Interview with Sharon Watkin
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Growing up in Manchester in a household obsessed with music, I was surrounded by it all the time and have always been writing and playing in some capacity. My brother and I started playing and writing songs together - on a very out-of-tune piano and makeshift drum kit - in our teens. I went on to have a career as a global marketer and lived all over the world, however, I was always involved in music wherever I went. During COVID, I lost my job and my brother and I decided to record an album. Luckily, he had become a professional musician and had a lot of great connections in music that we have collaborated with during the recording.…. I feel like my years in marketing have come in very handy with launching our singles but honestly, we still can’t believe how well they have done: to have our first two singles hit nearly 100k streams & be picked up by global radio & press outlets & such amazing reviews from them all …..whaaaaaa? I would never have expected that.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Honestly, when I’m not playing music, I’m being a mum to my kids and balancing that with a pretty intense global marketing job. Many of my songs are about life experiences, not only in relationships but also in the workplace, my career has given me a particular perspective on things and music gives me the outlet to express my observations and frustrations with a world that still has so many inequities.
How long has your band been around?
My brother and I have been playing together and writing since we were teens but honestly, “the band” is a collaboration that we put together to record the album. My brother “Sammy J Stopford” is a successful drummer – he is currently on a world tour with “Fast Love” (the George Michael Tribute band) and has sessioned at Abbey Road. Thanks to his connections, we were able to pull together a band of incredible musicians. Just some of the collaborators on the album include “Beebe” Aldridge (sax player to Macklemore & Gary Barlow); and sound engineer Sam Miller (who was responsible for albums by Razorlight, the Hoosier’s & One Direction) and Bryan Corbett (Trumpeter to The Brand New Heavies).
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I am originally from Manchester but have lived all over the world and now live in Nottingham. Manchester was such a vibrant music city to grow up in with the advent of Madchester and Britpop in my teens. I have also lived in Italy, France and for 8 years in the USA, which was just incredible! No matter where I was, I was always involved in music whether it was writing, playing classically or in rock bands. I now live in Nottingham with my entire family and I love it!! It is just such a buzzing city, full of talent with a passion for music and I’m really proud that we recorded the album here at Superfly Studios.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Ha! The name of my band is just my name “Sharon Watkins” not very inventive… but honestly we recorded the album without realising how successful the first 2 singles would be. It works for us ….
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
I sang at some pretty shady places when I lived in the states, one reminded me of the scene in the Blues Brothers when they’re throwing beer bottles at the chicken wire but my favourite is definitely a local festival I recently headlined…. I involved a lot of up-and-coming local talent in my set and it was a massive highlight for me to be able to showcase young talent alongside a professional band.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Isn’t everyone’s favourite place to play a festival?? Such a great atmosphere, everyone has purposefully come there to listen to music, let loose and have a great time.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
I am huge Paul McCartney fan….. and he has influenced our song writing and the album in so many ways. I say that from a song writing point of view, I think he is the best song writer to ever have lived and I would have given a lot to be on that stage singing with him at Glastonbury 2022 ….
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Music is subjective and there will be people that like your music and those that don’t …. And that’s OK…. For every acceptance on a radio station, interview in a magazine or positive comment in a social media post we have had on our project, there have been hundreds of rejections, so layer up that thick skin quickly and focus on the positives !!
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Advice to myself…. spend the time to hone your songs and finish them. I have a huge catalogue of great songs that were all unfinished and it took the kick up the bum of losing my job for me to hone them and finish 10 of them for the album. It’s great to brainstorm and capture new song ideas endlessly but you also have to push yourself to really craft them and finish them.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why? Which songs are your favourite to play and which get requested the most?
Honestly, it is so hard to pick one. Of my current releases “Stranded” is definitely my favourite to play, it has been so popular because it is such a fun Summer song and expresses how so many people have felt over the last few years….
Which one means the most? Honestly, each one is special, and it was really hard even deciding which ones to put out as singles. I guess if I was pushed it would have to be “When We Were Together”. We haven’t released it yet so you’ll have to wait for that one but I wrote it about my brother’s fiancé breaking up with him weeks before their wedding, which broke everyone’s heart and there is just so much emotion in it but it is also so triumphant in the way he has moved on from that situation to be as successful as he is.
It is the epitome of this project, coming back from adversity, getting out there again and living your best life !!!