Our good friend Sarah Smith stopped by on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 to chat about music, education, and life in general. Never lacking in creative energy, we were happy to host Sarah in a “Little Office Concert” on our Box Office Stage in front of a dozen or so of her biggest Aeolian fans. Sarah took time out from rehearsing for a Songwriter’s Circle with Great Lake Swimmer’s Tony Dekker and Old East Villiage singer-songwriter Marty Kols – Thursday, May 24 on the Aeolian stage starting at 8:00 p.m. (doors open at 7:00 p.m.). The concert is in support of El Sistema Aeolian, a free afterschool music program for children and youth who otherwise would not have access to this level of music education.
For more information on the Songwriters Circle, go here.
To buy tickets, click here.
Check out our one on one with Sarah below… and watch the entire LIve on the Aeolian Box Office Stage concert, with special thanks to the cinematographer and Aeolian Artist in Residence Jason Plant. Check him out at: www.mcspiritstudios.ca.
AH: When and how did you know that music was going to be your career?
SS: I grew up in a small town, in a sheltered environment, on a farm, around hard-working blue-collar folk. I had absolutely NO CLUE that you could choose music as a career. Out of high school, I attended Royal Military College for my post-secondary education. It was there I’d had a Sergeant suggest that I follow through with music as my career. He had heard me playing in my room on one of our days off. I couldn’t believe what he was suggesting. “You mean, you can play music as a CAREER”, I asked. His answer changed my life. He clearly replied, “Yes..”
AH: Who are your music idols?
SS: I love artists who put their vulnerabilities into their songs. I respect hearts-wide-open artists. Artists unafraid to be exactly who they are, without compromise. Bonnie Raitt, Alanis Morissette, Melissa Etheridge, Bob Marley, Tom Petty, to name a few.
AH: You’re in the car flipping radio stations… a song comes out and without missing a beat you sing your heart out…. What song is it?
SS: I’m more into silence when I drive. Creativity comes to me in silence.
AH: You know about El Sistema Aeolian. Why is music education important for children and youth? What more can we do to ensure access?
SS: Music was such a huge outlet for me as a teenager. It helped me deal with the emotional growing pains of those years. It became my best friend, my therapist, my family and my home. It helped me feel like I was never alone. It gave me hope. It gave me worth. It gave me answers. It gave me confidence. It gave me a way to cope. It helped define me as a human being on this planet.
We need to be sure that whenever a child shows interest in music, we are there to help them explore this outlet.
AH: Your fan base is the dictionary definition of dedication. What does that mean to you? What advice do you have for younger musicians who want to cultivate that kind of loyalty?
SS: I believe a fan base is a direct result of how passionate the artist is of their relationship to their fan base. Having a fanbase doesn’t just happen overnight. For me, it has taken many years of getting to know every single person who has come out to my shows. I’ve taken time to learn their names, what makes them tick in their lives, and what it is they like about my music and coming to my shows. I feel blessed by each person who supports my career and I want my fans to know how very much my relationship with them means to me. Without listeners, there is no music.
AH: What is the biggest life lesson learned through a career in music?
SS: To be true to who I am. To be authentic. If you are hiding or living behind a mask, your art will eventually expose you. It feels amazing to stand on a stage and be exactly who I am. No more, no less. Just truth.
AH: You are not afraid to speak out for and record on topics that are meaningful. What give your life meaning?
SS: The “Inner Journey“. The mistakes, the lessons, the accomplishments, the passions, the failures and celebrations.
AH: I’ve got a golden ticket to perform in any city or concert hall in the world. Where does Sarah Smith cash it in… and why?
SS: No place on earth is more important to me than another.
AH: The music business can be surreal. What is your most memorable stage moment?
SS: Recently, singing “Wild Horses” on the Aeolian Hall stage with Chuck Leavell, the keyboardist for the Rolling Stones.
AH: The secret to life?
SS: Trust the ride.