Spotlight Interview With Sarah Rae
Sarah Rae just dropped a new single release and it's tastefully indie-pop as vocals float around the songs ether and a rhythmically enticing rock undertone peeks it;s head through while it all paints with a wonderful set of textures.
"Poison Ivey" has an incredibly cinematic vibe to it and there is a power behind it that seems almost inspiring at times.
The single boasts an emotional drive and a set of lively instrumentation that breeds a deepening and dream-esque pop vibe and the whole thing seems to breathe with life.
"Poison Ivy" is like stepping into a fantasy world and when you get there you don't want to leave as sounds swim around you and become infectious.
The track is absolutely beautiful and was woven with a gracefulness few have.
Rae's vocals are distanced and that ambience becomes a forefront delight that you find yourself wanting more of even after the song has ended.
With such a gorgeous single release, we wanted to have a talk with Sarah Rae to find out exactly where this all comes from and where it may be going.
Here is what happened.
RAG: Okay Sarah, let's start with "Poison Ivy". This track has a personal and
almost ethereal pop feel to it. Where did this song come from?
SARAH: Well, not long before the pandemic I went through a lot of dark, personal times
that lead to a lot of life changing decisions. I saw a lot of things
differently using the pandemic as a self-work time period, and the
includes the idea of what love is. I wrote the song in E-minor
originally as a sad song about friendships falling through. As I was
writing it, I met someone who fit perfectly in to the mold of what I
could see my new idea of love was. Honest, exciting, confusing, scary,
beautiful. The world sees love as this linear idea, and society tells us
that it is supposed to be perfect. That you should fit together like
puzzle pieces. I believe love is defined as, “I love you despite,” and
not, “I love you because.” That’s what lead me to change the direction
of the song, and write a C-major harmony over the E-minor guitar
picking. The sound of love, I call it.
RAG: I'm hearing several styles incorporated on this song. Who are your
biggest actual musical influences?
SARAH: It’s funny because I love female fronted bands like The Regrettes, The Ting Tings, some more mainstream like The Veronicas, Paris, Churches, but over the pandemic I found a lot of influences from singers like Angel Olsen, and Mitski.
RAG: So, how did all of this start for you?
SARAH: Music was my first love. It started when I was 8, and my heavily Christian family pushed me to be in the church choir. A lot of things didn’t make sense to me about my
family’s religion, but music immediately made sense. Singing made sense.
I view myself as a vocalist before anything else, and I was immediately
in love. It’s the most vulnerable person on the stage, in my opinion,
the one who literally uses what the universe provided to them to express
emotion through song. I chased after music all the way through college,
going through various genres in theatre, show choir, dance choir, and
finally ending up singing opera while attending Kennesaw State. I came
to a “halt” with music after a lot of personal trauma pushed me away
from it, and started a career in beauty after graduating college, and
deciding not to use my degree, and I focused on that for 8 and a half
years. The pandemic occurred, and I no longer had an outlet to support
my friends, and experience live music as a way to get away from work.
So, I turned back to my composition keyboard during lock down. One thing
lead to another, and by the end of the year Bentley Records found me
through Instagram hashtags, and the rest is what’s happened over the
last six months. The pandemic brought a lot of dark, but with that came
a lot of new, exciting light.
RAG: How does songwriting work for you? Do you work with producers for the
tracks or do you produce them yourself as well?
SARAH: I write the music myself, and the post production has been going through me, and my label masters my music. I always start with chords, because the chords came
from a feeling. It’s a bit odd to explain out loud, but when I experience
a person, or a situation, there’s always this array of chords that
flutter through my head that are correlated to the situation, and after
I lay it down on a keyboard, it goes from there.
RAG: What do you think is next for you as an artist?
SARAH: My next goal is to focus heavily on live performance, and mastering that as Sarah Rae. My first post-pandemic live gig is in August at Smithe’s Olde Bar on the 21st! I
see myself next year preparing to tour. That’s my goal for 2022.
RAG: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?
SARAH: I Batman as a salon owner! I run my own business called Tea Time Beauty Salon, and that mostly has been my bill payer. It’s another way, to me, to spread good
energy, and create things that legitimately has the power to create
happiness. I also run a comedy film night, and actively participate in
the improv comedy scene here in Atlanta!
RAG: Who are you listening to right now?
SARAH: I’m not at all shy to admit that I love show music. I’ve been listening to a lot of Evan Hansen soundtrack music, and I adore it, but a few indie artists I’ve found recently that
I adore are The Japanese House, and Frankie Cosmos. Of course I always
stick to my punk days, and incorporate a lot of Bauhaus, Deerhunter, and
RAG: Now that things are getting better out there, will you be planning any
SARAH: Yes! My next live performance will be August 21st at
Smithe’s Olde Bar in Atlanta! I’m hoping to secure a few through the
end of the year!
RAG: You've got over 8k followers on Spotify alone! What sort of advice would
you have for up and coming artists out there?
SARAH: Well, I definitely still consider myself up and coming. Music as a professional career is still a learning process for me, and I suppose the major thing I think a lot of people aren’t aware of is the amount of research that goes in to getting seen. These days it’s all about the play listing, and write-ups by bloggers, and zines. It’s what you put in to it, and it’s key to make
spreadsheets, keep contact names, and always follow up. If you want to be seen, you have to show the people who can get you seen that you deserve to be. What you put in to the universe is what you will receive, and no, it will not happen over night!
RAG: Okay so you wake up in the middle of the night starving! What's your
go-to midnight snack? (a question of character here)
SARAH: Honestly? Eggs. I love omelets, I love scrambled eggs, chicks in a basket. You name it. I love it. I really just love breakfast food in general, but being
someone who loves to cook I never really crave your typically
easy-to-make midnight snack. Maybe some raisin toast from the Majestic!
RAG: Before we go, is there anything you'd like to say to fans of the
SARAH: I truly am grateful for everyone who has been enjoying what I put
out. Creation, and art to me is a practice of vulnerability, and I only
ever seek to incite reactions to my art that makes people feel things.
That’s why I put so many dissonance harmonies, and suspended harmonies
in to my compositions. I truly love creating emotions that inspire
others, and I’m excited for what the future has between my fans and I.