Song Deconstructed: ‘Repeat’ by Sapphire
With vocoder vocals reminiscent of Daft Punk, we learn all about this catchy pop song for the overthinkers in life
Sapphire made her name by covering songs by the likes of Billie Eilish, Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift on her YouTube channel. Now it’s her own compositions that are deservedly gaining attention for the London-based pop artist. Her latest single Repeat is something of an anthem for the overthinkers that ripples with modern production, not least the Daft Punk-style robot vocals and a delicious bassline. Having been unable to shake the song from our heads since its release earlier this month, we asked Sapphire to tell us more about her glistening gem…
“This song was inspired by something I was going through which was causing me to be dishonest with myself about how I was feeling. It felt like I was going round and round in the same vicious and repetitive cycle – get hurt, tell myself that I’m okay, repeat. I kept trying to force myself to believe that things were completely fine when they really weren’t.
“A lot of the inspiration for this song came from my overthinking. I overthink EVERYTHING, and this just felt like a way of getting it out of my system. Overthinking feels like you’re going round and round in circles all the time – hence the lyrics, ‘I’m going round in circles in my mind’ – so to be able to create a song with a similar sensation was really interesting.
“I definitely think that writing this song was a way of proving to myself that I was actually very hurt and upset. Everything about this song came so naturally to me as if the truth had been waiting to see the light of day.”
“The lyrics start off by speaking about all the good things, viewing the situation through rose-tinted glasses. Then when the pre-chorus hits, it talks about blocking out everything that everyone else says – not listening to your friends or their perspective because you’re convincing yourself that things are okay (when they’re definitely not).
“In the second verse, I thought it would be interesting to start to realise what’s wrong with the situation and begin to see the bigger picture – begin to be honest with yourself. I usually find second verses really difficult to write as I always try to make sure it has a similar impact to the first verse, but these lyrics flowed for me which was really unusual.
“When it comes to the choruses, I really wanted them to feel repetitive, which is why the word ‘repeat’ is said so much, haha! The lyrics also say, “Going round in circles in my mind”, which was the line that inspired the whole song.”
“Originally, this song was a very sad piano record as that’s how I wrote it (all alone in my room one night, overthinking everything, haha). But then, the more I played it and listened back to it, the more I realised that it needed to be a full-blown funky pop song. I also love Daft Punk, so they definitely influenced a lot of the sounds and vibes.
“The ending is my favourite part of the song, to be honest. I really wanted it to give off a feeling of ‘freedom’. There are lots of vocoders, synths that circle your head, whistle tones, and inconsistent drums. It just feels right, and it feels like you’re breaking out of the repetitiveness.”
IN THE STUDIO
“I got to work with the amazing Roy Kerr on this record. He really brought all of my crazy ideas to life. We worked in the studio together for two days on this song, but it felt like it all came quite naturally.
“When I took the song to the studio, it was only half a song, it had no middle eight and no direction. All it had was two verses, two pre-choruses, and two choruses. I spent a lot of the first day in the studio trying to think of where the song was going to go, but nothing felt right, nothing quite fit. So I said to Roy, ‘Let’s go crazy!’ The moment we started creating that psychedelic ending, I knew that’s what the song needed – it was perfect.
“I pretty much only ate croissants and sushi for the entirety of my time at the studio for this track as it was still mid-lockdown. The poor delivery guy delivered a lot of oat caramel lattes over those few days, haha.”
“Repeat is a very special song to me. I got to really let go and be as creative as possible with it which I’m incredibly grateful for. I just really hope it’s a song that will inspire listeners to be honest with themselves about how they are actually feeling. It’s a song for standing outside in the pouring rain at night, screaming the words and feeling so free!”