We caught up with the voice behind our new Freeview Play TV ad, young singer and artist Sarah Kingsmill.
Embarking on a music career is notoriously difficult: countless hours of practice, audition after audition, and arduous recording sessions. Well, try juggling all that while studying for a Psychology degree. That’s just a day in the life of musician Sarah Kingsmill. The University of Sussex student has been widely praised for her stirring rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream”, which can be heard in the new Freeview ad. We chatted to Sarah about all things music and what really inspires her.
What do you think of the ad?
I love it. The animations in particular are just great – the animators did such a good job. I love the message of the ad too, it’s so clever and I love the twist at the end. The song is sad and to give it a happier spin, changing the last line, was brilliant.
You’re certainly getting a lot of praise on social media…
It’s really nice. Lots of people on Twitter have been full of praise for me. Many have been saying they love this version of the song. We made it more acoustic, it wasn’t like that before.
What got you into singing in the first place?
I’ve always listened to music, ever since a young age. At school I’d listen when doing my homework. And then when I was around 10, I somehow realised I could sing. I started singing lessons when I reached 11. My singing teacher had a recording studio in her home so we started doing covers. My teacher taught me lots of different singing techniques and it just kind of went from there.
Are there any songs in particular that really inspire you?
There’s lots of music out right now that I absolutely love, especially in the soul genre. If I was to pick a few songs I’d go for “Lost and Found” by Lianne La Havas, Sam Smith’s “Lay Me Down”, and then there’s an artist called JP Cooper. He is up and coming at the moment, he’s absolutely fantastic, his song “Colour Me in Gold” is brilliant.
How did you get involved in the Freeview ad?
Well, my singing teacher’s daughter runs her own recording group and Freeview contacted her to put some artists forward. Three girls, including me, were invited to audition for the vocals. I was absolutely terrified, I was the last to audition. The other girls were amazing. But I sang and they loved it. And a couple of months later, I went to record the song.
So how was the recording process?
I remember it taking place in the afternoon. The instrumentals were also recorded on the same day. We wanted to make the song more uplifting than other versions, especially towards the end of the track. The vocals were quite tricky at first. The song is so famous, it’s so sad and serious. Giving it a different spin was difficult and it took a few takes, but it didn’t take too long.
Has it been tough combining your music career with university?
The Freeview ad has been the first major thing that’s come along for me. With all this happening now and me trying to further my music career, it has been tricky. I want to prioritise music, but my psychology degree is also important to me.
And how have you set yourself free?
The way I’ve set myself free has been seizing this opportunity and letting go of all my nerves, doubts and worries. Like I said earlier, this is the first big thing that’s come my way. I used to sing covers in my bedroom when no one could hear. I’m really glad I did this ad.
Who is your favourite character in the ad?
Oh, it has to be the dog. I’m a massive fan of dogs. There’s just something about animals…
Listen to more songs by Sarah here.