On the fourth chord of I Sign I broke out in goosebumps. I don’t mean a couple sprang up along my arms, I mean shivering skin, all over my body. And that was before Zara Kershaw started singing, her voice all breathy and bluesy.
I Sign is definitely part blues, but it’s a lot more. I Sign is pop, it’s alternative, and there’s something about it that makes me think of Broadway at it’s best.
Maybe that’s singer songwriter Zara Kershaw’s musical training showing, or maybe the lush piano and string parts that come in around minute two are responsible for the big sound that says, concert hall.
Then the music starts to swing, to skip towards a section that serves as a bridge but also as the triumphant sounding climax of what is essentially a love story. Although I confess, I can’t figure out if this love is beginning or ending, I absolutely love the concept, “I Sign”, whether to begin, or end, a relationship portrayed in a three-minute song. Brilliant.
Zara Kershaw describes her songs as having “contrapuntal streams of enriched vocal harmony” and towards the end of I Sign I found myself choosing my favorite vocal line and singing along. After a while I created my own harmony and layered it on top.
When the song ended at just over three and a half minutes, I was surprised. It didn’t feel long enough. I wished for a second chorus before the swinging section, or repeated choruses at the end. But really, there’s no problem with I Sign, you must simply play it over and over.
Zara Kershaw is from the UK and I thought I might have heard the influences of Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel in her music, as well as a bit of raw energy that I consider more . . . American. That bit of edgy blues made me think of Melissa Etheridge, but just for a second. Singer songwriter Zara Kershaw is her own artist. If we’re lucky she’ll come over and play a few shows. If she does, you’ll hear about it on Sirenstories. Stay tuned.