Sarah grew up in Texas, and stayed in-state to study performing arts in college. Passionate about the theatre arts, Sarah was given the chance to study abroad. She jumped at the opportunity to go to London and see more diverse performance styles and venues. This would be her first experience traveling outside the United States and made a huge impression on her.
Just a month after graduation she moved herself from Texas to New York City (this was in 2004). She did this realizing that New York would be the most international city in the US. After working with various performers in NY she honed her interest onto singing and writing music rather than the more theatrical work that first attracted her. This shift in passion has stuck ever since.
I asked her if there was an early memory of experiencing performance or visual art that ignited her passion for creative work. Sarah recalled that her parents had made a point to give her many diverse experiences – be it sports, arts, or other activities. Without her parents pushing her in any one direction, the creative experiences always stuck with her most. On one occasion a theatrical group performed at her childhood school. The main performer was a woman who was missing an arm. Sarah remembered this fact about the woman but recalled that the her performance was of such a quality that the physical difference that was a new sight for Sarah was completely forgotten as the woman carried-on with her roll. The character’s identity was not tied to the presence or absence of a limb and it was not distracting or even noticeable during the performance. This power of the performer to enchant was what stuck with Sarah.
I first got to know Sarah because of our shared faith through a church that we both attend in Brooklyn. I asked her if/how her spirituality had any influence on her creative practice. Sarah stated that part of what was interesting to her about the Bible is the way it tells stories about the world creatively through a whole spectrum of emotion and literary device. She eloquently went on to relay a resonance between the range of human experience possible, the hues, range of emotion, and expression with those stories found on the pages of scripture. She doesn’t make a habit of using the mic to preach at her attentive crowd, but would make no mystery of her involvement with projects such as the Welcome Wagon or Bifrost Arts.
I consider Sarah to be successful among the performers with whom I am acquainted, so I asked Sarah to define for me what she considered to be the mark of success. “Being able to pay your bills” she said, and continued on to explain that being an artist and being able to make ends meet (particularly in an urban setting filled with creative professionals and hopefuls) is a huge accomplishment. She attributed this particular success in her life to having the fortune to perform with great people who ended up continuing to work with her or recommend her in an ongoing relationship. Beyond Sarah’s vocal talent she also is likable, and knows how to keep friends. Although the resources are not always there for some people, this relational correlation rang true for me as well.
So, what is next for Sarah? …Right now she is in a unique moment – She has just shot a pilot with the Gregory Brothers, and finished a recording in Charlottesville. It’s a moment of anticipation to see what may come of that creative work. In the meantime she continues to perform regularly at local venues. I hope you have the chance to see her soon – maybe even this week…?
*Many thanks to Sarah for your grace and for sharing your lovely voice so freely.