Sharl is a Pop singer-songwriter from Melbourne, Australia. 2022 has started off strong for her with new single releases and an upcoming album, “City Lights.”
Her early music, released by a UK indie record label, was described as: “pure relevance…chick-flick drops of colour accompanied with those happy beats. Whilst she can party like it’s going out of fashion, and would suit any sleep over, [she] also spreads her thoughts through some softer numbers”
“City Lights” was born out of months of reflection during Melbourne’s many lockdowns. The era of indoor contemplation was a catalyst to deep dive into her passion of writing and recording original songs with new energy and evolution. The album documents her coming-of-age journey through the ups and downs of dating and relationships against the backdrop of city life. Spanning from classic ballads to a vintage Disco throwback to the heights of Hyperpop and Trap beats, her sound and style draws from the best of both classic and trendy elements.
With her single, “That Girl,” out now, we took some time to hear more from Sharl. Read below to learn more about Sharl, the story behind her single, and what’s to come.
Hi Sharl! Let’s start with how did you get your artist name?
There’s a story behind it, but I’ll tell that another day…maybe…!
What city are you from and where are you based now?
I’m based in Melbourne, so that’s home now, and I’ve previously lived in Adelaide, UK and New Zealand. My family is from Malaysia originally, but I never actually lived there myself.
At what point in your life did you decide to pursue a career in music? How did you get started?
I started playing instruments at the age of 3 because I wanted to be like my older brother! I took to it very well and continued doing a huge amount of music throughout my time at school.
Outside of my formal music training, I loved Pop music and discovered songwriting in my teenage years. I signed with an indie label and released an album with them which was my first experience of the music industry. The whole process of having my music come to life from songs on paper to fully recorded tracks was amazing to me, and I knew that this was what I loved doing the most.
At the same time, I wanted to pursue the additional career of becoming a doctor! That whole journey has been an extremely fulfilling part of my life which has really shaped me as a person. However, I found that alongside medical school and starting work, it was difficult to keep up music to the extent that I wanted. I ended up basically stopping making my original music, and just taking on projects intermittently which were mostly topline work for EDM producers and providing vocals for other Pop songwriters. When the lockdowns in Melbourne happened, I had plenty of time and space to think about what I want to do in my life and realized I need to pursue both careers going forward in order to truly feel complete and satisfied. I just threw myself into songwriting again and somehow the songs that I started writing were much better than anything that I had written before. I felt like I had truly found my voice as an artist and knew I just had to record and release this album.
Has your upbringing played a role in shaping who you are and defining your sound today? If so, how?
It definitely has, in that I have a solid musical foundation from starting so young which allows me to write music quite easily today. Playing and singing so many different types of music has made me very flexible and open as a musician. This has shaped me into an artist with a lot of diverse subgenres within my music, and I love constantly trying out new ideas and exploring different directions.
How would you describe your sound to readers who may not be familiar with you?
Broadly, it’s just Pop music! Within that there are wide range of styles across my songs, mainly Electropop, but with lots of different influences and sounds. On my album, “City Lights,” you’ll hear tracks ranging from Electropop to a Disco throwback, Pop Rock, and Ballads. The songwriting is more the common thread which brings the songs together.
Do you have any hobbies outside of music? What do you do to stay creative?
I love travelling whenever I can, exploring new cities and countries. Seeing different cultures and places broadens my experience and perspective of the world, keeps me really inspired and open-minded. I’m not sure when or where I’ll go next, but I can’t wait!
In a normal week in Melbourne, my hobbies outside of music are exercising, reading, exploring different restaurants and cafes, and going to events in the city. I just try to take in the world around me which fuels my ability to stay creative!
Who are some of your main musical influences?
I tend not to have any conscious influences and just write whatever I feel at the time. Instead, my musical influences are subconsciously all of the music that I hear and encounter. What I listen to in recent years is mostly mainstream Pop, EDM, R&B, and Hip-Hop. I tend to love a mixture of songs by different artists as well, rather than being devoted to the whole discographies of particular artists and bands.
I do think my innate sense of melody has been influenced a lot by the earlier music that I listened to, such as the major Pop artists of the early 00s. Growing up, I also loved listening to EDM, so that has informed my appreciation of many different electronic sounds and beats which I like to incorporate into my music.
Who would your dream music collaboration be with?
It’s on my bucket list to collaborate with a rapper, and if I could pick anyone, I would choose Eminem! He’s such an original artist with a unique style and voice, so much emotion in his music and has made some amazing tracks. Hit me up please!
What are some of your future music career goals?
My goal is just to keep making music that I really believe in, to keep working hard at it and feel like I’m delivering my best with every song. I would love for my music to reach an audience who enjoys and connects with it. I’m looking forward to doing a few collaborations this year too. Ultimately, I just want to keep releasing music, moving forward, and evolving as an artist.
Now onto your release, “That Girl.” What inspired this song?
The lyrics of “I don’t wanna be that girl” and the whole chorus melody just popped into my head, so everything flowed easily from there! I also spontaneously thought of the post-chorus whispered section, so it all came together quite quickly.
What is “That Girl” about in your own words?
There are actually two layers to the meaning of the song. The more obvious top layer is the story told throughout the whole song of unrequited feelings, and the time spent with someone being bittersweet and painful because it’s one-sided.
In isolation though, the lyric “I don’t wanna be that girl” has a lot more behind it! “That Girl” is a trend on social media of trying to embody the perfect healthy and productive lifestyle. It involves overly conscientious wellness routines, with people waking up early, practicing meditation, yoga, writing gratitude journals, trying to embody the ideal of being totally wholesome inside and out, and maintaining an impeccable aesthetic while doing all of it.
When I saw it, at first, I thought that’s great, I definitely want to be “That Girl!” The activities are mostly positive, healthy things to do. However, on closer inspection, it’s a movement which promotes an unrealistic level of perfection, and no one can be perfect all the time. So then I thought: whatever, I’m kinda close enough! But later, I actually decided that I didn’t want to engage with that social pressure at all, hence the line “I don’t wanna be that girl” was born. I realized I actually want to just do my own thing, find my own balance, and not try hard to fit into a mold, even if lots of the things that I enjoy doing still overlap with the trend.
What is your favorite lyric in “That Girl” and why?
My favourite lyric in the song is, “I could prolong what I fake to myself ain’t torture.”
I like it because it encapsulates the story of the song overall in one sentence. The style of the writing is quite characteristic of my lyrics, in general. And, I also like it because it’s actually a bit of an awkward line, yet I think it manages to fit effortlessly into the vocals!
What message do you hope fans take away from your music and from “That Girl?”
I hope they enjoy listening to my music, and love the overall style and sound. Then also that they find lyrics that they can relate to and connect with on a deeper level.
What’s one of your proudest moments of your music career so far?
I used to think it was being signed to a label at one point because of the perceived prestige associated with that, but actually the proudest moment is right now! Working as an independent artist and having an album that I love and believe is my best work so far is what makes me the proudest. And, I have to credit my excellent producer, Daniel Bohen, for truly understanding my music and creative vision as an artist, working endlessly to strive for the best in my music too. It’s been a lot of hard work, but also the happiest and most fulfilling time for me in my career to date.
What would you say are the greatest lessons you’ve learned so far?
I have learned so many lessons! Some of the greatest are: don’t compare yourself to others; do what’s right for you rather than succumbing to people’s expectations; and to surround yourself with good, positive people! Also, to work hard, be mindful, and grateful for what you have.
What’s next for you? Are you working on any upcoming projects that we should be on the lookout for?
My next release is on March 4th, a song called, “I Fell in Love.” It’s the lead single from my album, and I’m so excited for this song. As with all my music, it’s very personal to me, but this one in particular tells a big story of resilience and growth through difficult times in love. On top of that, I think the sound is so fresh and great with some awesome trap beats.
Then the next single, called, “Games,” will be out in April. It’s a really cool Hyperpop-influenced track and one of my favourites. There will be a few more singles released before the full album, “City Lights,” drops. I can’t wait! The album really embodies me as an artist, and I’m so happy with how it sounds. With such diverse styles on it, I think there’s something in there for everyone, and I’m looking forward to having people listen to it!
Where can we follow you on social media?