,” Haggarty said during a recent interview with LondonFuse. “You have to follow your heart and not your mind.”
Compass sounds very much like the work of someone who follows her heart through the many ups, downs and doubts of love. It’s very much an indie-folk album, but there are elements of pop and even country music in the songs.
Sitting down with the artist, it’s easy to see her passion for music. The self-taught performer is eager to keep the momentum going as she pursues more shows, writes more songs and heads off to college.
Anything but distracted
The five-track EP features four new offerings, as well as a live version of her 2016 song, Distracted, which was performed live at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, as part of Haggarty’s Make-A-Wish Foundation wish in 2017. It was an experience that provided her the opportunity to share the stage with Shawn Mendes – one of her biggest musical influences – and perform Distracted, in front of 22,000 people. The experience left her humbly wanting more.
“It was kind of a dream to perform in front of that many people,” she said. “I’m happy I didn’t mess it up.”
Far from it – she nailed the performance, and has been riding high ever since. Her youtube page has performances of all her original tracks, as well as covers of some of her musical influences like Mendes, Alessia Cara, Adele and Ed Sheeran. The common thread between the artists, Hagarty said, is they never gave up on their dream.
A personal touch
As someone who “writes from the heart,” Hagarty described her songwriting process as something of a jumble. Sometimes, the entire song comes together in an instant, and other times, she assembles bits and pieces of other ideas together.
Distracted came together in five minutes, she said. The premise – do I like you or am I distracted – was enough to inspire Haggarty to get the entire song down and done in one short sitting.
However, Compass is an album of collaborations, with many local artists lending their talents. Haggarty said having co-writers was a great experience, as it can “turn an okay song into something great.”
Having different perspectives and inputs on her tracks have made for great recording and live performances.
“It just takes one change to make it incredible,” she said of co-writing songs. “When you’re live the song can be whatever you want.”
Obsessed is a radio-ready track reminiscient of summer loves gone by. The accompanying video (produced by Take5 Digital) includes scenes shot at the Western Fair and Prince Albert’s Diner, and captures the tone of the song perfectly.
Drowning is a standout on this EP. It’s a stripped down arrangement featuring Haggarty and a solo piano. Her reverb-rich vocals are perfect for the tone and tempo of the song.
The EP is an easy listen. The songs are well-constructed and the arrangements are clean, thanks to some big names behind the board on Compass. Haggarty’s tracks are in capable hands, to say the least.
All songs aside from the live version of Distracted were produced by celebrated composer Ryner Stoetzer and mixed by London engineer Aaron Murray. Music Industry Arts instructor and Juno-winning engineer Dan Brodbeck mastered all the tracks.
Haggarty gets some instrumental help along the way from London’s Mountain of Wolves on Obsessed. Guitarist Richard Gracious adds his name to the song Stay as well.
With the new EP out, Haggarty’s long range plans are more writing and performing, aspiring to hit 22,000 fans at her own concert one day. In the fall, Haggarty will be attending Fanshawe’s MIA program, and said she’s excited to be learning more about composition and songwriting.
Haggarty was originally slated to release Compass at Rum Runners. However, thanks to popular demand, the show was moved to the London Music Hall stage where she performed along with other London songstresses Sarah Smith and Laura Gagnon, as well as her sister Jazmin.
Fans can find both Compass and Missing Pieces on itunes, or through her web page.