Rumer (musician)

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Rumer Joyce.jpg
Background information
Birth name Sarah Joyce
Also known as Sarah Prentice
Born (1979-06-03) 3 June 1979 (age 36)[1]
Islamabad, Pakistan
Genres Pop
Easy listening
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 2000–present
Associated acts Burt Bacharach, Dionne Warwick, Stephen Bishop, Jools Holland, La Honda, Stereo Venus[2]

Sarah Joyce (born 3 June 1979), better known by her stage name, Rumer, is a Pakistani-born 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]

Early life[edit]

Rumer was born Sarah Joyce on 3 June 1979 in Islamabad, Pakistan, the youngest of seven children. Her mother's husband was a British engineer working on the Tarbela Dam project and the family lived in a self-contained expatriate community near Islamabad. Sarah's mother had a relationship with her cook, who was Pakistani and is Sarah's biological father. None of Sarah's six siblings knew she had a different father and she did not discover this until the age of 11,[4] when her parents divorced and the family returned to England.[7] Sarah attended Newman School in Carlisle until she was 16, then studied drama at Dartington College of Arts[8] in Devon before moving to London.[4] She tried her hand in bands and waitressing.[9]

When her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, Sarah moved to live in a caravan in the New Forest to be with her.[4] and started writing songs. Her mother died in 2003 and Sarah had a breakdown.[9] She joined a commune in the south of England for a year, then returned to London to pursue her music career.[7] She later travelled to Pakistan to seek her father, but learnt he had died some months before her visit.[10]

Musical career[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.[4] In 2004, she formed the band Rumer & The Denials and released an early version of "Come To Me High" on 7" in 2007.[11] Their MySpace page, now closed, included an acoustic recording of "Slow", which was included on the compilation album A Very Magistery Valentine.[12] 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.[13]

Rumer's debut album Seasons of My Soul was released on 1 November 2010, produced by her mentor, British composer Steve Brown.[14] 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.[15]

Burt Bacharach invited Rumer to his home in California so he could hear her sing and has since written a number of songs for her with lyricist Steven Sater.[16] On 13 December 2010, a Christmas EP Rumer Sings Bacharach at Christmas was released. It featured "Some Lovers" from the new musical by Bacharach and Sater, Gift of the Magi.[17] A limited edition 7 inch vinyl version was also released with a cover personally designed by Rumer.[18] Rumer also featured on the Boozoo Bajou album Grains, released on !K7 in 2009, performing vocals on the tracks "Same Sun", "Heavy On Me" and "Messenger".

In the 2011 UK Asian Music Awards, Rumer was nominated for Best Alternative Act and Best Newcomer[19] and ended up winning Best Alternative Act.[20] 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.[21][22][23] 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.

She released her second album Boys Don't Cry on 28 May 2012 which contains a selection of songs by artist/writers from the 1970s period.

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.[24]

In 2015, Rumer released a collection of unreleased tracks and b-sides from her back catalog entitled, "B Sides and Rarities". The collection features collaborations with the likes of Dionne Warwick, Stephen Bishop and Michael Feinstein.[25]

Television and radio appearances[edit]

Rumer performing at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, March 2011

In September 2010, Rumer performed three songs on Later with Jools Holland.[7] She performed with British jazz singer Jamie Cullum in the 2010 Royal Variety Performance.[26] Also in 2010, Elton John invited Rumer to be his special guest at his BBC Electric Proms concert.[7] At the end of 2010, Rumer performed the song "Aretha" on Jools Holland's Annual Hootenanny.

On 20 February 2011, Rumer sang "What the World Needs Now Is Love" on ITV1's Dancing on Ice, to which Torvill and Dean skated. On 29 January 2012, Rumer was featured on the US television program CBS Sunday Morning. Following the airing of this segment, her album reached the #1 spot on iTunes. She also appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, singing "Am I Forgiven?"

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.[27] In May 2012, she performed a selection of songs on Later... with Jools Holland.

On August 15, 2012, she performed on episode 57 of Live From Daryl's House with Daryl Hall of Hall and Oates.

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.[8] The two separated the following year.[28]

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 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 disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and ADHD. She also said in the same interview that she had a miscarriage.[29]

Rumer has an interest in musicals and the work of Judy Garland.[3]


  • 2011: Nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Breakthrough Act and Best British Female Solo Artist[30]
  • 2011: Nominated for the UK Asian Music Award for Best Alternative Act and Best Newcomer[19]
  • 2011: Won the UK Asian Music Award for Best Alternative Act[20]
  • 2011: Nominated for the MOJO Award for Best Breakthrough Act, Best Album with "Seasons of my Soul" and Song of the Year with "Slow"[31]
  • 2011: Won the MOJO Award for Best Breakthrough Act[32]


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
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

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)"[47] 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"[48] Non-album singles
"I Wanna Roo You"[49] 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"[50] Seasons of My Soul
"Take Me As I Am"[51]


Year Song Reference
2010 "Slow" [52]
"Aretha" [53]
"Alfie" [54]
2011 "Slow" (International Version) [55]
"Am I Forgiven" (Directors Cut) [56]
"Am I Forgiven" [57]
"Goodbye Girl" [58]
"Slow" (U.S. Version) [59]
2012 "P.F. Sloan" [60]
"Sara Smile" [61]


  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. Retrieved 2016-01-18. 
  3. ^ a b Jon O'Brien. "Rumer". Retrieved 3 December 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d e 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". Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c d Lester, Paul (2 November 2010). "Interview: Rumer, singer". The Scotsman. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ a b Reid, Graham. "Rumer Interviewed (2011): Thankful, and slowing it right down". Elsewhere. Retrieved 15 March 2011. 
  10. ^ Smyth, David (18 November 2011). "Rumer reveals the darker side of success". Evening Standard (ES London Limited). Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  11. ^ "London – Radio – Rumer And The Denials". BBC. 21 February 2008. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  12. ^ "A Very Magistery Valentine: Various Artists: MP3 Downloads". Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  13. ^ "Coffee and Honey". 1 April 2010. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  14. ^ Rumer interview by Pete Lewis, 'Blues & Soul' October 2010
  15. ^ McClounie, Pam (24 September 2010). "Cumbria singer-songwriter Rumer sparkles with Jools Holland". Cumberland News. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  16. ^ Neil McCormick (4 August 2010). "New face: Rumer". London: Telegraph Media Group Limited. 
  17. ^ "A holiday gift from Burt and Rumer". 21 December 2010. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  18. ^ "Rumer Sings Bacharach At Christmas". Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  19. ^ a b "The Lebara Mobile UK Asian Music Awards 2011... and the nominees are...". 2 February 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  20. ^ a b Jas Sembhi (10 March 2011). "2011 UK Asian Music Awards Winners". Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  21. ^ "Composer John Barry remembered at memorial concert". BBC. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  22. ^ Burlingame, Jon. "John Barry Dies at 77", Variety, 31 January 2011. WebCitation archive.
  23. ^ "Bond composer John Barry dies aged 77". BBC. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  24. ^ Listen to Rumer's new song Dangerous The Guardian. 22 September 2014.
  25. ^ [1] PopMatters. 10 June 2015.
  26. ^ "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. 
  27. ^ "Hal David, Burt Bacharach honored in D.C. with Gershwin Prize". 9 May 2012. 
  28. ^ Corr, Alan (12 July 2011). "Rumer has it". RTÉ.ie. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ "Brit Awards 2011". Brit Awards. 
  31. ^ "MOJO Honours Awards 2011 Nominations List". Daily Telegraph (London). 1 July 2011. 
  32. ^ "MOJO Awards 2011 Best Breakthrough Act". MOJO Magazine. 
  33. ^ a b c "UK Charts > Rumer". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 2013-01-19. 
  34. ^ "Australian Charts > Rumer". 
  35. ^ a b "Belgium (Flanders) Charts > Rumer". 
  36. ^ a b "Belgium (Wallonia) Charts > Rumer". 
  37. ^ "French Charts > Rumer". 
  38. ^ a b "Irish Charts > Rumer". 
  39. ^ "Norwegian Charts > Rumer". 
  40. ^ "New Zealand Charts > Rumer". 
  41. ^ a b "Dutch Charts > Rumer". 
  42. ^ "Swedish Charts > Rumer". 
  43. ^ "Swiss Charts > Rumer". 
  44. ^ "Beyoncé remains at top of album charts with narrow lead over Adele". Music Week. Retrieved 10 July 2011. 
  45. ^ a b "BPI Certified Awards". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 3 October 2009. 
  46. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". 1962-10-01. Retrieved 2013-04-05. 
  47. ^ [2]
  48. ^ I Believe In You: Rumer: MP3 Downloads
  49. ^ I Wanna Roo You: Rumer: Music
  50. ^ Partisan PR – Rumer releases ‘Goodbye Girl’, and sells out UK tour
  51. ^ Seetickets - Rumer announces tour!! - New Single - ‘Take Me As I Am’ - released July 5
  52. ^ "Rumer - 'Slow' - Music Video". YouTube. 28 July 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  53. ^ "Rumer - 'Aretha' - Music Video". YouTube. 6 October 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  54. ^ "Rumer - 'Alfie' (From 'Rumer Sings Bacharach at Christmas') - Music Video". YouTube. 23 November 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  55. ^ "Rumer - 'Slow' (International Version) - Music Video". YouTube. 8 February 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  56. ^ "Rumer - 'Am I Forgiven' (Directors Cut) - Music Video". YouTube. 10 February 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  57. ^ "Rumer - 'Am I Forgiven' - Music Video". YouTube. 11 February 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  58. ^ "Rumer - 'Goodbye Girl' - Music Video". YouTube. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  59. ^ "Rumer - 'Slow' (U.S. Version) - Music Video". YouTube. 16 September 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  60. ^ "Rumer - 'P.F. Sloan' - Music Video". YouTube. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  61. ^ "Rumer - 'Sara Smile' - Music Video". YouTube. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 

External links[edit]