Sarah Joyce (born 3 June 1979), better known by her stage name, Rumer, is a Pakistani-born British singer–songwriter.

Her stage name was inspired by the author Rumer Godden. Rumer’s voice has been described by The Guardian and many others as being reminiscent of Karen Carpenter. 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.

Early life

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, when her parents divorced and the family returned to England. Sarah attended Newman School in Carlisle until she was 16, then studied drama at Dartington College of Arts in Devon before moving to London. She tried her hand in bands and waitressing.

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

Musical career

Under the name of Sarah Prentice, Sarah sang with a moderately successful London-based folk/indie band called La Honda between 2000 and 2001. In 2004, she formed the band Rumer & The Denials and released an early version of “Come To Me High” on 7″ in 2007. Their MySpace page, now closed, included an acoustic recording of “Slow”, which was included on the compilation album A Very Magistery Valentine. 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.

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

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. 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. A limited edition 7 inch vinyl version was also released with a cover personally designed by Rumer. 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 and ended up winning Best Alternative Act. 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. 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.

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.

Television and radio appearances

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


  • 2011: Nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Breakthrough Act and Best British Female Solo Artist
  • 2011: Nominated for the UK Asian Music Award for Best Alternative Act and Best Newcomer
  • 2011: Won the UK Asian Music Award for Best Alternative Act
  • 2011: Nominated for the MOJO Award for Best Breakthrough Act, Best Album with “Seasons of my Soul” and Song of the Year with “Slow”
  • 2011: Won the MOJO Award for Best Breakthrough Act

External links

Artist information provided by WikiMedia

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