Sara Barron has some real sad but true stories to populate her debut album, Sad, But True — including “That Man,” which is premiering exclusively below.
“It’s a lot of love songs — but not the happy kind,” the classically trained Detroit singer tells Billboard about the old school pop- and R&B-flavored tracks on the album, which comes out Aug. 3. “A lot of them are about breakups, kind of sad stuff. The title’s kind of a joke, but they’re all about the sad, heartbreaking part of my life, all bits and pieces of experiences over the past two or three years.”
Barron wrote “That Man,” whose accompany video depicts the singer in different stages of depression and despair, about a year ago as she was nearing the completion of the album. “It was kind of late add,” she says, “when I was going through a weird relationship. When I came outside of it I realized, ‘Oh, that wasn’t a very healthy thing,’ so that’s where the idea for the song came from. And I had a vision of having it feel really old school, really pretty but with some darker undertones. And I always wanted to have horns on it, so I brought a few of my friend into play on it and it all came to fruition.”
Barron says there are more songs like “That Man” on Sad, But True, “kind of that laid-back feel, pretty bluesy,” but with some uptempo songs as well. It’s a style that comes naturally to the 23-year-old, who began focusing on pop as a teenager, when she started writing songs and “didn’t want to sing opera anymore.”
“I have a hard time when people ask me what genre I am,” says Barron, who will preview Sad, But True‘s songs during a Detroit performance on July 14. “I don’t want to say singer-songwriter ’cause that makes me think of folk and I’m not folk. I’ve settled on a neo-soul type of vibe. It’s very soulful. I was really inspired by some of the older jazz and blues musicians like Etta James and Billie Holiday — and by more modern artists like Amy Winehouse. I’m really inspired by contemporary R&B, but I don’t think my music necessarily sounds like it. It’s there, but with my old school twist on it.”