Quick Q and A with Sarah Blacker

Sarah Blacker is fast becoming one of the most in-demand Boston-based musicians. She’s appeared on so many stages of clubs, coffeehouses, and festivals that I’ve lost track.  She’s certainly making a musical name for herself which is evidenced by her recent nod as “Female Performer of the Year” at the New England Music Awards.   If you’ve never witnessed Sarah in action, you’re in for a real treat.  She’s got a wonderful way with words and music and plays a mean guitar (and uke).  A real winning personality as well!  She’s a definite star on the rise.

To find out more information about Sarah Blacker, check out her website.

Here’s a neat video about the making of Sarah’s latest recording.

Don’t miss this clever video for “Knocked the Winds.”

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Your latest recording, Precious Little Things, has been grabbing a great deal of attention.  The group dynamic is pretty noticeable to me—especially in “Plugging Away.”  There are some tasty licks and dynamic tension that I haven’t heard in a lot of your other songs. Would you say that this song and the others on the new EP are representative of what lies ahead for you?

I think that as a team, Sean McLaughlin (my producer & electric bassist) and I have come to a complete understanding of each other’s musical language. With this album, we really captured what I’d been envisioning all along but hadn’t known exactly how to convey in the studio. Sort of an edgy, acoustic based, adventurous sound with lush harmonies and lots of sonic layers. The players on the record and I also musically know each other well, since we’ve been a group for nearly 3 years, and are all really keen listeners. We chose to capture a timeless feel with classic instrumentation, but also to take some risks with recording technique which always intended to add to the song’s composition rather than distract from it.

I really like your explanation about the catalyst for your song “Perfectly Imperfect.”  Care to recap your thoughts about perfectionism?  

As a bit of a self-proclaimed perfectionist / workaholic, it’s hard for me not to have unreasonably high standards for myself, my art and my lifestyle. I sometimes have to remind myself, “you’re not superwoman, and it’s ok to fall horizontal and watch an SVU marathon from time to time.” Coming to terms with the fact that the imperfections allow for places “where the light gets in,” I’ve learned to accept myself and others as beautifully flawed, or in other words, “perfectly imperfect.” I grew up in a town of white picket fences and impeccably dressed peers, so I was always a bit of an outcast. Now, it’s these idiosyncratic ways and quirks that I celebrate and define who I am. A favorite quote of mine, “be the best version of yourself that you can.”

 You’ve had the great thrill to open up some shows for some pretty impressive artists lately.  Is this a fun way to expand your audience and make new “friends”?

 Absolutely! It’s very cool when I get to have a chance to relate to an artist who’s got decades of experience on my short, humble career. To hear their stories of the road, meet their family members, and connect to new audiences who are craving new music! It’s extra cool when you see those faces re-appear at one of your own headlining shows. I feel truly blessed!

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One blog cites that you like to eat well and cook healthy meals.  What’s your favorite meal to prepare?  

I’m a bit of a breakfast-o-holic.  I grew up with crumb cakes & doughnut-holes with milk each morning, so ever since I learned to cook an egg – I’ve been hooked! I don’t think either of my folks much liked pancakes, nor cooking them, (though my mom gets excited when I relate to her my morning adventures in pancake-land as of late) so I learned how to make pancakes about three weeks ago. I’ve had some incredibly successful attempts: (I’m gluten / lactose-intolerant) I combine pancake mix with coconut flour, almond, rice or coconut milk, an egg & just about anything I dream up, which makes for some interesting day-starters. My favorite to date has been fig, almond butter & banana infused pancakes. Yes please!

I’m also a big fan of the steamed kale, carrots, sweet potato with toasted almonds, quinoa. Super easy to make and makes a few meals for a busy-lady like me!

You’ve been a music therapist for some time now but doing less these days since your music performing life has picked up at a rapid pace. Can you tell us about your most memorable experience working with a client?

I’d have to say that they are too many to recall, but most recently, a 16-year old girl with Cerebral palsy who is nonverbal, and non-ambulatory had vocalized a short “eh” sound in one of my sessions during the three years I worked with her. In our last session together, she echoed my vocalization when I initiated a sound which sounded like her initial, “eh.” She vocalized back and forth with me 15 times during the song, and then smiled! I nearly fell over because not only did she not typically smile, but she typically avoided Music Therapy by sleeping / avoiding eye-contact. She and I had grown a rapport that took three years for her seemingly to trust me enough to share her voice. The staff and I celebrated her accomplishment for the rest of the day!

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