Rumer (musician)

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Rumer at Westonbirt Arboretum, 16 June 2017.jpg
Rumer performing at Westonbirt Arboretum in 2017
Background information
Birth nameSarah Joyce
Also known asSarah Prentice
Born (1979-06-03) 3 June 1979 (age 40)[1]
Tarbela Dam, Pakistan
GenresPop, easy listening, soul
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Years active2000–present
LabelsAtlantic Records, East West Records
Associated actsLa Honda, Stereo Venus[2]

Sarah Joyce (born 3 June 1979), better known by her stage name, Rumer, is a British singer–songwriter.[3] Her stage name was inspired by the author Rumer Godden.[4] Rumer's voice has been described by The Guardian and many others as being reminiscent of Karen Carpenter.[5] Supported by leading music industry figures including Burt Bacharach, Jools Holland and Elton John, Rumer was nominated for two Brit awards on 13 January 2011. She has performed at several festivals such as Glastonbury Festival.[6] Her latest album This Girl's In Love: A Bacharach and David Songbook was released in November 2016.[7]

Early life[edit]

Rumer, the seventh of eight children, was born in 1979 in Tarbela Dam, Pakistan. Rumer's family lived there from 1977–1984 while her British father was contracted as Chief Engineer of the Tarbela Dam Project,[8] funded by the World Bank.

Her parents split and her Streatham-born mother moved back to England with Rumer and her siblings.[9] Rumer moved to Carlisle aged 11 and attended Newman Catholic School, where she won the school's annual talent show in 1994.[10] Rumer became fascinated with the work of Judy Garland at a young age, and sought solace from difficulties at home and school by listening to artists such as Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell and Tracy Chapman. She was encouraged by her musical family, who all played instruments and played in their local Catholic church. This began her interest in becoming a performer.

Rumer later discovered her biological father was the family’s Pakistani cook, with whom her mother had had an affair when living in Pakistan.[4] While her mother was dying of breast cancer in 2001, she asked Rumer to make the journey to Pakistan to search for her real father, with her mother reportedly saying "I want to leave this planet with my house in order". She discovered on arriving he had only recently died in a freak accident.[11]

Rumer briefly attended the drama course at Dartington College of Arts, in Devon[12] before dropping out, moving to London at 18 and getting a job as a waitress.

Musical career[edit]

2001–2010: La Honda and Stereo Venus[edit]

Rumer in 2010

Under the name of Sarah Prentice, Sarah sang with a moderately successful London-based folk/indie band called La Honda between 2000 and 2001.[13] In 2004, she formed the band Rumer & The Denials and released an early version of "Come To Me High" on 7" in 2007.[14] Their MySpace page, now closed, included an acoustic recording of "Slow", which was included on the compilation album A Very Magistery Valentine.[15] A collection of material was recorded in 2008 with Rory Moore under the title of Stereo Venus. This was aimed at television and film and was originally distributed in Europe. An album was released in 2012 entitled Close To The Sun and the band played support for Saint Etienne. The material was also released under her real name, Sarah Joyce in South Korea in April 2010 as Coffee And Honey.[16]

2010–2011: Solo career as Rumer Seasons of My Soul and Rumer Sings Bacharach at Christmas[edit]

Rumer performing at Symphony Hall, Birmingham in 2011

Rumer's debut album Seasons of My Soul was released on 1 November 2010, produced by her mentor, British composer Steve Brown.[17] Her debut single, "Slow", was featured on Smooth FM, and the single "Aretha" on BBC Radio 2's Record of the Week feature, and she is signed to Atlantic Records. She supported Jools Holland on his UK tour in the Autumn of 2010 which included a performance at the Albert Hall in London.[18]

After Burt Bacharach invited Rumer to his California home to hear her sing, Atlantic Records released Rumer Sings Bacharach at Christmas on 13 December 2010. It featured "Some Lovers" from the musical Gift of the Magi by Bacharach and Steven Sater.[19][20] A limited edition 7-inch vinyl version was also released with a cover personally designed by Rumer.[21]

Rumer also contributed to a memorial concert to film composer, John Barry, which took place on 20 June 2011 at the Royal Albert Hall in London where the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Dame Shirley Bassey, David Arnold, Wynne Evans, trumpeter Derek Watkins and others performed Barry's music.[22][23][24] Rumer performed the John Barry/Hal David song "We Have All the Time in the World" accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Nicholas Dodd. She recorded the track "I Believe in You" for the end credits to Johnny English Reborn, released in October 2011. In January 2012 she started her first American tour in Los Angeles. A multi-national Facebook fan group, "Rumer Worldwide Fans", was founded by a fan in San Francisco on 25 January 2012.

2012: Boys Don’t Cry[edit]

Rumer's second album Boys Don't Cry was released on 28 May 2012. It contains a selection of songs by male artists and writers from the 70s and 80s period. Covers of songs by artists such as Todd Rundgren, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Neil Young and Terry Reid were chosen to mirror the solace and anguish Rumer experienced since achieving success and fame (BBC Music review).[25] The majority of Boys Don't Cry was recorded at the same time as, or before Seasons of My Soul, but two weeks before the deadline Rumer and Steve Brown irreparably fell out. Rumer sought urgent help to finish the record and enlisted family friend Jennie Muskett, a notable film and TV composer to step in and help realise her vision in Steve's absence. A lot of the music had to be re-recorded at RAK Studios with John Paraceli on guitar, Ian Thomas and Steve Pierce on drums and Dave Hartley on piano. Rumer's version of PF Sloan written by Jimmy Webb was released as a single, followed by a second single written by Hall and Oates, "Sara Smile". Rumer was interviewed on The Graham Norton show and performed PF Sloan, just previous to the release of Boys Don't Cry. She appeared on The Andrew Marr show with Jools Holland at the end of 2012 and performed with Jimmy Webb on CBS Second Cup Cafe in September 2013.[26]

2014: Into Colour[edit]

Rumer released her second album of all original material, and her third total studio album, Into Colour on 10 November 2014 in the UK, Ireland and Japan. The record was then released worldwide in early 2015 by Atlantic Records. The first song to be released from the album was "Dangerous", which takes Rumer in a more disco direction. The song was made available on her SoundCloud page in September 2014.[27]

2015: B Sides & Rarities and Love Is the Answer EP[edit]

In 2015, Rumer released a collection of unreleased tracks and B-sides from her back catalog entitled, B Sides & Rarities. The collection features collaborations with the likes of Dionne Warwick, Stephen Bishop and Michael Feinstein.[28]

2016: This Girl's in Love: A Bacharach and David Songbook[edit]

Rumer's fourth album, released under the East West Records label, features Rumer's take on select tracks from the songbook of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. It was released on 25 November 2016. Rumer remarked about how this album "was one she couldn't have made five years ago" and that how she felt that she had the right "emotional palette" to draw on the songs she recorded. It was produced by her husband and producer Rob Shirakbari at Capitol Studios in early 2016. Rumer also will play her first London gig in over 2 years at London's Cadogan Hall.[29]

She appears on Trevor Horn's Reimagines the Eighties, due February 2019.

Television and radio appearances[edit]

In September 2010, Rumer performed three songs on Later with Jools Holland.[9] She performed with British jazz singer Jamie Cullum in the 2010 Royal Variety Performance.[30] Also in 2010, Elton John invited Rumer to be his special guest at his BBC Electric Proms concert.[9]

On 9 May 2012, Rumer performed at the White House in a tribute concert honouring the songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, singing the Bacharach-David song "A House Is Not a Home". She also participated in the finale, "What the World Needs Now Is Love". The concert, Burt Bacharach & Hal David: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song In Performance at the White House, was broadcast on PBS on 21 May 2012.[31]

Personal life[edit]

In 2010, Rumer began a relationship with Sam Winwood, the son of English songwriter, former member of the Spencer Davis Group and record producer Muff Winwood.[12] The two separated the following year.[32]

Rumer began dating Rob Shirakbari Burt Bacharach's former musical director, whom she met after moving to Los Angeles following the release of Boys Don't Cry. The pair moved to Shirakbari's home state of Arkansas, and married there in 2015. In an interview she gave to The Independent, she said the pressures brought about by the music industry after releasing her debut album led her to being diagnosed with bipolar 2 disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. She also said in the same interview that she had a miscarriage.[33]


  • 2011: Nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Breakthrough Act and Best British Female Solo Artist[34]
  • 2011: Nominated for the UK Asian Music Award for Best Alternative Act and Best Newcomer[35]
  • 2011: Won the UK Asian Music Award for Best Alternative Act[36]
  • 2011: Nominated for the MOJO Award for Best Breakthrough Act, Best Album with "Seasons of my Soul" and Song of the Year with "Slow"[37]
  • 2011: Won the MOJO Award for Best Breakthrough Act[38]


Studio albums[edit]

Album Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales Certifications
(sales threshold)
Seasons of My Soul 3 35 6 11 34 7 6 10 2 13 15 46
  • UK: 529,238
Boys Don't Cry
  • Released: 28 May 2012
  • Label: Atlantic Records
  • Formats: CD, download
3 63 42 54 8 22 30
  • UK: 100,000+
Into Colour
  • Released: 10 November 2014
  • Label: Atlantic Records
  • Formats: CD, download
12 40 67 42 33 80
This Girl's in Love: A Bacharach and David Songbook[51]
  • Released: 25 November 2016
  • Label: East West, Warner
  • Formats: CD, vinyl, download
28 87 100 66

Extended plays[edit]

Album Title Album details Peak chart positions
Rumer Sings Bacharach at Christmas
  • Released: 10 December 2010
  • Label: Atlantic Records
  • Formats: CD, 7" vinyl, Digital download
iTunes Festival: London 2011
  • Released: 20 July 2011
  • Label: Warner Music
  • Formats: Digital download
Love Is the Answer
  • Released: 11 December 2015
  • Label: Night Owl Music Ltd
  • Formats: Digital download


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
2007 "Remember (Christmas)"[53] Non-album single
2010 "Slow" 16 58 41 33 61 Seasons of My Soul
"Aretha" 72 47
2011 "Am I Forgiven" 78 59
"I Believe In You"[54] N/A
"I Wanna Roo You"[55] 135
2012 "P.F. Sloan" 73 Boys Don't Cry
"Sara Smile" 97
2014 "Dangerous" Into Colour
"Reach Out"

Radio singles[edit]

Year Single Album
2011 "Goodbye Girl"[56] Seasons of My Soul
"Take Me As I Am"[57]


Year Song Reference
2010 "Slow" [58]
"Aretha" [59]
"Alfie" [60]
2011 "Slow" (International Version) [61]
"Am I Forgiven" (Directors Cut) [62]
"Am I Forgiven" [63]
"Goodbye Girl" [64]
"Slow" (US version) [65]
2012 "P.F. Sloan" [66]
"Sara Smile" [67]

Other appearances[edit]


  1. ^ "Twitter". Retrieved 3 June 2011.
  2. ^ Duda, Marty. "Rumer – Boys Don't Cry (Atlantic) / Stereo Venus – Close To The Sun (Sudden Hunger)". The 13th Floor. Archived from the original on 25 January 2016. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  3. ^ Jon O'Brien. "Rumer". Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  4. ^ a b Killian Fox (29 August 2010). "Rumer: 'If Burt Bacharach says you're good, it's time to start believing in yourself'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  5. ^ Paul Lester (21 July 2010). "Rumer (No 830)". The Guardian. London.
  6. ^ "Rumer scores two BRIT nominations". Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
  7. ^ "Rumer". Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b c Lester, Paul (2 November 2010). "Interview: Rumer, singer". The Scotsman. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Smyth, David (18 November 2011). "Rumer reveals the darker side of success". Evening Standard. ES London Limited. Archived from the original on 20 November 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  12. ^ a b Gordon, Jane (4 December 2010). "Rumer: Meet the rising singer-songwriter whose lyrics draw from her poignant life story". Mail Online. London. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
  13. ^ "I See Stars - Record Collector Magazine".
  14. ^ "London – Radio – Rumer And The Denials". BBC. 21 February 2008. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
  15. ^ "A Very Magistery Valentine: Various Artists: MP3 Downloads". Retrieved 30 April 2011.
  16. ^ "Coffee and Honey". 1 April 2010. Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
  17. ^ Design, Stephen Clark -. "Rumer: Careful whisper".
  18. ^ McClounie, Pam (24 September 2010). "Cumbria singer-songwriter Rumer sparkles with Jools Holland". Cumberland News. Archived from the original on 3 January 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  19. ^ Neil McCormick (4 August 2010). "New face: Rumer". London: Telegraph Media Group Limited.
  20. ^ "A holiday gift from Burt and Rumer". 21 December 2010. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  21. ^ "Rumer Sings Bacharach At Christmas". Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  22. ^ "Composer John Barry remembered at memorial concert". BBC. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2011.
  23. ^ Burlingame, Jon. "John Barry Dies at 77", Variety, 31 January 2011. WebCitation archive.
  24. ^ "Bond composer John Barry dies aged 77". BBC. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  25. ^ Lester, Paul. "BBC - Music - Review of Rumer - Boys Don't Cry".
  26. ^ "Second Cup Cafe: Jimmy Webb".
  27. ^ Listen to Rumer's new song Dangerous The Guardian. 22 September 2014.
  28. ^ [1] PopMatters. 10 June 2015.
  29. ^ "Rumer Announces London Show". Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  30. ^ "Kylie, Susan Boyle, Adele, Jamie Cullum, Rumer, Paloma Faith and Ray Davies join line-up for Royal Variety Performance 2010". BBC Press Release. 1 December 2010. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  31. ^ "Hal David, Burt Bacharach honored in D.C. with Gershwin Prize". 9 May 2012.
  32. ^ Corr, Alan (12 July 2011). "Rumer has it". RTÉ.ie. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
  33. ^ Rumer's New Album: Her debut caused her post-traumatic stress – how will she cope as she releases her third record? The Independent. 21 September 2014.
  34. ^ "Brit Awards 2011". Brit Awards.
  35. ^ "The Lebara Mobile UK Asian Music Awards 2011... and the nominees are..." 2 February 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
  36. ^ Jas Sembhi (10 March 2011). "2011 UK Asian Music Awards Winners". Retrieved 13 March 2011.
  37. ^ "MOJO Honours Awards 2011 Nominations List". Daily Telegraph. London. 1 July 2011.
  38. ^ "MOJO Awards 2011 Best Breakthrough Act". MOJO Magazine. Archived from the original on 8 October 2011.
  39. ^ "Australian Charts > Rumer".
  40. ^ a b "Belgium (Flanders) Charts > Rumer".
  41. ^ a b "Belgium (Wallonia) Charts > Rumer".
  42. ^ "French Charts > Rumer".
  43. ^ a b "Irish Charts > Rumer".
  44. ^ "Norwegian Charts > Rumer".
  45. ^ "New Zealand Charts > Rumer".
  46. ^ a b "Dutch Charts > Rumer".
  47. ^ "Swedish Charts > Rumer".
  48. ^ "Swiss Charts > Rumer".
  49. ^ a b "BPI Certified Awards". British Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original on 24 September 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
  50. ^ "The Irish Charts – All there is to know". 1 October 1962. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  51. ^ "Rumer Announces New Album". Rumer. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  52. ^ "IRMA - Irish Charts".
  53. ^ "CD Single: Rumer - Remember (Christmas) (Radio Edit) (2007)".
  54. ^ "I Believe In You" – via Amazon.
  55. ^ "I Wanna Roo You". 12 December 2011 – via Amazon.
  56. ^ "Partisan PR – Rumer releases 'Goodbye Girl', and sells out UK tour". Archived from the original on 12 November 2011.
  57. ^ "Gigs And Tours News".
  58. ^ "Rumer – 'Slow' – Music Video". YouTube. 28 July 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  59. ^ "Rumer – 'Aretha' – Music Video". YouTube. 6 October 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  60. ^ "Rumer – 'Alfie' (From 'Rumer Sings Bacharach at Christmas') – Music Video". YouTube. 23 November 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  61. ^ "Rumer – 'Slow' (International Version) – Music Video". YouTube. 8 February 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  62. ^ "Rumer – 'Am I Forgiven' (Directors Cut) – Music Video". YouTube. 10 February 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  63. ^ "Rumer – 'Am I Forgiven' – Music Video". YouTube. 11 February 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  64. ^ "Rumer – 'Goodbye Girl' – Music Video". YouTube. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  65. ^ "Rumer – 'Slow' (U.S. Version) – Music Video". YouTube. 16 September 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  66. ^ "Rumer – 'P.F. Sloan' – Music Video". YouTube. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  67. ^ "Rumer – 'Sara Smile' – Music Video". YouTube. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2012.

External links[edit]