Having received acclaim for previous singles ‘(I’m Just) Getting By‘ and ‘Settled (Here In My Heart)‘, Burnley artist Meg Grooters – aka Sprout – is now set to release their debut EP tomorrow, 15th June. Flowing with lilting melodies, honey-sweet vocals and an uplifting colourful allure, Sprout’s offerings ooze a subtle reflection on life’s anxieties with a soothing, jazz-infused musicality and soulful splendour.
We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of their debut EP, we caught up with Sprout to ask about their “Five Favourites” – five albums that have inspired them the most. Read about their choices below:
h hunt- playing piano for dad
I heard this album for the first time as I was graduating from university, but it only became a soundtrack of my everyday at the start of the pandemic in 2020. I played at least a song from it almost every day that year. I think back on when I’d be having my one cycle a day around the park nearby, not being sure if the world was going to make it, and somehow still feeling really comforted by this album. It really soothed my anxieties at the time and gave me a space to feel all of the contrasting, messy feelings that came with both the fear and stillness of the start of the pandemic. I love so much hearing his fingers hitting the keys, him talking to himself, or the pauses to figure out what he’s playing whilst he’s playing it. It’s so intimately recorded – it was done in one take, and originally made as a Christmas gift for his Dad. I really like how it highlights the things that would typically be viewed as ‘mistakes’ in music recording, and makes them earnest and heartfelt. This album really made me want to create music in that way too. I’m guessing it wasn’t intentional but I think it’s probably the most beautiful representation of uncertainty I’ve ever heard; and not to be too dramatic, but I love it to death.
Joni Mitchell- Blue
I mean, it’s a very famous album for a reason! Picking just one Joni album was a pain but it wasn’t really possible for me to talk about her and not talk about the first album to ever metaphorically tear my heart out of my chest and leave it on the floor. A lot of my favourite albums stem from the music my mum brought me up on and my memories of being a kid, and Joni is up there as being one of the most influential on my music making. When I was 16, my mum got all of her old vinyls down and gave me this album, along with a bunch of others (Kate Bush, Billie Holiday, loads of good ones, well done mum). I put this on first as I started to revise. I remember being alone in my room, putting the books down and listening to the whole thing back to back, just lying there. I don’t think I’d ever listened to lyrics so intently before and I still listen to it every break-up and have a cathartic weep. I love it more so for the fact that the first time I heard it was on the same record my mum had listened to it as a teen/twenty something too. That’s generational sad-medicine passed on! Joni is a master of poetry and beautiful singing and songwriting and this album depicts that entirely and that’s that really.
Eliza – A Real Romantic
I love this album so much – it’s so hot, and I feel like I heard this album for the first time and finally felt like an adult. When this album came out I couldn’t believed this was the same Eliza Doolittle pop queen from my high school years and that’s in part what I love about it so much. Hearing the transformation of who she was then when with a major label, to now – making these RnB smokey demos – is really cool and refreshing. It also lyrically comes with an ethos of re-invention, and self-invention, that I can really subscribe to. The songs are all dead groovy and the production is yummy and I just like singing along to it and having a solo bop in my room. It doesn’t feel like it’s trying too hard, it’s not trying to be something new for the sake of being something new, and instead is just really nice and easy to listen to. I love how spacious it feels as an album, and I love how it takes its time. It feels really focused on pleasure and love and escapism, and it makes me want to have a bubble bath and light lots of candles and order three desserts and wear lots of silk, and that’s fun!
Sidney Bechet – Les Années Bechet
When it comes down to it, I’m just a child from the ’90s heavily influenced and somewhat indoctrinated from the many problematic 2000s romantic movie tropes of love and coming of age. Put that on top of my passion for the golden era musicals, and at the core of me is a big cheeseball who wants to be a bit cringe and romanticise their life. So, if you’re gonna do it, I’d say do it to this album. It’s a timeless classic and has seen me through many a sombre night walking home, and many an introspective bus journey. Life looks a bit nicer when you’re listening to this album and listening to it is like having a warm, long-lasting hug for the ears. Aside from that, Sidney Bechet is an outrageously brilliant clarinettist and soprano sax player, and sometimes you just don’t need to look any further than the best work of the legends. I love music for the way it relates to memories and its ability to transport you to a different time and place in your life, and nothing sparks up nostalgia quite like this one. Even the smallest encounter with a stranger could feel romantic after listening to this, and why shouldn’t the mundane moments in life get to feel a bit more lovely too?
Harry Nilsson – The Point!
This album is an experience! So fun, full of wonder, and better listened to with the film (at least first time round). A friend at university showed this to me in my second year when I was having a particularly difficult day and I instantly fell in love with the story, the imagery and the music. It follows the story of a boy called Oblio, who is the only round-headed person in a village where everyone and everything must have a point. It’s all very cute and endearing and metaphorical, and the sort of thing I would’ve loved as a child and find myself recommending to people a lot. When I’m particularly low, I can put this on and things are always a bit lighter afterwards. The music and orchestration is really playful and bouncy and it reminds of all the wacky kids shows that were knocking around when I was younger. It’s simply adorable, with a beautiful tale of finding the acceptance of feeling and being different to others. Very tender.
Massive thanks to Sprout for sharing their Five Favourites with us! Listen to their latest single ‘Come Back (To What Can Be)’ below:
The debut self-titled EP from Sprout is set for release tomorrow, 15th June, via sevenfoursevensix.
Photo Credit: Marieke Macklon