Fresh from a support slot opening up for Laura Marling at her two sold-out Roundhouse shows last month, Saint Clair is sharing a new single ‘Train’, produced by Ben Jones. Released
through her own imprint Dearly Beloved, the track will complete Saint Clair’s forthcoming debut EP release D1 (out May 5, 2017), which also includes 2016’s compelling early releases
‘Sailing’ and ‘Heavy On My Heart’, both produced by Ninja Tune’s Raffertie and Ben Jones, and with over 300,000 streams and counting.
Saint Clair - so-called after her mother’s Scottish ancestry - is the recording alias of French-speaking North Londoner, Emma Topolski. Having grown up surrounded by painters, actors, and journalists, Saint Clair became the first in her family to turn to music, pursuing a career trajectory that’s so far taken her on the road as a backing vocalist for long-time friend Marling (in whoseReversal Of The Muse project she also participated, alongside HAIM, Dolly Parton and Marika Hackman), and seen her play keyboards and sing BVs for Ghostpoet. She has also supported Bastille on their most recent arena tour, as singer and bassist in emerging, Radio 1-supported rockers Childcare. Elsewhere, a solo support slot in Moscow at the tail-end of 2016 saw Saint Clair play to a 9,000 capacity arena audience, whilst various song-writing credits for high profile artists have also regularly taken her out to L.A. for working stints.
Long before all this, Saint Clair began her musical life as a gigging jazz singer, as she puts it, “playing three or four times a week, getting ignored in the corner of a five-star hotel”. The experience now repays itself in Saint Clair’s easy integration of a love for old standards, soul (Stevie Wonder) and classic rock (The Beatles) with her affinity for the electronica-rooted modern soul of artists like Son Lux and James Blake. “I feel like at the heart of it, I’m a straightforward singer-songwriter” she explains. “The honesty of the lyrics found in jazz and delivered with such feeling by voices like Sarah Vaughn or Chet Baker taught me how to tell a story.” But with such an array of influences, typified by her extensive record collection (containing everything from Fleetwood Mac and Outkast to Thrice and Anderson .Paak), Saint Clair shows a strong tilt towards the more experimental underworlds of pop.
‘Train’ is suffused with the elements which draw many of these disparate musical touchstones together, in a manner which is entirely Saint Clair’s own. Built around the sampled sounds of trains journeying out of London Bridge station - captured from the nearby roof of Ben Jones’ Bermondsey studios - it’s yet another emphatic, emotionally-involving statement set to continue turning heads in Saint Clair’s direction.