When the Sun Met the Moon
When the Sun Met the Moon is available at:
Santa Monica, U.S.A.
LAURA Saggers is an absolute dream of a musician…
– and human being for that matter. Not that personality and beauty are considered, or indeed that relevant when looking at a new musician. She is heartbreaking for so many reasons. Not only one of the most grounded, charming and generous musicians I have known: she seems to exude humanity and is comfortable when helping others; there is a spectacular beauty, not just on the outside but in her heart. Throw into that (sweet and soul-touching) mix and you have someone who is a reviewer’s dream. Saggers is a woman born in Buckinghamshire but based in L.A. She is taking her British wit and charm to the good people of the U.S.; seducing people with her wonderful smile, music and ambition. On the music front, she is, if that is possible, even more appealing and spectacular. I shall come to that very soon – bit of a tease, huh?! – but wanted to look at British musician (and international ones) moving to the U.S.; exceptional female musicians and the multi-talented grafters who deserve most attention – taking some time to look at 2017’s luminaries who are writing music that engages all the senses and digs deeper. I will also nod to the gender balance in music, but before I get to that, let us consider those that have left the relative safeties of the U.K. to go elsewhere. The U.S.A. seems to be a safe haven and calling for man musicians. If The American Dream is a dead concept in overall society – where Trump has turned that age-old vision into a dystopian, self-aggrandising taunt – there is still purity and purpose to that term when we consider musicians. If Donald J. is intent on transforming America into a whites-only, U.S.A.-for-Americans nation where illogical tyranny reigns: the country is, if anything, compelling more people to move there to bring their music to the people. After the extra-large selection box of crap this year has brought us: it is music where we can find reason, love and humanitarianism. It is this parapet of purity where togetherness and equality are encouraged. Although the U.S.’ music scene is busy away from Los Angeles; it is the city that still attracts the most amount of eager immigrants.
The rolling vistas and panoramic hills inspire the heart; the Hollywood sign in view and the perineal clemency a dream most of us lust after. Add to that a rich economy and spectacular, varied music scene and you have an absolute Mecca for the aspiring musician. London and the U.K. is still relevant – the world’s finest music city in my view – but issues like the diminishing club scene is leading our next generation of musicians to seek employment elsewhere. Given the folderol and fiasco around Fabric: it is no wonder there are nerves and Chinese whispers afoot. It is not just the U.K. that is donating musicians to the U.S. Nations like Australia and Canada and seeing a lot of their citizens make base in America. Although there is a cultural exchange dynamic – plenty of U.S. beauties coming here to take advantage of our metropolitan neon lights – I am sorely tempted by the neck-kissing allure and glamorous currency of Los Angeles. Given Laura Saggers’ talent, drive and artistry; it is no surprise she has decided to travel to America in order to further her music career. Before I raise my new points, it is worth learning more about my featured artist:
“Classically trained pianist from the age of 4. After 14 years studying with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in England, Laura started her own teaching business at the age of 19, started and fronted her own heavy rock band, Sennah, finished a BAhons degree in Music Business, moved to Los Angeles, and is now a singer songwriter with two singles on itunes and the album in the studio. stay tuned”.
That biography was written a little while ago: since then, Saggers has more achievements under her belt and new music on the horizon. With an album mooted for next year – which I shall come to soon – it is worth looking at how influential and inspiring she is. After training as a classical pianist, and being bitten by the performance bug at university, she is a Roland-endorsed keyboardist and has an incredible pedigree. There are few musicians that have such an affinity for the piano and an unbreakable passion.
Not just a skilled and versatile composer; she is an incredible songwriter and singer whose multiple gifts are aimed more at universal betterment than they are self-fulfillment. I hope the American lure does not distill Saggers’ natural speaking voice for she is someone who has incredible diction and a warm and loveable personality. Why mention this?! Well, it is because Saggers has that potential to become more involved with music as an ambassador or voice of good. She has worked her way up from working with other artists in smaller capacities (around L.A.) and now being tipped as one of the brightest hopes for next year. I feel Saggers will become more dedicated to music and use her talent and story to compel others and promote music to the next generation – I just prefer her natural accent to the Californian twangs and looseness. In my previous review, when looking at Stoke-on-Trent’s Chaos Jigsaw, I went into detail about how 2016’s finest albums have seen more black artists being recognised. I have been relieved to see the likes of Frank Ocean, Beyoncé and Solange being given the dues and acclaim they richly deserve. With chatter around regarding equality in music – I will plunge further into these waters tomorrow – you have to apply this discussion to gender as well as race. I still think there are fewer chances for women in music – perhaps a hot potato best left to cool for a few more weeks. I feel the female performers in music, both mainstream and underground, are outstripping their male counterparts and producing more diverse and interesting music. Laura Saggers is one of those artists who deserves huge applause but might have to fight harder than if she were a man. Even somewhere like California is not going to be as fair an open-minded as one would hope. If the derivative, reductive Pop stars of the charts are given easy passage to the big labels’ doors: genuine, real musicians like Saggers often have to expend three-times the energy and movement to garner a fraction of the popularity.
I have been following Saggers’ work for some time and am always impressed by her sheer determination and skill. I watched her perform a piano piece – whose name alludes me when I need it most – and was stunned by her acumen and ease. As a Pop/Soul songwriter, she puts her own stamp and voice into genres that have become crowded and commercialised. Of course, Pop has always come with a commercial, made-for-the-charts desire but Saggers is someone who can balance a radio-friendly sound with something much more intriguing and intelligent. I shall come to assessing her new music soon but it seems like the path is all laid out for the young Brit. I see too many ‘musicians’ have others write their songs and not bother to learn an instrument; have their voices processed to f*** and hide behind a barrage of producers and hapless yes-men. Saggers is, by that same token, not someone who is dull and forgettable. This year, my favourite music has been defined by real musicianship, nuance and flexibility. The artists who occupy the high spots of my end-of-the-year polls are those that bring all these elements to their music – that is why the likes of Billie Marten, Radiohead are, by an act of transposition, authours of my favourite album and song this year.
I know Laura Saggers will be granted mainstream regard and get her music shared across the globe: it might take a few years before she gets that assured foothold and full backing behind her. That might seem like a galling and far-off timescale but she has already achieved so much in a short space. It will be fascinating seeing how 2017 plays out compared with this year. I know 2016 has been marred and defined by its losses and tragic mortality but let us not forget what starling and decade-defining albums we have seen. I have not witnessed a year as exceptional, multifarious and evolved as this year. Not only have black artists defined the finest of this year but female artists are, in my expert/non-expert view, leading the charge and showing how it should be done. I know next year will keep the quality up but see changes still. I expect many of the hardest-working new musicians get a step closer to mainstream recognition. Whatever Saggers has in mind, aside from an album release, I am excited to see her dedication and natural talent reap rewards. When the Sun Met the Moon is not just a positive step but another bold and memorable step from the California resident.
With Chasing Dreams approaching, it is worth looking at Saggers’ previous material and seeing how it square-up against When the Sun Met the Moon. I am not sure how many older tracks will make their way onto her album but you can see the changes and confidence grow. Summer Fling, released a couple of years back, not only reminds me a bit of another upcoming British talent – the colourful and commanding Lola Coca – but has that sound of summer ingrained in its psyche. It has been compared to the music of Lily Allen but I feel it is more unique and pleasurable than anything she has lent her name to. Saggers recalls a holiday/brief fling: a boy that was good for the body and lips but was never going to linger in the mind – not beyond fond and blushing recollection at the very least. It is a song that deals with prurient, sweat-dripping impulsiveness but never cheapens itself by aiming for the bone and being crude. You can practically hear the sly grin form on her lips as she recalls the good times and in-it-for-the-moment recklessness. There is Hawaiian tropical vibes and summer blissfulness; feel-good sensations and a beat you can get your feet underneath. In terms of new material, aside from the album title track, there have been a lot of cover versions.
Included in the list of covers are songs by Ella Fitzgerald, Cat Stevens and The Killers – not artists you could compare or find common ground with. That blend of classical and contemporary artists shows what a diverse musical palette Saggers has. It is this asset that has led to some extraordinary new material. There have been other songs like 10000 Bitcoins and Warrior – you can watch the videos on her YouTube channel – but it is the reinterpretations that show what a talent she is. Tackling other artists’ songs not only increases that confidence and adds experience but adds new dimensions and colours to your own music. I am sure investigating songs by Ella Fitzgerald and The Killers is directly responsible for the blend of soulfulness and urgency in songs like When the Sun Met the Moon. I know Chasing Dreams will not contain many (if any) cover versions but Saggers could pull that off. Such is her authority and naturalness when tackling older work you yearn to hear more. I am really pleased by her current material and have seen how she’s developed as songwriter. I love the seasonality and sensuality of Summer Fling but find myself affected and buckled by the incredible emotions of When the Sun Met the Moon.
The listener is practically inoculated to outside distraction and anxieties the first few seconds of When the Sun Met the Moon. The sparring of teasing, tight beats and elliptical, flourishing piano notes give the song competing emotions. You have that heartfeltness and open arms but there is a lingering hardness and unsettled soul. It is in the first moments one starts to imagine and let their dreaming mind take charge. With an almost lullaby-like quality to the delivery; Saggers recalls when the sun first met the moon – the celestial, astronomical beings exchanging courtesies in a rather charming, child-like way. That civility and conversationalist give the song a very human and pleasant tone – one suspects there is something else hiding in those words. The words are spoon-fed but it provides the maximum amount of respect and detail. I notice embers of Katie Melua – and her latest album, In Winter – in the delivery and its pleasing, gorgeous sound. When hearing the song one gets impressions of darkness and light. The moon represents the feeling of loss and the vacuum of having to say goodbye to someone you love – whether they are a lover or a relative that has departed. The sun is the more hopeful and life-giving object: something that can provide hope and light to those who need it the most. Maybe I am looking too deeply into Saggers’ words but that is what I pick up straight away. There is a “Vision of beauty” and you are split between two logical plains of theory. Maybe there is the sun – and its embrocating powers – and how its radiance and ubiquity is a relief and balm for troubled minds. The moon is the night and the unpredictablness of losing someone close and having to face that. Those dual titans act as emotional pillars and representations of extreme feelings.
The sun took her, the song’s unnamed protagonist, and showed her a world of green and blue. Saggers keeps things oblique and allow the visual merits of the song replace literalness. Everyone can freely interpret and envision the song as it unfolds. I see the song’s heroine the embodiment of Laura Saggers: someone who has dealt with tragedy and is trying to find meaning, calm and comfort in the world. Maybe she has lost her safety net and role model: having to transition into a life without that is causing confusion and sadness. On the other hand, there is the simplicity of the literal: seeing the day transcend into night and the spellbinding beauty of day’s light and night’s celestial, balletic displays. It is when the song accelerates and changes pace things become clearer – only to a certain extent. Separation and belonging are mentioned in rather grand terms. The sun and moon are never meant to be apart, regardless of their unique roles and day/night shift dynamics – but so too is Saggers and her subject. Whether she is referring to a love/sweetheart or someone that has departed, I am not too sure- the rather spirited and hopeful tones of the vocal suggest it is the former. The percussion drives and the piano provide tenderness as our heroine pledges her allegiance to her subject. Whatever happens, and how every the days reveal their skin, there will be no question of her loyalty and faithfulness. There is a capriciousness to life and its temperamental demeanour: our girl will always keep her heart strong and not let her love fade. At once, you are hooked by the graceful-cum-delicate delivery of the lines and the sheer twinkle of the composition. Ethereal, sweet and shades of pink and red: Saggers shows what a virtuous and comforting voice she has.
Whilst intentions of passion might be contained within the words, you never feel there is any possibility of allure and sex – it is much more clean-cut and romantic. Again, in terms of the song’s inspiration, I am caught between the pillars of lost love and current desires. There is gravity, force and astrological ruminations. That innocence and tenderness continues and will warm the most arctic of hearts. The heroine will always be there and someone whose dedication will never wane. It is interesting speculating the origins of the song and the person in mind. Saggers is certainly clear about her feelings and intentions towards the subject – no matter what happens and whatever fates conspire; she will be loyal and completely faithful. The darkness came and “kidnapped the moon into the night” and has eradicated the pleasures and security of the day. Maybe that loss has occurred and changes the tone and balance of the song. Now, you hear an audible drop and weight in Saggers’ voice. Again, it seems to be that loss and bereavement are more concerned with death that broken love. Knowing how Saggers’ mother died; one cannot help but draw their minds, knowing that fact, to these interpretations. Despite the sun’s valiant attempts to reclaim the day; it seems the power and influence of the darkness are winning that tête–à–tête. Setting aside etymology in relation to this song: it is impossible not to be won and affected by Saggers’ voice and composition. I know how much the song means – as it is very personal – and what relevance it holds. I am not sure whether Saggers was thinking of familial loss during the writing but you can hear how much of her heart and soul is coming out of the speakers. You get notes of Pop and Soul intermingling but there is overall hopefulness and positivity. When the song switches up another gear, and the percussion and guitars becoming more rushing, you are never overwhelmed or led into negative territory.
Saggers ensures the song keeps it spirit resolute and old. Whether her inspiration has departed or is elsewhere: their light and magic is the thing that starts (Saggers’) day. Dealing with such hard-hitting concerns might torment and wrack lesser songwriters. Laura Saggers has delivered a song that does not fail to evoke a smile and instant fandom. You do look for the meanings and what has led to the song’s creation but, on the surface, are more than happy engaging in the wonderful, bright vocals and pleasing composition. There is a completeness and nuance to the song that affects you depending on the mood, time of day and occasion. Different periods might bring different things from the song: you might hear new revelations and highlights when you least expect it. That is testament to Saggers, not only as a songwriter but a singer and musician. She does not make the music too loud and intrusive nor does she cast it to the outskirts – where it languishes and acts as a means to an end. She involves and entwines the composition with the vocal – much in the same way the sun and moon are inseparable in the song. By the end, as the music wraps up the song with its buoyancy and infectiousness, you will get to the end of the song and want to listen to it again. Quite an achievement from a songwriter who is relatively new to the business. She already seems experienced and established which will do her future prospects the world of good. Not only is When the Sun Met the Moon a perfect example of what Chasing Dreams might contain – it is a stunning song that has the potential to find itself on radio stations around the nation (U.S.). I hope British-based stations latch onto the song and feature it as there is a big swell of support for Laura Saggers. We love her music and talent: she, in turn, shows her affection for the listener with another beautiful and rich song.
It is Christmas – I am writing this on Christmas Day, in fact – and the kind of time when we not only look back and give thanks but cast our hopes for the future. When the Sun Met the Moon is a song I will not get out of my head for a while and no wonder. I have provided my interpretation and views. Saggers, in her own words, ascribed it thus: “(It is) a story about how the sun falls in love with the moon and they get separated, and for the rest of his life the sun continues to love the moon even though he can no longer see her. I work with a ton of kids on a daily basis and was inspired to write this song as a message to anyone who has had to lose someone special. The ‘darkness’ can be either death, or divorce, separation, or a situation that is out of our control but hard to explain to children without a story behind it… The message is simple: people come and go, that is life, but the love between two people, regardless of circumstances will never be forgotten. My mum passed away when I was 13, and to this day I believe her love for me still exists because she lives in my memories and that gives me peace and strength every day.” I know Saggers’ mother would be incredibly proud of her daughter and what she has achieved. She (Laura) is not just a musician and artist making moves: she is inspiring and teaching others whilst showing how beautiful and wonderful music can be. I wrote a line in a song once: “The sun and moon switched place/the night I saw your face” and, whilst not as fine as one or two other lines in the song – which I shall not bore you with – sparked images and thoughts.
Saggers reminds me of that moment and has written a song that addresses darkness and loss but has a hopeful, they-are-always-there-watching-over-you redemptiveness. Yes, Mrs. Saggers will be eliciting a smile and guiding her daughter – the fact that love and connection resonates within the heart of Laura means that connection will never be broken or lost. Before I come to predicting and looking at the next year for Saggers, I wanted to revoke the themes I alluded to up-top. Whilst I will expend proper respect to gender and racial issues in music, I am pleased to see just how many fantastic female musicians are getting into critics’ heads. That may sound patronising but it isn’t meant to: it does not take a genius to know there is a certain degree of sexism and imbalance in music. I have grown tired of seeing certain male, inferior artists crowned and revered at the expense of their better equipped and meaningful female peers. Maybe my half-joked introduction is part of the reason female musicians are lauded for the wrong reasons. Saggers is an extraordinarily charming and beautiful woman but one needs to dig down and not assume she is your average Pop star who leers for that sort of attention. Laura Saggers is a bona fide star-in-the-making and one of the most stunning songwriters I have heard. Her voice is still developing and growing but that, and the fact she is so immediate right now means her future will be very rosy. Yeah, there are some great male artists and they should never be relegated and demoted for no reason. I just mean to say how the finest female artists around are not given the same regard and respect. Music should be gender-blind and built on the foundations of equality and merit. There is, as I stated earlier, greater equality in music when compared to other areas of society. It is wonderful seeing a British musician not only settle in Los Angeles but acclimatise and attune themselves to an American way of working.
One of my goals for next year is to visit cities like Los Angeles and see more American music. London is a wonderful place, and favourite city in the world, but I can see myself settling into Los Angeles. Its weather, panoramic views and exceptional musical enclaves are more than enough to see my hop a plane and get my tuchus over there. Laura Saggers left the calm and received pronunciation of the Home Counties to try her luck in America. She did not just rock up and get signed and huge the second she played her first gig. Many British musicians are going to America and finding it a more appealing and prosperous landscape in which to creative. Despite the fact the bloated Trump is threatening to wring the last drops of dignity from the American flag is not unsettling musicians: in fact, there is a peaceful rebellion and movement of creativity happening. It is not a coincidence the finest albums of the last decade are arriving in a year when political tyranny and increased hostilities are reaching untenable levels. This brings me to Laura Saggers and just what she will be doing next year. When the Sun Met the Moon is a song that has already been released and gaining so much attention and positivity. I was compelled to review it because of its lyrical themes and backstory; the rich and gorgeous music and that incredible vocal. Having heard other songs by Saggers lately, including seasonal covers and a particularly stirring version of Zombie by The Cranberries, I am looking forward to seeing Chasing Dreams (her debut album) come to the light. Its title track has been released and shows how prolific and determined Saggers is. I use that word (‘determined’) because it is a facet missing from many musicians. Thre young musician will be releasing singles slowly – in order to wet appetites – but I am seeing, from what has been released, how varied the album will sound.
There is that Pop/Soul core, where genres are cross-pollinated, and that dichotomy of radio-ready accessibility and something much more discriminating, proper and educated. Saggers’ classical training and wonderful musicianship are balanced by an open songbook and gorgeous voice that will compel casual listeners and those who can hear a pin drop in an ocean of noise. When the Sun Met the Moon is such a wonderful song and I can see it arriving at the half-way point of Chasing Dreams. Maybe the title track opens things before moving into similar-sounding songs: perhaps a lighter, breezier first-half show before a more contemplative, emotional finale? This is my acting as proxy producer – got to distance myself! – but I am pumped to see Saggers grow and shine. She is no short supply of confidence and talent: commodities that are desperately sought in the music industry. Whenever the album is released, and whatever the remaining tracks consist, I will be one of the first to jump on it and dive into its pleasing waters. I will close my looking at Saggers’ career so far and just how far she will go in the coming twelve months. When I interviewed her months ago, I asked about her transition to America and her hopes for the future. I know she misses the accents, humour and tea; the comforts of home and what she has left behind. I also know how much she wants to press on in music and has high hopes. After releasing the bouncy, upbeat Chasing Dreams – which Elmore Magazine premièred – Saggers has been involved with the Laura Jean Music Academy Group 2 Formal Winter Music Recital 2016 – see her Facebook updates to see how positive and successful the last couple of weeks have been for her. Not only has Saggers been laying down the promotion for her forthcoming album but she has been cutting her teeth on a range of cover versions. Adding life and new dimensions to songs like Feeling Good is hard but she has recently achieved that. It is precisely that work ethic and continued dedicated to others’ material that makes her own (material) so vibrant, assured and professional.
With Laura Saggers there are few nerves and loose ends: she radiates professionalism, beauty and immense passion. That incredible songwriter and heartbreaking history – knowing what inspired When the Sun Met the Moon – not only make you want to hug her (and tell her it will all be okay) but continue following her plight. I know Saggers has a loyal fanbase in the U.S. and U.K. and that will only grow next year. I would love to see her perform back in Britain and in London for sure – lots of venues I know would give her a night or two to give us over here a taste of her new work. I hope she has a great label and manager behind her because she deserves her music getting a lot of focus across the world. I could see, and practically plan, a mini-tour of Britain and the U.S. She could find fans across Europe and Australia whilst getting some good vibes around Asia. The release of Chasing Dreams will be pivotal: its title is perhaps the best two-worded synopsis of Laura Saggers’ career. She did leave home to pursue music and has left a lot behind her. There are few brave enough to risk that much but it is, surely and without abatement, paying off for the stunning musician. I know how tough the competition is and just how many artists are out there. It might be naïve proffering everyone who comes to my blog but that is why I review them – I am not merely employing reductio ad absurdum. Whatever Saggers’ tour diary looks like and however 2017 is panning out it is going to be a massively important one for her. Not only is her album going to get a load of buzz and love but she will have options and decisions to make. I am, as part of my blog, compiling a list of those musicians to watch next year and follow close. Laura Saggers will be on there and it only takes a single listen to When the Sun Met the Moon to see why. A certain President-elect Trump is brewing his own international nightmare but when it comes to our very own Laura Saggers, she is taking the opposite approach and writing…
HER American Dream.
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