slow-burning soulful vocals
Meet Saint Clair

Having worked for over 10 years as a session musician with the likes of Ghostpoet and Dua Lipa, London born and bred Emma Topolski (aka Saint Clair) decided that the time has come for her to “stop touring”.

“One of the biggest challenges as a jobbing musician is to earn money and you’re kind of trained to almost never turn down work. you’re freelance and its completely drilled into you. So that was a big challenge for the first time saying no to stuff because I needed to make time for my own projects”

The name came Saint Clair came about as a result of looking for a way to fuse her maternal ties to the Sinclair Clan of Scotland together with her French education. As for her sound, the electronica-infused tracks echo similarities with the likes of James Blake and her most recent single I’ll Stay is a dark and mournful track that perfectly displays her slow-burning soulful vocals.

Saint Clair explains that much of the inspiration for her songwriting is drawn from personal experiences saying it’s the “easiest way to create a flow because it’s honest and because you can draw from your own emotions much more easily than just using fiction”.

With I’ll Stay for example she explains that the song came about as a form of “catharsis”. Much of what she touches on in the song was at the forefront of her mind going on to disclose that “I couldn’t really imagine talking about anything else and so I kind of had to expel it”.

Since going solo Saint Clair explains that one of the greatest difficulties has been juggling all the managerial aspects of producing music alongside “trying to figure out how to sustain the inspiration and how to create a structure where there really is none”. Her enthusiasm for her work comes across as her tone never faltering as she goes on to explain that “its a real rollercoaster but it’s kind of all I’ve ever known could you even imagine yourself in anything else”. This passion and determination for her craft are certainly paying off as earlier this year she released her debut EP ‘D1’ which was later followed by D2 recently unveiled the live video to her single “I’ll Stay” which was directed by her sister.

“So that’s the first time she’s ever directed anything. She’s an actress but she’s got an incredible eye. I always trust her with all things aesthetic […] so it made sense that someone with a great eye that has my best interests at heart and knows how I like to be portrayed”

Despite being her sister’s directorial debut the video is a beautiful triumph and manages to be a heartfelt interpretation of the song. It depicts Saint Clair sat at a grand piano surrounded by a small live band in a room covered in drapes and possesses an almost ethereal quality which is highly contrasting to the official music video which is aggressive and full of angst. Rather than the stripped back aesthetic, it is dark and gritty depicting Saint Clair through physically battling with numerous strangers who no doubt ac as metaphors for tackling internal demons that one has the song talks about overcoming. Both videos somehow work wonderfully together and show the power of interpretation and how the way individuals deal with emotions can differ. When we asked if we should be expecting any more collaborations with her sister she had this to say:

“Maybe February for the first one and then probably release each one every month after that. Well, have them all done together. So I would say February/March. You never know with schedules but that’s my aim.”

Although yet to release any official live dates we look forward to getting the chance to see her perform live in the near future and as it’s still early days for Saint Clair this one woman powerhouse is one to watch for sure.

 

 

Words by Emily Takeuchi-Brown

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