Zara McFarlane

Jazz/Soul singer and Songwriter  


WM: Where do you draw inspiration from when you write songs, and what’s your favourite part about the process?


ZM: I draw inspiration from anything non-musical. For example; going to the theatre, to dance shows, musicals, museums, books, magazines, also conversations with just regular people inspire me. I can’t say I am a fan of 'the process', not when I much prefer having the finished result!  So, my favourite part of song is definitely having a complete song that expresses a particular emotion, that I am trying to convey, the more you feel for something often enough the better it sounds singing the thought . 

WM: The hardest part of being a musician?


ZM:The most difficult part of being an independent artist is juggling many hats, I.e. Band leader, manager, tour manager, make-up artist, singer, songwriter, arranger…etcetera…etcetera, however at the end of the day you can't beat doing a job that you love even in the difficult times.

WM: What are you future aspirations as an artist?


ZM: I hope to be able to continue having the opportunity to keep doing what I’m doing, gigging, travelling and expressing myself through music, its what I do best. 


WM: Ill be honest, despite your 2014 MOBO win Whispermaze hasn’t had the pleasure to listen to you intently the way we are now, and now that I have taken the time, and the pleasure doing so, I have no doubt that your naturally gifted voice is ultimately that special, and again we salute you, wth both hands. Thank you for your time.


ZM:Thanking you.




Zara McFarlane

Zara McFarlane is a British jazz/soul singer and songwriter, and before the rest of the latter, before Whispermaze embarked on such an interview the task in hand was to do some research on Zara, and without doubt, one of the most pleasant undertakings Whispermaze has done thus far in 2015.  Quite simply, Zara McFarlane is astonishingly talented, astoundingly inspiring, and generally her musical voice possessing verve of which will grab most attentions. Zara studied musical theatre at the BRIT School, then went on to the London College of Music to study Popular Music Performance, and completed a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.


Her debut album, Until Tomorrow, was released on Brownswood Recordings in 2011, Zara’s second album, If You Knew Her, was released in January 2014, both albums contain largely novel arrangements, and doing so Zara having had the opportunity to collaborate with Denys Baptiste, Orphy Robinson, Soweto Kinch and Jazz Jamaica, to name but a few.  Both albums demonstrate her silky, poetically forceful voice pushing you into the direction of serenade, effortlessly getting you there; the listener, to that point with a beautiful essence about her voice and presence, if  ever fortunate to witness her live; the musically inspiring point that has to salute Zara, with both hands. Of all the charismatic instruments on both her albums, in the studio or whether live, Zara’s voice is astonishingly distinctive, and conveys the music’s blend of romance, pain and tenderness poetically.


WM: Who was the person that influenced you the most, that got you excited about music?


ZM; That is a very hard question. I am not sure that there is a person as such, but music and dancing has always been an integral part of entertainment at family gatherings, and my family members are extremely expressive and entertaining as individuals, so, with that in mind I have to say that they have been a major influence on me and in turn my music. 

...I was trying to create a cohesive sound, one that used the same line up and the same instrumentation throughout. This time the focus is on the song writing, and the arrangements are tailor made to suit each song….If there is a unified, cohesive theme, it’s in the lyrics: the songs represent a journey through a woman’s life....