Sharon Watkins Music Feature

Sharon Watkins has performed all over the world with various artists and has now collaborated with some of the best musicians on the scene to create a music-lovers

Nottingham-based artist Sharon Watkins returns with her second single, ‘Stranded’, ahead of the release of her upcoming album. Having had her first single featured online and praise from media, ’Stranded’ is set for a successful release on June 24th, 2022. Collaborating with producer Sam Miller (The Hoosiers, One Direction) and saxophonist “Bebee” Aldridge (Gary Barlow, Macklemore), Watkins captures the “global excitement at getting back out and having fun”. This Motown-inspired, British soul track embraces the feeling of being free but not knowing where that freedom is going to take you.

See what Sharon had to say recently to music news site about her musical icons.

How have you been?
Amazing, thank you! We are just blown away by how successful Proud and Stranded have done for our first releases. To have been added to major playlists and had praise from BBC Introducing & so many big music publications this early was not anything we expected.
Honestly, we’ve been so busy trying to keep up with all the radio & press features.

When did you first begin writing music?
I was writing from an early age honestly My brother and I started writing songs in our teens at my parents’ old, battered, out-of-tune piano and a make-shift drum kit  We had built a huge catalogue of songs and when I lost my job during COVID we decided to hone them and record an album.

Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming single ‘Stranded’?
It is a complete celebration of the freedom we have regained post-Covid. I wrote Stranded during the pandemic when we were all so desperate to just get out and get back to normal. I was in Norfolk and saw these boats sat in the mud, in a harbour that rarely gets filled with a tide. The boats just looked like everyone felt at the time – needing change & freedom. I love Motown and knew I wanted it to develop into a thumping neo-soul song and was lucky enough to be collaborating with some incredible musicians that could pull that off. My brother Sammy J Stopford (currently on a world tour with Fast Love – the George Michael Tribute band) gave it the thumping neo-soul beat, Beebe Aldridge (Saxophonist to Macklemore & Gary Barlow) added the iconic, screaming sax solo & we worked with Sam Miller (producer for Razorlight, the Hoosiers & One Direction) to get the authentic retro sound you hear.

What is it about now that makes it the perfect time to release this next single?
Stranded is an out-and-out summer song and has been praised for timing for a song that celebrates freedom and getting out!

There is a beautiful music video for your track, ‘Stranded’. Can you explain the concept behind it?
We had so much fun designing and shooting the music video. We wanted the it to reflect the retro, neo-soul nature of the song and the retro recording studio where we recorded it (Superfly Studios in Nottingham) and decided to emulate a full motown band complete with backing-singer trio. Again, I had the privilege of collaborating with some amazing people on that and we even had Exchange Music shoot a documentary style “Making-of” video of it which we’ll be releasing after the single the summer.

Who would you say are your musical icons?
Honestly, my music taste is very eclectic, I have lived all over the world (France, Italy & an 8 year stint in the USA) and I have picked up so many influences. I have to say though that Paul McCartney is my absolute song-writing hero. The songs he has written have spanned so many eras, topics & genres. He can literally write a song about anything and make it engaging. I love all the singer-songwriter greats like Carole King, Joni Mitchell, CSNY. Equally, I love some of the great song-writing thats going on right now by people like Lewis Capaldi, Ed Sheeran, Tom Odell. I’m committed to not being a music snob and dismissing certain genres of music …. It is so subjective and at the end of the day…. someone likes it.

What advice would you give to people who may feel that they are stranded?
Get out there, live your dreams & surround yourself with people that support you. For every acceptance to a radio station, playlist or amazing review we have had, we have also had as many rejections and criticisms – if we’d have let that stop us, we wouldn’t be here with 2 successful single releases and more to come! You have to ignore the doubters & the people that don’t believe in you, focus on the people that support you!!

What’s next for you? Do you have any performances or more releases in the near future?
We’re releasing 3 more singles from the album over the next 9 months ahead of the final album release. The next single is called “The One That Got Away” and is a gorgeous, wintery song that will be released in October. I’m really excited about that one. I’m also going to be releasing “Stranded – The Making of” video on You Tube, which is a load of fun and gives a behind-the-scenes look at making a music video. We’re also doing some live lounge sessions of my songs over the summer.

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Joanna Fletcher
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