“When I knew Lhasa de Sela was dead (2010) I cried. It was as though I’d only just discovered her (2012) kindred spirit, then she was gone,” explains Brooke Sharkey by phone from Bristol.

She's talking about the life and persona of de Sela as I’ve asked Sharkey to describe her own musical style. “I don’t like it when people try and place me in a category,” she states with some annoyance. “If you listen to my album 'One Dress' (2012) and EP 'I Crossed the Line' (2014) there’s a whole range of styles: folk, Latin, with gypsy influences, acoustic, jazzy numbers. Don’t you agree?" she asks, using me as her soundboard.

I can see strong similarities in her style and range to that of the late Lhasa de Sela, both with a nomadic, bohemian background, both with an ability to switch effortlessly between languages. Sharkey’s bilingual skills provide a sublime cross over and interplay between English and French on some of her songs, such as 'Our Way' which works particularly well.

Travel has always played a big part in Sharkey’s life.“I’ve always been on the move even from childhood," she says. "She was born in Eastbourne, her parents moved to London, then she spent time in France, before returning back to London with a period of time also spent on the flatlands of Norfolk. I’ve been so lucky to meet and play with so many different people through my travels,” she reflects. Her current time in Bristol is part of what Sharkey describes as her musical tour. “Basically I travel to visit friends and we hang out and play music together. What could be better, friends and music?"

Be it busking, getting it together with friends or playing to paying audiences, music is Sharkey’s life. She explains how there is a sense of being able to relax, to breathe around musicians. This space is where she’s comfortable and happy.

'One Dress', her debut album, was applauded by audiences, along with gushing reviewers' comments throughout the country. She says of the album, “There was an impulsiveness to create many of the tracks. I had lots of ideas I wanted to get out and write about. The album was filled with energy mixed with bittersweet themes. That was back in 2012,” she says sounding as if it were a decade ago. “These days I give more thought to my songs' arrangements and content." I interject with a summary. More structure. She’s not keen on my description. “No, not structured, more thoughtful on topics I want to cover." Starkey provides an example. “One of the songs I’m working on at present is about a little Italian village, the people I met and the home made goods they produce. I’m taking my time with the song's contents.”

Although she has only recently finished her extensive UK tour with Adam Beattie, future planning is well under way for more gigs and a tour schedule beginning next spring to coincide with the release of a second album. Sharkey is, however, citing September's Upstart Crow Festival as her next major gig. “It was Adam Beattie who heard really good reports on last year's Festival. We got to know some of the people involved and they asked me to play at this year's festival. I’ve heard some of the artists who will be performing. The line-up of talent is amazing. I really like the songs of Lorraine Wood. I’m looking forward to hearing her play."

Sharkey has a nice simplicity in her reply when I ask what she wants to get from her time at the Upstart Crow Festival. “Just to be there, just to be part of the day. Respect."

I believe Sharkey’s next album will be important to determine her direction and quality as a more mature singer songwriter. Her current album, EP and online videos ('White Chalk' is well worth a view) are not only diverse and expressive but showcase her range of styles. Oh and I did forget to say entertaining as well. Come spring of next year it won’t be a surprise if Brooke Sharkey is on your list of albums to buy and artists not to miss on tour.














Related Links:

http://brookesharkey.co.uk/
https://brookesharkey.bandcamp.com
https://twitter.com/BrookeSharkey
https://www.facebook.com/brookesharkeymusic


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