Q&A with UK Jazz Singer Zara McFarlane

Q&A with UK Jazz Singer Zara McFarlane

Multi-award winning singer-songwriter Zara McFarlane, is one of the UK’s finest jazz vocalists. Eloquent and provocative, her sound is distinguished by her melding of multiple influences from jazz, reggae, folk and nu-soul. 

McFarlane’s debut album, 2011’s Until Tomorrow, came garlanded with rave reviews and a MOBO award nomination, and heralded a major new talent in the world of British jazz. The follow-up, also recorded for Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings label, is a more ambitious collection that draws from many more influences: from the deep spiritual jazz of Pharoah Sanders to dub and reggae.

We managed to sit down with her briefly, whilst trying on glasses, to get a little more insight on this exceptional artist.

Zara wears DEEDEE in red transparent (left) and MIMI in light tortoiseshell.

Who are 3 musicians/vocalists that have inspired you the course of your life?

Lauryn Hill

Nina Simone

Sarah Vaughan

What are your 3 favourite places to see live jazz in the world? 

North Sea Jazz Fest

Ronnie Scott’s

Rochester Jazz Festival 

What is your desert island record?

This is tricky… it might have to be a Bob Marley Compilation album. 

Are there any upcoming exciting events or collaborations you can share with us? 

I shall be performing at the London Jazz Festival with jazz legend Gary Bartz in the Royal Festival Hall on Nov 16th. 

I am currently working on my 4th album which is due to come out next year. All iI can say for now is that is a little different from my previous records so watch this space!  

Finally, if you weren’t a musician, what would you be? 

A teacher

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