I’m fairly certain Sarah Kang appeared through Spotify’s “Fans Also Like” while I was looking for more artists to follow. She’s had a lot of singles the past couple years, but I had to start with One, released in 2019. As a singer-songwriter within jazz mixed with R&B, she’s playing with a specific set of attributes.
One could have gone deep within one genre or another, but it’s a refreshing release. The six songs are solid, well-paced, and highlight Sarah’s ability to use melodies across the vocals, keyboards, and other supporting instrumentals.
“A Thousand Eyes” starts out a bit hipster with its simple guitar strumming, low key record needle on vinyl sample, and vocal effects. But once the song opens up into a broader and more showtune-esque indie pop audioscape, the song finds its stride. I like how she uses layered vocals to add more dimension rather than artificially boost the vocals. The scatting makes the song even lighter and it’s possible to see this as a music video with dancing in the background while walking down the street.
You get the first introduction to the R&B style on “Typical.” The song title also accurately describes the song arrangement. It’s not an original song arrangement and follows closely to the swaying verse to repeating chorus lines. But I feel like that’s the point. Sarah Kang is making her R&B track and pulls from influence and experience to craft the track. “Typical” is a solid song and produced very well. You can easily enjoy it and get drawn into the warm melodies.
“White Shoes (Interlude)” is more impressive than “Typical” because it feels a bit more free. “One” carries the same name as the EP and probably is the highlight. It’s taking a lot of genre influences. It has indie ballad aspects, Disney OST feels, R&B melodic lines, and jazz sections. The simple nature of “One” is welcoming. Even the lounge-style presentation with the jazz brushes and upright bass tones brings a different emotion. You’d hear this song in a jazz club with sitting cigarette smoke while drinking something strong. You really don’t hear this type of production that often and it could sound stereotypical, but it’s a great production.
Sarah Kang uses piano again but adds Korean vocals along with English. Slow Korean ballads extend syllables where “Moon and Away” sounds like a jazz club-light track. This is a song you’d hear the opener play rather than the headliner. “Moon and Away” has a lighter impact compared to “One” but also washes away from the of the weight of the previous track. Then to close One, “Home” is a light indie pop track kind of like “A Thousand Eyes.” It’s got a heavy bass line, but overall the song feels like something you’d hear for the spring.
One presents a couple of different versions of Sarah Kang. The good thing is that they’re all solid and the songwriting is excellent. She offers a good amount of sides over six songs and to use One as your first introduction will leave a favorable impression. I haven’t listened to her more recent singles, but I’m curious to see if she experimented or went deeper into this combination style.