Interview w/ Zara Smile: "I wouldn't change it for anything"
Liverpool-based introspective Indie-Folk songwriter Zara Smile has just released her debut EP 'Smile'. The 5-track collection acts as a statement of what she has to offer creatively. It encapsulates all sides of her songwriting and casts a reflective view over her own personal journey from the moment she first picked up a guitar to the present day. The EP has moments of gentle bliss with songs like 'Twisted Truths' being flavoured by rich, soulful guitar tones and playful synth melodies while songs such as 'Home' and 'Misplaced' generate more bittersweet atmospheres as the wholesome, uplifting sonic expression battles with a more troubled lyrical depth.
We sat down with Zara to talk about everything that has gone into the new EP.
Q. Firstly, where does your artist name Zara Smile come from?
A. This is really random haha...my phone was connected to my Alexa at home and my phone name at the time was 'Zara :)' and the Alexa just said "connected to Zara smile" so that kind of stuck in my head!
Q. What prompted you to name your new EP 'Smile' as well?
A. I hadn't really thought about the name for the EP until like two weeks before I was going to release it but I'd just kept on calling it the smile EP and I couldn't think of anything else to name it so again, it just stuck.
Q. Do you think the connotations of 'Smile' are fitting for the themes on the EP?
A. I think so. It's a weird collecting of songs, to me at least, because I wrote the first song 'Home' back in 2019 but then I wrote 'Misplaced' this summer so it's weird to me because the songs were written so far apart.
Q. Do you feel you can hear the difference between those earlier tacks and the ones written more recently?
A. Definitely, I developed so much as a songwriter over lockdown because there was nothing else to do so I just wrote songs every single day. I actually didn't play guitar before lockdown, I just started when it all hit and now it's my main instrument which is crazy! I've gotten more folky as time's gone on and the new stuff I'm going to release in the near future is so much more folky than I've ever been.
Q. Would you say you've developed lyrically as well?
A. Yeah I think you can hear the maturity change over time and everything has become a little more poetic.
Q. So where do the majority of the lyrics on this EP come from?
A. Honestly just my life, the EP is really just the last five years of my life in a little package. It's little snippets of me at different places in my life.
Q. Do you ever feel vulnerable sharing your music that is so personal?
A. I've had many minor meltdowns thinking that if people don't like my music then they don't like me. It's so much of me putting myself out there into the world and being vulnerable with it but I wouldn't change it for anything. The day I released 'Misplaced' a friend messaged me and said that it was literally all the thoughts they had in their brain but in a song and that makes it all worth it!