The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer


Sarah Kinsley Captivates Crowd in Williamsburg Show

The alt-pop artist closes out her year with two headline shows at Music Hall of Williamsburg
New York City’s alt-pop artist, Sarah Kinsley captivates the audience at Music Hall of Williamsburg with her dreamy instrumentals and alluring vocals.

Donning a long blue dress and an alluring aura, Sarah Kinsley reigned over the stage on the first of her two headline shows at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Nov. 13. Her passionate singing combined with the buzzing energy from the crowd brought for a captivating and impressive performance. 

Kinsley, a singer-songwriter based in New York City, first got her start in releasing music when she was featured on the song “Craving” with artist ford in 2018. As a student at Columbia University studying music, she posted videos of her singing and playing the piano and the guitar from her dorm room. In early 2019, she released her debut single, “Wine Stained Lips” and thus began building her discography. 

It was in 2021 — in her junior year at Columbia — that she found incredible success after her song, “The King,” the titular track off her EP, went viral on TikTok, where she now has over 614,000 followers on the social media platform. 

To promote the song, Kinsley described it as “what it sounds like to truly be alive.” Tens of thousands of people agreed with this sentiment, using the song to post their own inspiring and exhilarating moments and memories. “The King” became the cinematic soundtrack to being alive for many, and Kinsley began to establish her impact as an artist.   

She joyfully danced around during instrumental breaks — effortlessly shifting between the piano and the electric guitar, and charming the audience with her vocals.

Kinsley’s show at Williamsburg began with “Karma,” an upbeat track from her EP “The King” that had the audience engrossed in her presence. She continued with songs from her latest EP, “Ascension,” while also highlighting songs from previous releases. Fans were treated to a cover of “Take on Me” by a-ha, to which every single audience member sang along.

These two shows at Music Hall of Williamsburg were the last ones of what has been a busy 2023 for Kinsley. On top of releasing “Ascension,” she went on her own headline tour in June, opened for Weyes Blood and Gus Dapperton on their respective tours, and played at Governors Ball and Lollapalooza. Most recently, she announced she would be opening for Mitski’s tour in 2024, a notable moment in her career.

Her success is by means no accident. Kinsley’s music feels familiar at times, even for new listeners — her sound is reminiscent of Lorde; her vocals reminiscent of Lana Del Rey. Still, Kinsley is paving her own name for herself in the alt-pop music scene.

All of Kinsley’s songs are self-produced, which is no small feat. At the concert, fans got a glimpse into her raw song-making process as she recorded the audience singing one note, which she then combined with a beat using her grid controller. In just a few moments, that one note became a full sound that led into a song, mesmerizing the audience with her skills.

Her talent and passion for music production is one of the ways in which she has gone viral on TikTok. Coupling creative approaches to sound with intriguing uses of music technology, Kinsley aspires to rise as a female producer in a heavily male-dominated field, a sentiment she continuously expresses in her videos.

Fascinating music production is not the only element that draws fans to Kinsley; her heartfelt songwriting is another trait of her artistry. Her lyrics capture the essence of youth, experiences of heartbreak and longing, desires to feel liberated and so much more. During the concert, she described her songs as “sad and vulnerable,” but thanked fans for showing love toward her poetic expression of emotions.

Not only is she accomplished in her singing, songwriting and producing abilities, she is also a successful performer as well. At Music Hall of Williamsburg, the stage setup was simple, yet her performance show was anything but that. The dreamy instrumental sounds joined with her alluring vocals created an almost ethereal experience for fans. 

It is abundantly clear that Kinsley feels deeply connected to her music. As she sang, she displayed a passionate and whimsical performance while still engaging with the crowd and putting on an enthralling show. Her devotion to her craft reads transparently, and fans shared in this enthusiasm, even chanting for an encore after the show.

As she joyfully danced around during instrumental breaks — effortlessly shifting between the piano and the electric guitar, and charming the audience with her vocals — Kinsley showcased what she has to offer as an artist in the alt-pop scene and more. Beyond Music Hall of Williamsburg, she is ready to make her impact, forging her unique path of creativity.

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JOYCE KANG, Contributing Writer

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