Sarah Darling isn’t exactly a new name to the Country Music world, in fact she has been on the scene for quite a while now. Having previously released two albums, both on Black River Records, Sarah has built a large fan base and is respected and praised amongst the Country Music industry, one of whom being Brad Paisley who was her mentor on the tv show Rising Star. Despite being eliminated on the fourth week, Brad invited Sarah to perform with him at The Grand Ole Opry, giving Sarah an even larger fan base and further exposure to the industry.
Since Sarah’s last album, she parted ways with Black River and has released her current album Dream Country via independent label Be Darling Records.
Dream Country is a must-have in any music collection and can be purchased here:
In the last few years, Sarah has become quite a regular to the UK, playing headline shows, songwriters rounds and playing at C2C Festival. We couldn’t be happier to have Sarah coming back to visit us, she has become a fan favourite and we hope she visits us more often.
We (Hannah and Claire) caught up with Sarah at this years C2C Festival and had a wonderful chat out in the beautiful sunshine. Sarah was an absolute delight to speak to, so polite, genuine, down to earth and interesting. She also was quite possibly one of the best dressed artists all weekend. Claire and I LOVED her dresses.
We hope you enjoy our chat!
Hannah Compton and Claire – Louise Fallis
Hannah – Hello Sarah, welcome back to the UK.
Thank you so much.
Hannah – How does it feel to be back?
It feels so good, I love coming over to play shows in the UK – it’s just there’s something about the audience, I feel they connect with my music, which is wonderful.
Hannah – Definitely. All the artists seem to say the same – that we listen to the music, we take it in and we listen to every track. We are an appreciative audience.
Yeah, and I really get that. Today when I was playing, people were singing back the words to every song on the album, which is one of the greatest feelings in the world.
Hannah – Well, this album is like your baby really isn’t it? It’s the one that means the most to you?
She is my baby; it’s my heart and my soul and I put so much into this. I wrote seven of the ten tracks and co-produced it too. It’s everything I wanted to tell my fans. Always my best advice to any young artist is, just follow your own intuition and your gut instinct. I feel that this album, really it’s me – and my fans will get to know me more personally through the music, through the lyrics I have been writing.
Hannah – Because of all those reasons, did it make you nervous to put it out, or was it just excitement?
I think what I was most nervous about was that it’s very genre-crossing. I have one song on the album called You Take Me All The Way, which has this very jazz feel then, all of a sudden, it’s a little more Country with Where Cowboys Ride. It made me nervous that I experimented so much with strings and then see what everybody would think but, to be honest with you, it’s been amazing. The nicest things have been said about this album out of anything I have done which is, you know – you can’t ask for anything more.
Hannah – I actually read a few reviews after I did mine and noticed that so many of us described the album as cinematic.
It’s completely cinematic. It’s great that you bring that up because I think that for me, by adding in the strings, it makes you feel like you are in a movie.
Most people don’t know this story but I met my producer on the Opry stage. I said to my guitarist that I wanted a cello on the Opry, because I had never had that before, so my co-writer and guitarist, Cheyenne, brought in Larissa Maestro. That was the first time I had ever played with a cello; there was a deep connection musically with my voice and the strings, so I felt like that was me. There was an identity I hadn’t really discovered yet, so then I wanted everything to be filled with strings.
Hannah – It is like a movie soundtrack and, you know what? I want to see that movie.
You know, maybe I should write a movie around it?
Hannah – That would be awesome!
Maybe I should write a Dream Country movie.
Hannah – Yes! And then you can premiere it at C2C and do a Q and A.
Hannah – I think I should do that. Just put in small print, ‘an idea by Hannah’, haha.
Haha! Oh, of course.
Hannah – So what song for you, do you find the most emotional or fun to perform?
The most emotional one for me and the audience is usually Stargazer. That is such a sweet song; it’s really just written about when you get older, sometimes you don’t reach for your dreams as much as you used to. When you’re young you feel like you can do anything and just not be afraid to step out and shine. You know it’s true and everyone needs that reminder – and I always like finishing my set with that song.
Hannah – In the US, Country artists rely heavily on Country radio to be heard or known. The UK have very little Country radio, just one hour a week on mainstream radio and the others are all internet stations. How does it feel that your music, especially so early on in your career, has already reached international waters without the help of radio but purely, as it often is in the UK, by word of mouth amongst the fans.
It is mind blowing. For me, that is why I will always come here. I have a commitment to the UK now, because I feel loved and appreciated. I think in the US, they are so hungry for female Country artists, just anything that’s different you know? What’s wonderful is that there are outlets like Spotify where new artists can be discovered. But if you’re asking the truth, it’s frustrating that I can’t be played on Country radio right now because I am not on a major label.
But what is wonderful, I have some amazing partners in Nashville CMT and Spotify who are supporting all of my music so people will find it. Especially in the UK, it’s incredible.
Hannah – Make us your home away from home.
I will, I will be here.
Hannah – Are you going to catch any artists this weekend?
I am going to come back tomorrow as am playing here, then I am going to try and catch Beth Thornton. I love her she is really sweet.
Claire – You talked a lot about the UK and I would like to know has your marriage to an Englishman inspired you to listen to any British artists you may not have listened to before?
So, because I married a Brit, I actually became familiar with The Smiths, which is actually why I covered Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want on the album. He has also introduced me to Sigur Ros.
Hannah – Yes my husband is a huge fan.
Oh, my gosh! It’s such an interesting band. So I am introduced to music I never knew before and it is completely out of my realm of Country – but, I like mince pies now and fish and chips. I love afternoon tea. I could totally be English.
Hannah – Yes move here, make that movie, have afternoon tea every day!
Haha, yes! But if my husband loses that accent, he is toast!
Claire – So was it the accent that drew you to him?
I love to cook when I am at home, when I have an evening off – something like beef bourguignon, although I would mess up the kitchen. I like to travel so I am a big ‘let’s go somewhere we have never been before’ person and take photos – I love to take photos. Writing, I like writing. I am sort of a nature person, I love being outside, seeing the world.
Claire – You went on a show back in the US called Rising Star. Can you tell us a bit about your experience on the show?
Rising Star was an amazing experience. Reality shows are so strange because it’s not real life, even though they are called reality shows. All the contestants we were competing to be the winner of a show but, really when it comes down to it, we are all so different. I love that I got to work with Brad Paisley one on one, so I feel I came away from that show knowing what I wanted, I feel that it prepared me to make Dream Country because I just needed that push. There is something about live television that makes you feel like you’re being pushed into a situation. We had like a wall in front of us and if the audience didn’t like us they wouldn’t vote for you, so there was that pressure which was something I had never gone through before. But I was grateful for that experience, it made me a better performer, I think.
Claire – I guess it must have made you nervous, despite already having a fan base?
Oh, my gosh, yeah! It’s nerve wracking because there is a wall in front of you and usually I am looking at people’s eyes immediately, so I felt like I was being completely judged by looking at a wall. So, it was nerve wracking, but I lived in Hollywood for a few months, which was fun and was a neat experience.
Hannah – You are returning to us soon for a tour in May, is that right?
Yes, it’s called A Night In Nashville and it’s going to be really fun and unique. If you have ever heard of the Bluebird Café, we are bringing that concept to venues in the UK, with stories behind the songs. If you want to feel like you’re in the living room, having a glass of wine or a cup of coffee, then come along.
Thank you, great to meet you both.
Sarah is back in the UK in May for some special tour dates. Don’t miss it. Details here; https://www.sarahdarling.com/tour/