Of Irish and Samoan descent, Sharnar Salafai McGlinchey was born in Sydney and raised in NZ. Growing up listening to a wide variety of music has challenged Sharnar to define a sound of her own. Featured on NZ On Air‘s NewTracks compilation this May, her single Breathe On Your Own is a poppy alternative RnB introduction.
I just finished a project with Chores which is yet to be released. I have a few other collaborations coming as well. Those are yet to be announced though, this year has been crazy busy in the studio so super excited about the projects I have been working on.
It’s taken me such a long time to find my sound in between all the music that influenced me. I would say I want to produce RnB/pop alternative. I love artists like 6lack, Jhené Aiko, Jorja Smith, Kehlani, Rihanna & Banks. So I guess if you were to imagine them combined. That’s the sound I want to create.
As a project, this was the first song I directed visuals for, alongside Connor Pritchard being the talented videographer behind the lens. Putting together the video tied this project together for me. Working off no budget on this proved to me what I was capable of creating. The song is written about addiction as well – it’s a subject that can be so broad so the conversations I had in creating this were really special to me.
My friend William Henderson and I wrote this song. We started working on it in BigPop Studios. Then we finished the rest of the song at his home studio. The day we did final takes / mixing I brought my little brother with me. When we had finally finished, we all sat to listen to it through and I decided I wanted to re-record the whole thing. My brother and Wills were like “WHAT?!” but it ended up being totally worth it in the end.
When William and I started writing Breathe On Your Own we wanted it to portray the fact addiction is much broader than substance abuse. I wanted to touch on the experience I had very recently been through with my ex-partner. It was like a form of stress relief, an outlet or escape if you will, building this song so soon after everything. The song tells a story of a couple equally addicted to each other, a negative reliance on each other for happiness.
My favourite lyrical section is where I say, “Looking for a shortcut, look who drew the short straw. Where did my baby go? Tell me how to find you, tell you, you’re alive, you are still there somewhere.” These lyrics hold a specific memory / moment in my past relationship which is why it’s my favourite lyric.
Every week I make as many demos as I can. I lay down my own ideas at home over my own beats or write to a producers track (sometimes with, sometimes without the producer). At the end of the week I pick out my favourites and I play them to my family. Then send them to my friends and manager. From there if something catches I work on it more to make it a single. I will restructure it and rework the production. If everyone still vibes to it after hearing it 100 times then it’s single-worthy, haha!
I am working on a few collaborations at the moment, as well as my own project. I was planning on releasing an EP the beginning of this year. But then my life took a huge turn at the end of last year. I went through a lot and everything I had written felt so distant to who I am as a person now.
So I am working on new material at the moment. The project so far is much more vulnerable than anything I have written and released before. I feel like I have my own truths to be told, I want people to feel they can relate. I felt so alone through so many different stages of life and I don’t want others to feel like that. So I guess this project will be my way of saying, “You’re not alone.” Also, there are blessings in our misfortune.
I have applied for funding and playlisting countless times. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don’t and that’s okay. I don’t think that it’s any reflection on the quality of your work or you as a person. I think you have to have thick skin in our industry and if you really want to pursue a career in music you have to be persistent. Don’t give up when you hear ‘no’. I always say it’s always worth trying, the worst you can get is a no and when you get that no you can still try again.
So I made this video with Connor Pritchard. We met five days prior filming it at the Vice offices during a Raiza Biza shoot for Nike. It was shot on absolutely no budget and a whole heap of love. With this video, I really wanted to prove if you want to do something you can do it. You don’t necessarily need money to do things, you can be resourceful. At this point, I had been turned down for funding and didn’t want that to stop me. When you run into obstacles there is always a solution.
Connor Pritchard was my videographer and helped me by co-directing. Lincoln Van Vught the first model featured is also a singer. Robert Tennant the second model has just released an amazing book called ‘Come Back To Bed’ which I hugely admire him for writing. Then behind the scenes, I had Ruben Kruger an extremely talented make-up artist. I literally met him on the Inner link on the way to work haha. There was also Edana Richardson another make-up artist that I have known since kindergarten also helped me on set. The people I featured in the video are all creatives themselves so it was very easy to bring my vision to life.
I post updates across all media. My fave is Instagram though. I think it’s because its format is so visual.
Trust yourself, work hard, be yourself, use your voice, remember we’re human and flawed and that it’s completely all good that we are not perfect. Follow your passion through to the end.