Saree McIntosh dishes on K-Pop, family, and *everything* music
Saree McIntosh does it all— singing, songwriting, playing piano *and* guitar, and seriously impressive breakdancing. At only fifteen, she's already released tons of jams, like "Money on Your Deathbed" and "Color Outside The Lines," and, as of today, you can stream "Trust Me Baby" on Spotify. We sat down with Saree to get the scoop on each of her passions and learn more about her creative process.
Girls' Life: What inspired you to pursue music, especially singing and songwriting?
Saree: My Dad used to be a musician and he wrote songs, so I grew up in the process of him making music and I thought that was really cool. When I was younger, I would go in my room, write a song on the guitar, even though I couldn't play it, and just did it for fun! I really enjoyed singing and songwriting.
About two years ago, I was in a weird, awkward stage where I was very nit-picky with everything I did. I was self-conscious about singing, so I didn't sing for a full year. It was crazy to my parents because I went from [being] a happy and outgoing girl to super shy.
Then, I saw Queen and Freddie Mercury—I watched Bohemian Rhapsody and fell in love with the band and it really inspired me to start singing again and writing, too. Seeing Rami Malek in the movie and showing how [Freddie Mercury] wrote "Love of My Life" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" really inspired me. I started writing songs on my own and occasionally I would show them to my dad. There was one song I wrote, and when I showed it to him he was like, "This is really good! We should try to get this professionally recorded!" So we found a producer here in Vegas, his name is Tommy Marolda, and we started recording. It took off from there!
Girls' Life: Aside from Freddie Mercury and Queen, who are some of your other influences?
Saree: Queen is definitely number one for me. I've also gotten into K-Pop recently! My dad lived in Korea for two years, he sang in Korean and was on a few TV shows out there, and then I found this band called Stray Kids and thought they were really cool. That inspired me to start singing in Korean! It's very difficult, it's like the *complete* opposite of English, but also really fun!
Girls' Life: You sing, dance and play the piano, which is incredible. What is it that draws you to the performing arts again and again?
Saree: My mom used to be a professional dancer, so when I was young she would teach me little dance moves, and then she was the one who introduced me to break[dancing]. My family is a big inspiration to me because they are all involved in the arts, so that seed was planted in me from a young age and has grown from there!
Girls' Life: You worked with your brother, Taylor, on "Money on Your Deathbed." What things from that process are memorable to you?
Saree: I always wanted to do a song with my brother and that one happened to come together really nicely. We weren't sure if it was going to be a duet at first, it started off as his song, actually. We were in the studio, he was writing out the faster, more rap-ish singing part, and it was really cool to see how he wrote lyrics so quickly—he did it in ten minutes—and I was really impressed.
My brother has been writing songs a lot longer than I have and seeing how he can do it so well really inspires me. I look up to him a lot, so it was really nice to be able to be a part of his process. He didn't sing for a while, he just wrote songs, and I've been singing longer than him, so I could help him with the vocal part during the recording process. We bounced off each other and worked really well together!
Girls' Life: How did you know music was your passion and that you wanted it to be your career?
Saree: I knew when I was younger that I wanted to do it, but it was never set in stone. There was a specific moment though, where I realized I *loved* singing and performing. I was in first grade and had a crush on this boy at school. There was a talent show and I remember being like, "Hey, are you going to the talent show?" and he said "Yeah, maybe," and I was super excited, I was [thinking], "Oh my gosh, he is going to fall in love with me after he sees me singing on stage." He ended up not coming, but I got up there and started singing.
There's a feeling you get when you perform and I fell in love with that [feeling]. People were really complimentary afterward and were like, "Wow, that was really good!" and "You have a really nice voice!" I think that sparked, in my brain, "Maybe I could do this," and "That was really fun!" I've always had that in the back of my mind. Finally, when I turned 12, I started getting really serious about writing songs and felt really accomplished. I was like, "Oh yeah, this is what I want to do."
Girls' Life: You've done some acting in short films and on The Gifted, but what are *you* watching right now?
Saree: I just finished The Queen's Gambit; it was really good. I also love K-Dramas—I'm watching one called One Spring Night. Each episode is an hour long, so I'm not far into it, but I like that show.
Girls' Life: On August 3rd, you've got a single coming out. What can we expect?
Saree: Yes! That single is called "Trust Me Baby." It's about this girl realizing that the relationship she's in is all talk and no show. The dude she's dating promises to change and be better if she just trusts him, and it never happens. It shows the process of her realizing he's never going to follow through.
I love this song because I think it's the best chorus melody I've ever written. My dad helps me with a lot of my songs, and when I started writing this one it had a way longer title, like "Actions Speak Louder Than Words," or something. He looked at the lyrics and he was like, "You should call it 'Trust Me Baby. '" I've never dated anybody and, actually, I wrote it based on some of my dad's past relationships and stories he's told me. I love songwriting because it lets you live multiple lives in one, even if you haven't had those experiences.
Recording is always super fun. My producer is such a funny guy—it's more of a love/heartbreak song and he looked at me as was like, "Where are you getting all these emotions from?"
Girls' Life: Lastly, what's your advice for girls that are starting to discover who they are and their passions?
Saree: Be patient with yourself. That's something I really struggled with, constantly worrying about having to be a certain way or have reached a [specific] point by a specific age. Everything takes time and [things] will come when they're supposed to. Be kind to yourself, don't nit-pick everything and enjoy what you're doing. At the end of the day, you have one life. If what you're doing isn't making you happy, it's probably not very good for you. Have fun with everything you do.
Don't forget to stream "Trust Me Baby" now on Spotify!