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Sarah Jaffe: The Path from “Clementine” to “Lover Girl”

sarah jaffe

Sarah Jaffe in the KXT studio. Credit: Dane Walters


Sarah Jaffe got her start strumming and singing in the clubs of Denton and Deep Ellum. Her third album, “Don’t Disconnect,” was released Tuesday and fans from the old days may not recognize her. The 28-year-old embraces a lush electronic dance sound. She and her band stopped by KXT yesterday for a powerful in-studio performance. (We’ll post the video soon!) Afterward, I chatted with her about the switch-up.

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New video from Sarah Jaffe

On the path from “Clementine” to “Lover Girl”….  To me it’s just been a natural progression. I can look at it from an aerial view and see there’s some obvious differences: there’s more instrumentation, it’s a little bit more lush. But lyrics for me have always been very important, the centerfold for each song. And although writing can be more difficult than it used to be, because, I’ll just say it, it’s not new anymore – I used to write three songs a week when I was younger. That doesn’t happen for me anymore I would love it if it did, but it just doesn’t. I think I approach things differently, maybe from a musical standpoint. I just flat-out didn’t want to make the same record again.

Writing in Marfa: I just liked the idea of the bare bones of Marfa, Texas. I rented a house for a couple weeks, and it wasn’t easy. I thought I’d go out there and it would just all of a sudden be like a waterfall of ideas and of course it didn’t work that way. And that’s where I realized where I am now, it takes not just me, by myself, thinking too much.  It takes someone else’s creative energy, or a group of people, for me to get inspired again. As soon as I went into the studio, it was instantaneous.

On the influence of Marfa’s wide-open spaces: Three-fourths of “Slow Pour” was written in Marfa. The house I was staying in had the most amazing acoustics I’ve ever been in. It was just beautiful. I remember first starting to write that song, and that house just allowed the song…I needed to hear it sound good for me to get inspired. And it sounded great. I’m almost certain the setting played a huge role in that.

On contributing to Eminem’s “Bad Guy”..It all came about because producer S1, who also lives in Dallas, I met him through working with the Canabanoids, Erykah Badu’s band. And he messaged me on Twitter a couple years ago, just a quick message, hey Sarah, would you be interested in writing some hooks for me. And I of course immediately replied, absolutely. And the first track he sent me, I was like, Oh my God this is going to be amazing. And then two days before Eminem’s record came out,  a picture of the back of his record came out on Twitter. I saw “Bad Guy” was song No. 1. and I was like “What?!” That’s insane.  So we celebrated, but also, neither one of us heard the song until it came out. Which is crazy.

On family history at the Majestic: My grandmother went on her very first date with my grandfather. In the ’40s, my grandaddy asked her out and they walked over to see a movie at the Majestic. It’s going to be really special because my grandmother’s going to be there Saturday.


Way back in 2009, Sarah was the first to perform in KXT’s studio, launching the “Live Sessions” series.

She also sang in an Austin hotel room for an episode of  KXT and Art&Seek’s “On the Road” series. 

And here she is performing perhaps her most popular tune, “Clementine,” at the Wyly Theater.

Look for new KXT “Live Sessions” video of Sarah and her band soon!