Discovery: The Sparrow

Brooding, with poetic lyrics and a deeply romantic sensibility, The Sparrow—which consists of singer/songwriter/visual artist Mina Karimi, her semi-rotating cast of musically inclined friends, and her guitar player/producer Masaya Ozaki—shot their latest video, for “The Fight,” atop a roof near Karimi’s South Williamsburg loft. We’re pleased to premiere the video here, and on Labor Day, The Sparrow will play The Living Room on Manhattan’s Lower East Side as a three-piece. This time, Karimi is on vocals and rhythm guitar, Ozaki takes on lead guitar and Adam Kriney, who, with The Sparrow, is venturing from his comfort zone in the psychedelic rock scene, is set to play drums.

Admittedly, Karimi has a fuller, more commercially appealing sound when she plays with a group, but that’s not to discount her abilities as a solo artist. Her presence, even when she’s not singing, is arresting. You can’t help but wait to see what she’ll do next —and given her proclivity for riffing and improvising heartfelt, lyrical verses while onstage, you never quite know what it’ll be.


NEIGHBORHOOD: South Williamsburg, Brooklyn

HOMETOWN: Alexandria, Virginia

EDUCATION: Parsons, University of Virginia

GOING SOLO: I honestly really enjoy playing by myself because I get to follow my impulses on stage and be really spontaneous and improvise. If I should have a band, or if the venue wants me to have more members on stage, then I will bring Masaya on board, but if he can’t play I don’t really push the matter. I’ll just do it myself. I’m just kind of indifferent to the external circumstances.

INFLUENCES: My biggest musical influences, hands down, are Leonard Cohen and, strangely enough, Madonna. Not so much for her style, but for her pioneering female [presence] in culture, being so open about her own life to the public and her personal life and understanding her songwriting and her sexuality through songwriting. And Leonard Cohen just as a poet and as an entity, just wow. I think I have some more subconscious influences as well, just growing up in the ’90s listening to rock stations. Nirvana and a lot of Velvet Underground just sort of got into my mind, to be a very simple songwriter.

ON PAINTING: Painting, I’ve always done… My visual art was always a quiet place for me, a place for me to escape. And now I find that I tend to go to my art studio when I’m kind of out of words. And then I create something and I don’t even understand it. I feel revived by it.

FINDING HERSELF: I followed an impulse invitation from a friend in Spain and I went and lived pretty much in isolation in southern Spain for a few months, learning the guitar and learning things from this mentor I have down there. I went hiking every day, writing songs.

WHO’S THE GUY IN THE VIDEO?: He’s my friend of nine years and creative supporter [named Lucy]. [He] also goes by the name Smokey, but is actually named Tim, I think. He was this mysterious loner that was always walking around barefoot. I have a thing for anyone who’s going to the beat of their own drum, and I wanted to get to know him. He was two years younger than me at the University of Virginia, so I didn’t take the relationship that seriously. I was already, in my head, on to the next stage of my life, but he kind of stayed in my phone book for some reason and after five, six years I discovered his name in my phone and called it and he answered like it was yesterday. He’s so soft-spoken and mumbles in a way that’s completely indifferent to whether you hear him or understand what he says. So selfless. Now he’s in Alaska.