Girl Like Me
Melding traditional jazz influences with pop and blues, folk storytelling, jive and subtle R&B beats, Sarah J Hyland brings a new twist to jazz music with her release of "A Girl Like Me". The album recounts Hyland's exploration of relationships and the ups and downs that stem from each experience, resulting in songs that take the listener on an emotional journey that ranges from despair to irony, frustration to piss-take silliness. "The album covers serious experiences, but does it in a very playful way musically," says Hyland, a native of Singleton, NSW, in Australia's Hunter Valley, who launched her professional career in Sydney and then broadened her repertoire in New York and London. "It's serious fun because I wanted it to be musically light-hearted, even though some of the topics were quite painful for me at the time. The songs cover difficult topics that anyone can relate to, especially love and loss, but there's always humour that comes out of the carnage." The 11-track album details the preludes and aftermaths of relationships, from the enjoyment and confusion of dealing with multiple suitors in "Let's Make Romance", to the deep desire and sexuality of "Mmm Hot". Hyland's self-penned lyrics are matched with the serious chops and composing skills of jazz guitarist David Longo. Together they have produced a collection of songs that blend honest lyrics with the sounds of a jazz quintet, including bassist Jonathan Brown, drummer Nic Cecire and keyboard virtuoso Gary Daley, who performs on piano, Rhodes, Hammond and accordion. Both Hyland and Longo have had diverse musical careers, performing a range of styles with numerous artists. "We've paid the bills by doing lots of different types of gigs for other people: from pop to rock and dance," says Hyland. "David and I have a strong love of jazz, but our commercial backgrounds give our jazz sound an extra dimension of colour." Hyland has sung with Vanessa Amarosi, Richard Clapton and Joe Camillieri, and performed at such notable venues as New York's Bitter End and at Sydney's The Basement and Wine Banq. Longo formerly played with the Australian Idol studio band for the show's first two seasons, recorded with Paulini for her debut album and performed with Doug Parkinson.