Sarah Gillespie was born in London to an American mother and British father. She grew up in Norfolk, England – interspersed with numerous trips to Minnesota, where she soaked in the sounds of Bessie Smith, Bob Dylan, Cole Porter and early blues and jazz. From the age of 4, Sarah composed songs on piano, and then at 15 began playing guitar. At 18, she moved to the USA, busking in the streets and playing gigs.
On returning to London, she gained a first class degree in Film And Literature and an MA in Politics and Philosophy from Goldsmiths University. Supporting Ian Dury’s band The Blockheads at Ronnie Scotts one night, Sarah met the saxophonist and composer Gilad Atzmon who went on to produce Sarah’s critically acclaimed albums Stalking Juliet (2009) In The Current Climate (2011) Glory Days (2013) and her anti-war narrative suite The War on Trevor (2012). Sarah has since performed live on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, been interviewed by Andrew Marr on Start The Week as well as receiving radio play on BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3 and numerous radio stations world wide. She has performed in many festivals, arts centres and jazz venues in Europe and across the UK including headline shows at the world famous Ronnie Scott’s in London.
Her music is a fusion of jazz, folk and blues knitted together by poetic, streetwise lyricism. The Guardian’s jazz critique John Fordham describes Gillespie as ‘(joining) Bob Dylan’s lyrical bite and languid delivery to the forthrightness of Joni Mitchell, with a little rap-like percussiveness thrown in, she is an original.” Sarah’s band features Enzo Zirilli on drums and Ben Bastin on double bass with special guests Gilad Atzmon and Mercury nominated pianist Kit Downes joining on recent concerts.
Sarah also writes political papers published on various news websites, paints, performs poetry and hosts songwriting workshops. She lives in London.