Culture / Entertainment

Dallas’ Music Star is Growing Up — The New Sarah Jaffe’s a Hit, But She Still Knows How to Brood

BY // 07.31.17
photography Lindsey Byrnes

Singer, songwriter Sarah Jaffe released her long-awaited fourth full-length album, Bad Baby, earlier this summer. The record is a big change of pace from her last album, Don’t Disconnect, in 2014. The Dallas singer isn’t going in a different direction, though; she’s just moving forward.

“I think it’s just growing up, this is what I do full time now. If I’m lucky and I’m working at it then I’m getting better,” says Jaffe.  

Since releasing her debut EP in 2008, the 31-year-old has consistently surprised and impressed listeners with each new record. In less than a decade, Jaffe has toured with artists such as Norah Jones, appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and contributed vocals to an Eminem song.

Jaffe’s sound has evolved from acoustic to indie rock to electropop, all while keeping a brooding edge.

“I just have a grander vision for how I want things to sound,” she tells PaperCity.  “I don’t think it’s really different. I think sonically I just grow.”

Bad Baby has been largely regarded as Jaffe’s strongest work yet. The Red Oak, Texas native took a new approach to making the album. Stuck in a creative rut, Jaffe listened to a friend who told her to treat music like any other job.

“I started taking his advice and waking up everyday and getting dressed like I was going to work in a cubicle, and I’ve worked those jobs before and there’s something kind of nice about the routine,” she says.

The new, deliberate writing process was a revelation for the musician.

“I think structure is really important, especially if you are creating your own schedule, which I am,” Jaffe says. So it was really important and pivotal and sort of set the whole thing off.”

Jaffe says that working with Dallas producer S1 also pushed her forward. The Grammy-winning producer approached her to write for some hip-hop songs and the two continued to collaborate on other projects.

“We worked so well together that outside of writing for bigger artists, we started creating this archive for ourselves,” Jaffe says. “And it was at a time when I was only writing songs or my records and my projects, and I think it brought me back to the pure, fun of just writing songs. And I hadn’t felt that in a while.”

Sarah Jaffe considers herself first and foremost as a songwriter. She sees it as her biggest strength and always intended to write for other artists as well as herself.

“Writing songs is the most fulfilling feeling I’ve ever felt, and still to this day when I finish a song whether it’s for me or somebody else, it’s the best feeling,” she says. “It’s just a high. That absolutely leaked into my own stuff.

The musician has broken far out of the local music scene, but she plans to continue living in Dallas. At least for the time being.

“When you ask me that question in summer,” Jaffe laughs, “it feels like I’m living on the surface of the sun. Like do I want to stay in Texas? Hell no!”

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