Photo: Nomadic Madam

Sara Marie Barron explores the line between fantasy and reality in luxurious jazz-pop soundscapes on “Up All Night” (BPM Premiere)

Some things we can’t help but embrace – some innate talent that allows us to see ourselves in a different light, a way to step outside the noise of our lives to focus on what really matters. And for Michigan musician Sara Marie Barron, that thing has always been her voice. A thing of righteous inflection and emotive operatics, it has driven her to explore a vast array of influences and aesthetics, providing the entryway for her to dig into the heart of her inspirations.

Deftly blending the swoon of classic soul with the eclecticism of jazz and the riotous melodic hues of pop, Barron channels the likes of Nina Simone, Amy Winehouse, and Carole King, tying together a long history of music into a concise and mesmerizing cacophony of rhythmic melodrama and cross-genre dynamics. Her debut record, 2018’s Sad, But True, found her reaching deep into the caverns of her creativity to discover just who she was and what music meant to her. On her forthcoming sophomore album, Existential Glam (due out September 25), she continues to deconstruct themes of identity and consequence, while reveling within a realm of lustrous refinement and restoration.

On her new single, “Up All Night”, she evokes the soul-swamped sounds of Stevie Wonder and the neo-jazz melancholia of Norah Jones, finding a perfect balance between a well of emotional density and the lightness of her skewed R&B inclinations. Everything feels loose and limber, as if the song is going through a series of stretches before pouncing – and pounce it does, delving into some dark lyrical territory that exposes our tendencies to accept both fantasy and reality in our relationships depending on the circumstance. Directed by Miles Marie, the video features Barron romping through candy-coated rooms and dimly lit clubs, dancing and laying about while we try to maintain our own grip on what’s real and what isn’t.

“I wrote this song when I was trying to process some feelings of jealousy I was experiencing in a relationship,” she explains. “I don’t know if it’s because I’m a Scorpio or what, but my mind tends to go to the worst possible place when I’m experiencing uncertainty with a partner. This song was a way for me to play out the drama with myself and process my feelings so I could get to the bottom of why I was feeling that way before jumping to conclusions with someone who maybe didn’t deserve that.”

She continues: “On the surface level, it’s about feeling that your partner is being dishonest with you and not wanting to know because the fantasy is better than the reality of them being with someone else. On a deeper level, it’s a way of being honest with myself about my shortcomings and complicated emotions and finding a healthy way to process them.”