Singer songwriters are two a penny around Manchester and it's easy to become cynical about another acoustic troubadour. Sara Lowes however proves the exception to the rule with a collection of polished commercial and heartfelt songs which she's recorded with the help of Elvis Costello and Sting's producer Gareth Cousins. With the music industry's inherent bias towards the male of the species a lot of female singer songwriters often go unnoticed, but you can add Sara Lowes' name to the likes of Beth Orton and Kathryn Williams. Lowes is going to go far and i'd put money on it that a Mercury Music Prize nomination is hers within 12 months.

Q: In The City is very much seen as artists big break. How does it feel to be playing here?
A: It's nice to be playing here. Like I said though I hadn't heard of it before we got asked to play here. But i've seen a few bands play at these venues so it will be nice for me to be the one that's having a few people coming down instead.

Q: The acoustic genre to extent is generally sidelined to about 5 acts in ITC. How do you feel about this?
A: Were a full band tonight with 5 of us so it's not all acoustic. But either way I think the songs could work as acoustic or with the full band. I enjoy playing in a band and that's what me, Bruce (manager) and Danny (co-songwriter) are constantly trying to do...just make it more like a band even though it's just my name.

Q: You've been songwriting for years. When did you decide to get the band together?
A: I started songwriting when I was 13 or 14 and they've bound to have been shit...I didn't play them to anyone else for that reason. But when I got to about 17 or 18 I started to feel they were kind of ok and all the guys in the band are very good friends of mine, i'd been watching them from when I was young, so basically it was moving from what I wrote to playing with them at the same time.

Q: How do you feel when people say you're the next Beth Orton or the next Kathryn Williams?
A: I've never listened to Beth Orton or Kathryn Williams in my life and I don't know what their music's like. But I know their names and I know they're out there and that people appreciate them. Music's just a personal taste kind of thing and if people enjoy what we do then that's great. Apart from Joni Mitchell i've always been influenced more by male singers and bands like The Beatles, The Stones and Buffalo Springfield.

Q: On the demo recordings you've been working with the Gareth Cousins who is famous for his work with Elvis Costello and Sting. Tell us more?
A: Gareth worked with Elvis Costello on the Notting Hill soundtrack and he's just a lovely guy. He's very sympathetic to the way that me & Danny originally demoed our songs. We work very well together and were going to complete the rest of the album in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully someone will like us to the point that they want to join in on what we've already got, but either way we'll carry on because that's what were doing and that's all we can do.

As a full band and with Bruce as our manager we've only been going since January this year and the reaction has just been amazing. All of a sudden it just took speed and started to roll.

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