cover photo by Kick Van Doorn, costume design by Emma Poesma Sep
In today’s age, technology has flooded our lives with content. Caught in the mire are today’s musicians who champion an art form that’s more widely distributed than any other throughout human history. And we, more often than not, overlook the music created by unfamiliar faces because it’s challenging. We’d rather have an easy listen, a known quantity to skim through while we think about something else.
Hearing is easy, but listening is difficult. Welcome to “Why We Like It”, where we rebuke the trends in favor of thoughtful analysis and underknown sounds.
“Talk To Me” — Noha Saré
How We Found It
We hadn’t heard anything from Dutch singer-songwriter Noha Saré until last week, when her new single “Talk to Me” landed in our SubmitHub inbox. That’s easily explained by the fact that it’s her debut single, a free-standing release that currently represents her entire catalogue. It’s rare that any artist arrives on such powerful terms, but “Talk to Me” commands respect both musically and thematically.
Why We Like It
One thing you learn when writing about a track titled “Talk to Me” is… there are a lot of songs titled “Talk to Me.” It’s probably the only thing that Run The Jewels, Stevie Nicks, KISS and ZAYN all have in common, and that’s unsurprising: there’s a real universality to that pleading request, whether teary or simply sympathetic. Many hands make light work of the burdens we bear, and opening up to another is tough. In her own take on that well-worn title, Noha Saré manages something all the more remarkable: fusing an introspective openness with a real creative challenge.
“Trying to move on but I can’t cut the cord,” begins Noha, her verses short and emotions heightened. There’s a real spaciousness to the track, one that builds from moments of complete silence to arrangements of sweeping grandeur. The mix isolates her voice atop to two-and-fro of an anthemic guitar, fixing Noha at the front and centre of her debut record. Singing without instrumentation is the free soloing of music: if you slip in such an unencumbered mix, there might not be anything there to catch you. There’s a confidence to that alone, but as the song ensues, it becomes a whole different kind of assured.
The striking transition that sees Noha move from pleading to powerful might just be the honesty she’s after, a kind of jilted judgment that finds power in clipped beats and the ebbing ambience. It channels the resoluteness that comes with closure, transforming sadness to strength; turning a trial into a triumph. You could almost take it as a reflection of the creative process itself, which often finds artists turning feelings of despair into art that illustrates and challenges those feelings. On “Talk To Me,” Noha finds fragments of character in the plight of rejection, emerging all the wiser for having run that emotional gauntlet.
In the end, that’s all we can ask for – silver linings and self-improvement. Heartbreak and hardship are as promised as death and taxes, and the fact that they’re left out of the idiom speaks to just how uncomfortable a truth that is. If we all took a page out of Noha’s affecting debut and searched for assuredness in our most arduous hours, we’d be all the better for it.
From Noha Sare
Noha: Talk To Me is a sparse production indeed. We chose to leave out everything that could possibly distract from the vocals. But it was a challenge to make it sound the way I wanted it to sound, because of its dominant presence. There’s nothing to hide behind in a sparse mix, so it was pretty confronting at times. I tried a lot of moods and colors and I sang the whole song all over again if one line didn’t cover the right feeling.
Talk To Me is about different stages of healing. It’s about rejection, disconnect, facing your own fears and the attempt to eventually turn them into strength. I felt the urge to explore and highlight these different stages and contradictory feelings. Eventually it appeared to be really important to me that these stages and emotions were not only named by the lyrics, but were also reflected in the sound of my voice. So I created something kinda hysterical haha, but I think this is what the song is about. This is what can happen when people are driven to despair. It’s part of the healing process.
So what I’ve learned from Talk To Me is that it’s fun to experiment and challenge myself. I used to get scared to do weird stuff with my voice, maybe because I was afraid to sound like me. But now I get kinda hyped when I sing something freaky or when I sound a bit over the top. And I’m very thankful for my team, especially my producer Tom Bachmann. In my opinion he’s a wizard, who made the track sound transparent and rich at the same time.
More From Noha Saré
“Talk To Me” might be Noha’s first single, but it’s far from her last – in the most literal sense, things are only just getting started.
You can keep up with Noha on her Instagram and her Facebook page, which will give you the drop on whatever drop comes next, at which point you can subtly gloat about your inside edge to all your friends!
More to Discover
Subscribe to the CentralSauce mailing list so you never miss out on the freshest sauce. Check out this continuously updated playlist of songs Conor has added to our Discovery section! Each track or artist has been featured in our “Why We Like It” section, so be sure to check out the page here on the site.