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Prophecy Might Be Right: Sarah Kinsley Is On The Rise | Features

Prophecy Might Be Right: Sarah Kinsley Is On The Rise | Features

The first time Sarah Kinsley performed was in a patio space in her high school cafeteria in Singapore. She was so nervous that she could barely hold the microphone. She did, however, manage to do a cover of an Amy Winehouse song, or so she thinks. She’s not quite sure.

Fast forward eight years later, Kinsley is no longer fourteen. She is also not as shaky on stage anymore. The 22-year-old is performing her own songs now and is quickly selling out venues all across the US, and her first ever solo gig in the UK – at the Social in London, on November 16th – didn’t take too long to fill up, either.

Born in Mountain View, California, Sarah Kinsley moved away at just a few months old. Embarking on a journey that saw her live in Switzerland, Singapore and Connecticut growing up. Ever since her university days, which granted isn’t that long ago as she graduated from the Ivy League institution Columbia last May, she’s been calling New York her home. Yet going back to California proved to evoke an emotional and spiritual escape from the intense feelings that haunted her that were portrayed in her first EP, ‘The King’. Her latest effort was partly inspired by the cypress trees she became obsessed with on her drive around South Cal. Explaining her love for the trees, Kinsley says that “the meaning of them and the idea of them being something to hide behind,” were a comforting obsession that impacted her as a whole when she was passing them by. 

Her genre-bounding angelic voice leads the way as her ethereal-sounding music stands out in a time with an overload of content. Kinsley, who has been playing instruments almost her entire life, started in a rather more classical atmosphere. This might be why her discography so far has touches of alternative-based themes that transcend the limitations of trends. Her background in classical music made her a perfectionist, so much so that when she first started producing her own music, she called it the “epitome of perfectionism,” going on about how she could control almost every layer of a song.  

Prophecy Might Be Right: Sarah Kinsley Is On The Rise

‘The King’ was her first introduction to the world as an artist. The EP is a timeless piece of work that allowed critics and fans alike to already name the young musician as a storyteller. With ‘Cypress,’ Kinsley feels that she can reintroduce herself. Her following has grown a lot since June 2021. “’The King’ was momentous and grand and wonderful, but it’s not who I am, it’s a piece of my artistry and who I want to be,” Kinsley expresses before delving into what she is experiencing now, “’Cypress’ is a way to move forward and a way to kind of take a part of myself and also another part to people.”

With ‘Cypress,’ Sarah Kinsley has also expanded her artistry as the title song was attached to a short film-like music video. She worked together with her friend Lux on the short film, as they wanted to fully expand on the visual layer of that song. ‘Cypress’ – the track – is supposed to live on as a bigger story. “It could not be told simply through the music,” Kinsley says before mentioning how passionate she is about multiple art forms, which she hopes to continue on forward throughout her career. 

Prophecy Might Be Right: Sarah Kinsley Is On The Rise

Kinsley can’t envision her life without her art. Creating is her way to express her feelings, go through the motions of life, and keep her memories intact. Therefore, it is the perfect image that the budding artist’s first memory includes the episode of Tom and Jerry at a concert. “It was a musical-themed episode,” she clarifies. The hazy memory is with her dad as they are watching the episode when her grandparents, mom and younger brother came home after he was born in 2003. 

Now, she is no longer in the living room of her childhood home. Yet she is creating new life-changing memories as she is growing momentum through her music, concerts and social media presence. A digital atmosphere she still can’t quite grasp, but in the last few months, she’s been on the road, getting to feel the tangible experience of what it is like to be a successful musician. Sarah Kinsley is loving it. And she can’t wait to go into the next chapter, hoping that she’ll keep remembering to still live in the here and now. 

Catch Sarah Kinsley at London’s Social on November 16th.

Words: Lauren deHollogne
Photo Credit: Julia Khoroshilov