When Sarah Barrios won the New England Music Awards Best New Act in 2014, it was readily apparent to her fans in the New England region that the sheer raw talent of this singer, songwriter, and performer would one day reach a wider audience who would join them in appreciating her musical vision. Now, Sarah has joined Visionary and Arista Records and has released her debut single and music video “I Didn’t Mean To.” In this Winsted Phoenix exclusive interview we ask five questions of this extraordinary musical talent.
1) Sarah, you’ve been signed to a record label and are releasing a new single! When you were starting, performing locally, did you ever imagine this day would come and how does it feel now that it’s arrived?
I dreamt of this day coming for a very long time but I didn’t necessarily expect it to! Nothing in life is guaranteed, so I think I was just focused on working as hard as I possibly could, making music I believed in and hoping that it would all work out! I’ve just announced my signing to Visionary Records and Arista Records released a single and a music video. Needless to say, I’m feeling extremely grateful right now. I genuinely didn’t think anyone would listen to it, so the fact that so many people have expressed so much joy from it is so moving. A lot of incredible people worked hard to get this one out, so I’m just happy I get to share a piece of myself with the world.
2) What is one experience you’ve gained since starting your musical journey that most informs your creative process?
I think introspection and honesty have been the main themes for me in the creative process thus far. Looking inwards and talking about the things I try to avoid. I think, while it can be extremely difficult, it’s important to be honest with yourself so that you can have clarity in all things that you say and do. I tried to do that with these songs, both for myself and also in the hopes that maybe it helps someone else who’s felt the same way.
3) Tell us of the creation of your new song? How was it inspired/or you can talk about the technical aspects of creating it or the writing of it. Was there anyone who collaborated or helped with it?
I wrote, “I Didn’t Mean To” with my songwriting friends, Micah Premnath and Jorgen Odegard. I had spent most of the night before overthinking (as usual) a mistake I had made that ended up hurting someone I deeply cared for. I walked into the session the next day with 3 hours of sleep and a giant cup of coffee and poured all of my feelings out to the boys. From there, Micah and I just focused on trying to write the song like we were talking directly to this person so it was as honest as possible! I’m really happy with how it turned out.
4) How can music help us during these unusual and unsettling times?
Music has always been something that I turn to when things are rough. I don’t know what it is, but something about the right song when you’re feeling sad or scared or even happy, just makes everything feel okay. Music is a universal language, it brings people together, even when we must be apart. It helps us feel understood and heard, it is the light at the end of the tunnel and I think we as a people need that right now.
5) What advice do you have for a young person inspired by your work?
Be honest with yourself and never stop working hard. It sounds cliche, but the music industry can be tough sometimes. Lots of different personalities and opinions and that can make it hard for you to know what YOU want. So, I think its important to spend time with yourself and figure out what you want to accomplish. What does your music sound like, what do you believe in, what are your dreams and goals, etc. That way, you can collaborate and hear other opinions and not feel so overwhelmed by them! Also, hard work does pay off. Keep trying to learn more. Write more songs, try different genres, play a different instrument, work with others, etc. While staying in your comfort zone is a more appealing idea (trust me, I’m with you), it can be very limiting. Sometimes, stepping outside of it can open up a whole new world of things you might enjoy! And lastly, never, EVER stop dreaming.