Sinéad Harnett

Selected by: Rahel Aklilu

Name: Sinéad Harnett

Where She’s From: Finchley, North London

Genre: R&B

When She Started: 2011

Sounds Like: “In-your-feels, soulful, sombre love songs” that flit between R&B and neo-soul—sounds she grew up on—but more importantly, Sinéad’s definition of her sound reflects her own journey of exploring and loving herself, a consequence of wearing her heart on her sleeve.

First Music That Inspired Her: “Big ballads and big records”, from Elton John to Erykah Badu, and the lasting impact of artists like Lauryn Hill and Amy Winehouse are plain to see throughout her discography.

As homegrown R&B enjoys mainstream and cultural attention at last, it’s Sinéad Harnett and her contemporaries such as Mahalia, Samm Henshaw and Jorja Smith at the forefront of the renaissance. Having written music since the age of 7, before being discovered by Wiley at age 20, it comes as no surprise that the first song she ever made from scratch was with hit-making duo Disclosure: after being introduced by Wiley, she featured on their 2012 single, “Boiling”—a house track infused with garage—which lit up the radio airwaves and put Harnett in great stead for a solo career.

By lending her sultry riffs and runs to tracks with the likes of house producer Sonny Fodera, big-room four-piece Rudimental and D&B legend Shy FX over the years, the half-Thai, half-Irish singer-songwriter—who just released her sophomore album, Ready Is Always Too Late, via her own label Thairish—has demonstrated her versatility many times over. But this confidence to experiment didn’t come easily for Harnett. The journey of self-discovery brought with it a clear sense of identity and, in turn, a solid songwriting style.

“In the beginning, I had no idea who I was as a person—let alone as an artist—and I couldn’t hide struggling to find confidence,” she tells TRENCH. “As I got to grips with this industry and became an artist, I think the essence of who I am got stronger.” Her latest offering, Ready Is Always Too Late, is a soulful showing of an artist who’s not only found her sound, but has honed and nurtured it. With features from the likes of Atlanta hip-hop duo EARTHGANG and Louisiana native Lucky Daye, this album reflects the determination of a musician who, she says, “is ready for some visibility to show the world what I’m really all about.”

TRENCH Highlight...

Posted on May 26, 2021