SERA

SERA

Welsh singer songwriter SERA is a great new folk talent from Caernarfon who has opened for Mumford and Sons and played at the recent PRS for Music Sound Makeover event. We spend 30 seconds with her…

Jim Ottewill
  • By Jim Ottewill
  • 21 Aug 2015
  • min read
SERA is a Welsh singer songwriter from a Caernarfon, a town in North Wales.

For as long as she can remember, SERA has been weaving together stories with an Americana rootsy twang which has so far earned her comparisons to Amanda Palmer and Joni Mitchell.

Singing both in English and her native Welsh tongue, she’s picked up accolades thick and fast over the course of a number of albums to date, plus gigs opening for the likes of Mumford and Sons as well as touring America. She was also one of the artists to perform at the launch party for Sound Makeover, the first PRS for Music competition to provide hair salons with the chance to win £5,000 to overhaul their music offering.

We spend 30 seconds with SERA as she gears up to release Straeon, her latest Welsh EP…

I first started writing music because…
I've always played around on the piano since starting lessons at eight years old, composing little tunes. I also always really loved writing stories and poems, so by the time I turned 15 I started putting the tunes and the words together and writing songs. I found it really helped me through my teenage years. Writing songs was a way of talking about and understanding things that were going on and how I was feeling.

I have been making music since…
Since writing my first song at about 15, I spent a few years sending out demos. And then someone from Sain Records in Wales heard my songs and asked if I was able to write in Welsh. I never had before, so I started translating some of my songs and also writing new ones, and ended up writing and releasing a full length Welsh language album in 2005. Since then I've been a bilingual songwriter.

My music is…
My music is ever evolving. I used to write all my songs on piano, inspired by the likes of Sarah McLachan and Regina Spektor. My songs always had an element of country as well as alt-pop, put since picking up the guitar, my sound has a stronger folk and country feel. The unchanging aspect is that my songs are stories, and I love to write about landscape, characters, folklore, as well as your more personal love and life songs.

You'll like my music if you listen to...
I’ve been told that there is a hint of Dolores O'Riordan from the Cranberries in my voice. The album that I'm working on at the moment will be for people who like folk, country, Americana. It has catchy up-tempo songs, some atmospheric songs and simple acoustic songs too. You'll like it if you're a fan of singer-songwriters in the folk/country genre - we listened a lot to Norah Jones, Alela Diane and Emmylou Harris while the album was in production.

My favourite venue is…
There are some amazing local venues that I've played at such as the Faenol Estate and more recently Caernarfon Castle. But I also love small intimate settings such as music cafes. There's a great one in Bangor called Blue Sky, and a beautiful converted chapel in Talgarth called the Tabernacle.

Music is important because…
Music connects you with others and also with yourself. It puts you in a moment that's all about you and your feelings - whether it's dancing with your friends or crying over love. It's key to a healthy soul.

My biggest inspiration is…
Female songwriters such as Brandi Carlile, Heather Nova, Alanis Morisette, Lene Marlin, have all played their part in inspiring me to also write and express myself through lyrics and music. I'm totally inspired by the rich landscape and culture right outside my door - I can be walking up epic mountains and hills, looking out to the sea, or driving through lush green woods with a breathtaking lake - all about 10 minutes from my house. I've a huge imagination, and my weird dreams provide inspiration for stories and songs also, as do old fairy tales and legends.

My dream collaboration would be…
I've always loved David Gray. I rate him so highly as a songwriter and recently saw him live. He has such a unique voice and I remember being so moved by an unplugged performance he did of Ain't No Love - I just wanted to be sitting next to him and singing the harmony line.

To try me out, listen to my song…
My next single is Carry Me a country-folk song about our 1957 Series 1 Landrover!

If I wasn’t making music I’d be…
As well as my music I work with events and local arts projects - which I really enjoy. If I wasn't doing anything related to music I'd be either a journalist or film director - I did an MA in screenwriting and I also used to make short films.

In 10 years’ time I want to be...
Still making music of course but reaching a wider audience, frequently touring interesting countries, meeting creative people and working on arts projects. I hope to get more opportunities over the next few years with my music, and I hope my next album will help make that happen. I'm really proud of it and can't wait to share it.

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