Sarah Martinson is a name some might not be familiar with, but you should be. Her debut album Back To You is an extremely personal yet universally true tale of loving, losing, and celebrating life, wrapped up in a joyously candid package. The record carries with it a charmingly strong sonic identity, merging a jazzy-pop soundscape with touches of modern soul and other contemporary elements.
After releasing the dazzling lead single “It Ain’t Over” in anticipation of the new album, Martinson was instantly established as an up-and-coming artist with huge potential. Back To You not only showcases her extraordinary musical talent as a songwriter, but also a burning willingness to collaborate successfully with other artists; creating a distinctively inspiring project that breaths with sentiment. Never settling on one style, each track moves from one to another with a jazzy swagger, reminiscent of artists like Stevie Wonder, Sara Bareilles, and Vulfpeck.
Structured in order of meaning, Martinson introduces herself as the narrator of the album with the tasteful choral/pop fusion opener “Always”, immediately setting the scene for what is a beguiling remainder of the album. The next duo of “Back To You” and “We Should Stick Together” explore the themes of love and finding yourself, diving head first into the emotional affairs of the heart. The following three tracks bleed with passion, exploring her journey into music and the sacrifices that had to be made along the way; expressing the hardship of finding the mental strength in the face of adversity. The album wouldn’t be complete without a homage to relationship drama: cue the trio of “Opportunity”, “Unbreakable” and “It Ain’t Over”. The latter sees Martinson collaborate with Andrew Seely in a enthralling modern mashup of disco-funk and hip-hop, blending two well traversed genres into an engrossing listening experience. Concluding with “Bluebirds” and “If We Knew”, the final two tracks convey two very different perspectives on understanding loss, and the whirlwind of emotions that come with it; rounding the record off with a gracious sense of validity.
It’s truly refreshing to see an artist so intent on sharing their personal experiences, spawning a genuine connection between Martinson and her listeners that will only develop with every release. This album represents a massive step forward for the singer-songwriter, enhancing her reputation in the industry as one of the UK’s new rising stars.