Sarah O’Gorman

Arriving in Ireland after time in LA and Berlin, O’Gorman uses a guitar, a loop station and a voice to create a truly soulful sound.


Photographed for State's Faces by Olga Kuzmenko

When did you start making music?

I started making music as a kid, I played piano and was in the school band. Then I left it all - I went to college to study international politics and I worked with non-profits for a few years, and  then in the midst of this I felt an impulse to make music again and to combine the poetry I’d started writing by then with melodies and make songs.


Was the plan always to perform solo?

No, I think what I love about my journey with music is that it’s unplanned. I can just follow my instincts. Since my first instinct was songwriting and it started out a very solitary occupation for me, I naturally performed solo. But I played with a band this year, with Isra Castro and Eduardo Love, two amazing Brazilian musicians based in Dublin, and this was wonderful. I want to do it more. It brings new dimensions and energy to the songs to play with a band. And it’s just generally a good vibe working with musicians.


How is the soul scene in Ireland?

I feel like Ireland is an intrinsically soulful country, so whatever category of art - whether poetry or music or film, it’s often an expression of soul. Speaking more strictly in terms of songwriting genres, I find the singer songwriter scene is more folk orientated here so the soul of folk music is alive as ever I guess.


What was your best moment of 2017?

This would have to be playing the Carlow Arts Festival. It was my first hometown gig and the support was just amazing. Someone said to me it would be the hardest gig you ever play, the hometown audience, and afterward I realised it was equally rewarding.


“A lush, soulful voice…” (Elkin)