Sarah Grace: A Beautiful, Bluesy Soul
Progressive Man had the distinct pleasure of getting to know Sarah Grace, an emerging singer-songwriter and part-time collaborator of another Progressive Man artist, Will Risbourg of Will & the Won’ts. Ready to release her first album, “The Innocence of Us,” Sarah Grace talks about growing up all over Asia, her love of singing covers (and posting them on Youtube!), and how she came to be collaborating with Will & the Won’ts.
Hi Sarah! Great to get a chance to speak with you! Tell us a little about where you’re from and when you first decided you’d like to be a part of the music world.
Sarah: Thank you for having me! I spent the majority of my life growing up in Asia. Primarily Hong Kong for 8 years and prior to that I lived in Japan for 6 years but was born in London. Have I lost you yet? I first decided I wanted to be apart of music when I heard my dad belting out Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” and “New York, New York” in karaoke bars. A few years later I was given singing lessons as a Christmas present and got hooked.
That’s amazing. Do you think your growing up in Asia had any influence on your musical tastes and style?
Sarah: I think my parents were the primary influence on my music choices because they were always listening to The Supremes, Barry White and The Beatles! But having a ton of karaoke bars surrounding me definitely helped too!
What genre of music would you say you are and what made you want to go in that direction?
Sarah: I would say my genre is soul. I’ve always been attracted to this genre because it’s at the core of what every passionate artist has. “Maybe I’m Amazed” would be nothing without Paul McCartney’s deep emotional rawness that it brings.
What projects do you have lined up? Are you recording anything new right now or lining up show dates?
Sarah: I have been very busy this month-which I’m happy about! Just finished recording on Will and the Wont’s album and I’m expecting to release my first single in the next couple of weeks. Been having some great shows lately and some awesome audiences which makes a difference!
You have a number of covers up on Youtube right now, how do you decide on which songs to cover?
Sarah: My sister, Kate is a huge factor in what covers I choose. It’s her way or the highway!
Any songs you especially love to sing?
Sarah: Any Beatles song gives my set a lift. It changes the whole dynamic of the evening. Everyone in my band and in the audience loves rocking out to ‘Oh Darling’ or ‘Come Together.’
Are there any particular themes you try to stick to when writing music and lyrics?
Sarah: When I first started writing I went to the immediate heartbreak story but I found listening to my friends stories and experiences gave me more to write about! One of my originals, “Spirit” can be taken any which way but it was actually based off a dream that my friend had that inspired me! It motivates me that we can all relate to each other in some way and that songs can bring us to some connective point!
How has the music creation process been going? Have you been working with anyone else?
Sarah: Music creation is a process! That’s what I’ve learnt. I take advantage of co-writing whenever I can and take inspiration as it comes!
You’ve done some work with another one of the people we’ve interviewed, Will from Will and the Won’ts, how did you guys first start working together?
Sarah: We both went to the same music school but truthfully it all started out because I went to a ton of their shows. They were the one band that I consistently went to see. I was and still am a huge fan of their music. They bring something different to this industry, which I believe is truly rare. Long story short I made it very clear that I would love to be a part of their journey and we quickly became friends!
Who are some of your own musical inspirations? Is there anyone you try to model yourself after?
Sarah: I am inspired by Aretha Franklin, The Black Keys, James Brown, Eva Cassidy, The Beatles, Adele, Pink and John Legend. I try to not hold myself down to a particular person to model after but…being Aretha Franklin for a day would be awesome!
Where can people go to find your music?
Sarah: You can find my music at www.SarahGraceTunes.com