Originally from Hemel Hempstead, Sara Cosgrove spent her childhood in Mozambique. Performing as Sara, she was a regular on stages across the region but has recently shifted to the new moniker, Low Girl. Her new single ICU is out now. New Boots spoke to her about the track and how growing up the African country has influenced her music.
Low Girl is a bit of new beginning for you, tell us a bit about the name change from Sara?
“I didn’t really put much thought into the name Sara and it soon became clear to me that I’d chosen an identity that was impossible to find. I’ve also found myself collaborating with Toby (on keys) a lot more, which made it feel weird having such a singular name. We settled on the name Low Girl because it still retained that female fronted identity and also referenced all the times me and my music have been called too sad.”
You new single is ICU, tell us a bit about it.
“I was in lockdown with my girlfriend’s family and her dad was really unwell. I knew something was up when he wasn’t downstairs in the living room making ‘dad jokes’ all the time. Steve was completely bedbound and the symptoms were getting so bad that it was decided he would get checked out at the hospital. When he got there, he collapsed, was taken inside, and we never saw him again. For weeks it became the new routine that we would all wait for the daily updates from the hospital. At first, we genuinely believed he would be okay and even when the news was getting worse and worse we kept talking about what we’d all do when he got out. I think the really difficult part for Steve’s family was that you don’t get to do the things you’re supposed to do – like sitting at their bedside and comforting them. There’s just no closure or room to process things. It still doesn’t feel real and writing this song was the only way for me to express all those unsaid feelings in the house. This pandemic has robbed a lot of people of their goodbyes, and this was my send off to honour Steve’s life.”
For anyone not familiar with your work as Sara or Low Girl, talks to us a bit about your sound?
“I think most of what I write is pretty melody driven above anything else. I started out quite folky but now I feel I’ve found my footing in alt-pop.”
What first got you into music and what would you say influences or inspires you as a musician?
“I taught myself to play the bass when I was 12 after becoming really obsessed with the Beatles. I mean really obsessed. Walking around school with John Lennon glasses, adorning multiple badges and carrying Beatles tote bag kind of obsessed. So, I think I need to acknowledge that they played a big role in encouraging me to start writing. However, as time went on I really branched out with what I was listening to. These days I’m really inspired by artists like Frank Ocean and Brockhampton – even if that’s not apparent in my own sound. As artists, they really push the boat out and never do the bare minimum production wise and I really admire that.”
There’s an EP on the horizon. When can we expect it and in these weird times, will you be considering some sort of online release show?
“It’s so nearly finished and all the little details I need to iron out are keeping me up at night! Every song on this EP was recorded with Faz from Damage Audio in Bedford. Everyone’s keen to drop it before the year is up but we’re also trying to be sensible about timing because of Covid-19. All in all, every song is meant to be unique and I feel it’s the best I have to offer. I think an online EP release show is a good shout – I might steal that idea. I seem to be more confident in front of a zoom screen than actual people so that could actually work in my favour.”
While we know you’re from Hemel Hempstead, you spent your childhood in Mozambique? How did that come around and what influence has this had on you as a musician?
“My parents wanted to volunteer in Mozambique, which was one of the poorest countries in the world at that time. As an 8-year-old, I saw this as a massive adventure. It was a real culture shock, and I quickly became aware of the fact that I was privileged. Towards the end of our time there, an arms depot started to self-destruct in the heat of the day. For hours, missiles rained down into the community and nearly 100 people were killed. I would say without a doubt this shaped the person I am today. As well as PTSD, I developed chronic OCD – which still persists 14 years later. The pain and loneliness I felt drove me to write music so that I could express all that inner turmoil. I still feel guilty that I survived when others didn’t and in a way I hope that I find some kind of purpose in music.”
We’ve seen you before sharing a stage for other musicians, when you can get back on a stage to perform live, what’s the plan with Low Girl?
“I’ve actually added another member to live performances, so now there will be four of us. I want to do these recordings justice so that means a bigger sound and a lot of rehearsals.”
ICU is out now via regular streaming platforms. For more information, visit http://lowgirl.co.uk/