Sharl’s debut album ‘City Lights’ is a dreamy, melancholic pop record full of self-reflection

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Sharl’s debut album ‘City Lights’ is a dreamy, melancholic pop record full of self-reflection

Enchanting, intimate, and sincere, Sharl’s debut album is a passionate pop affair ripe with love, loss and heartbreak.

Wearing her heart on her sleeve and spilling her soul into every song, Melbourne-based singer-songwriter Sharl has delivered her debut album City Lights, a beautifully, dreamy pop-fuelled journey of love and life.

Arriving in late August, just weeks after the release of her collaborative single ‘Darker Than Midnight’ with producer Daniel Bohen, City Lights is a soundtrack to the ups and downs of this rollercoaster we call life.

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Hailing from the sleepy parts of the UK where she spent her teenage years playing music, writing songs and studying to become a doctor, the Asian-Australian songwriter made the move to Australia. Using music as not only a form of therapy but also as an alternative lens through which to experience, process and understand her world, the part-time musician and full-time doctor embrace authenticity in songs, which for her has often meant being light and fun, while telling a meaningful story.

Spanning from classic ballads to a vintage disco throwback to the heights of hyper-pop and trap beats, City Lights is a warm, wondrous and dazzling 10-track collection of songs laced with melancholy.

Born in the throes of Melbourne’s lockdowns, City Lights documents Sharl’s coming-of-age journey through the peaks and troughs, drawing parallels between her previous record label setbacks and her experiences in dating dynamics.

While carrying the unconcealed weight of experiencing loss, the release is a beautifully intimate and dreamy experience from end to end – not to mention an exceptional and accessible debut album from one of Melbourne’s brightest sparks of musical light. Sharl expertly conveys a wealth of raw emotion and vulnerable sentiments through captivating, effervescent melodies, and the songwriter’s stunning golden vocal performances.

“I started writing the songs for this album when I had so much time and mental space for introspection during the lockdowns in Melbourne. In a way it was therapeutic, just doing what I enjoy most at home,” Sharl explains.

“There’s a diverse range of stories and sounds on the album, which I feel is symbolic of myself as a person and artist in that I’m always evolving in my thoughts and style. Through writing it, I realised I had found my true voice as an artist and am inspired with an ongoing creative vision that I want to share with the world.”

Across the 10 tracks, Sharl’s heartfelt and soulful vocals soar, drawing you deep inside her world with lush, layered melodies. From ‘I Fell In Love’, which tells a tale of resilience and growth through the hardship of experiencing the bad side of love, the 90s indie and 00s pop rock-infused ‘3 Words’ and the electropop bop in ‘Games’, to the lush and tender heartbreak anthem ‘Lonely’, Sharl paints an honest portrait of her experiences of vulnerability, loss, personal growth, connection, and love.

An undeniable take on pop, the closing track and title song ‘City Lights’ is laced with lush soundscapes, intricate sonics and serene vocals, a reflection on life just after moving to Melbourne. Capturing the loneliness felt when settling into the new city environment, Sharl’s soft-spoken vocals lure us in while the ambient noise recordings from the CBD are innovatively clever in bringing the delicate narrative further to life. This song proves a fitting end to the overall album, with the city lockdowns and distant lights being a catalyst for Sharl to deep dive into her passion for writing and recording original songs with new energy and evolution.

It’s in these moments, these tracks, that Sharl radiates sheer, raw talent.

Having already released a string of singles this year alone, City Lights is an ethereal indulgence and fine official introduction to Sharl’s creative mind. Previously signed to a UK record label, 2022 sees Sharl re-emerge as an independent artist, now taking an intimate and honest approach to her craft.

Growing into this creative freedom, the new chapter has allowed the artist to stand out from the crowd on her stirring debut album, creating musical magic through deeply vulnerable moments of reflection, reckoning, connection, and wonder.

Listen to City Lights here.