Interview With Sarah Jones
Social media is a really great way to find new bands or artists, especially ones you never knew you’d find otherwise. Sometimes, I’ll come across artists and bands on my Facebook feed, as a “suggested page” or a sponsored ad. Earlier this year, I came across band Of Us Giants and their debut LP, Nova Scotia. Sadly, the band broke up a few months ago, but Nova Scotia is still a record I really enjoy. Just recently, I came across North Carolina country-pop/alt-folk artist Sarah Jones on a suggested page on my Facebook feed. I decided to look on her page and listen to her music. I listened to a couple tracks, and decided to order a copy of her debut LP, Music to My Dreams. I plan on reviewing the record, but before I did, I really wanted to interview her and just ask her a handful of questions about it. I sent her a handful of questions that I wrote specifically for her, and here’s what she had to say:
Question #1: For starters, tell me your name and what you play, please. Just so the folks reading this know who you are, even though I already do.
My name is Sarah, and I mostly play guitar, but I also play mandolin and ukulele, and sometimes piano.
Question #2: I read on your Facebook that you’re 22 years old, and that makes me quite happy, because you’re just a year older than myself. Even though you’re still rather young, how did you get involved with music? What made you want to pick up a guitar and sing?
I actually just turned 23 in August! I loved music as a child - I grew up listening to my parents’ favorite albums from the 60s and 70s - and I sang in the school chorus and church choir. I also loved poetry - English was my favorite subject in school and I loved to write poems in my free time. But it wasn’t until I was 16, when I picked up a guitar and started to teach myself how to play, that I started writing songs and taking songwriting and singing seriously. My dad had just bought a new acoustic guitar, and I decided I wanted to learn how to play. At the time, I was really inspired by Taylor Swift, because I thought it was so cool that she played her own instrument and wrote her own songs.
Question #3: How would you describe the sound of your music? I would say it’s a mix between country, pop, and folk. Would you agree?
I definitely agree - I usually describe it as folk-pop. My main musical influences come from the country, pop, folk, and rock genres, so I like to think that my music is a blend of it all.
Question #4: You told me the other day that you appreciate me supporting unsigned music, but do you see yourself being signed to a label at some point? Honestly, I could see you fit in with artists like Jana Kramer, Kacey Musgraves, Dan + Shay, and artists like that, all of whom I do enjoy.
Being an independent/unsigned artist is great because it allows you the freedom to do exactly what you want to do, and go in the direction you want to go with your music and style and sound. But I think it would be a really great opportunity to be signed to a label. It certainly allows for a different journey and lends itself towards bigger projects, which I couldn’t do on my own.
Question #5: Being an unsigned artist, do you have any advice for any other artists who want to have a “DIY (do it yourself)” attitude when it comes to their music and/or releasing it?
Figure out your sound and follow your heart. Trust yourself. You have the reins, so create what you want to create, and don’t hold back. Also, find people who believe in your music just as much as you do. I was lucky enough to find a producer who had a vision for my songs and wanted to bring them to life in the most honest, organic way possible. So he found the right people to work with and it helped so much to have such a passionate, talented team in my corner when recording this album.
Question #6: Switching gears a bit, when writing and recording debut LP, Music to My Dreams, did you have any specific influences, whether it was musically, or just things going on in your life? If so, what were they?
One of my biggest influences while recording this album was country music and folk music - I love how most country/folk songs have such a passionate, emotional delivery of honest, heartfelt lyrics, and I wanted that to come through on this album. That kind of honesty and storytelling has always influenced my songwriting, as well.
Question #7? How long did it take to write the album? As I listen to it, it does feel like you put an awful amount of effort into it, and it was totally worth it.
I wrote all of the songs on the album during my time in college, so the writing process happened over the course of those four years. I wrote a lot of songs in college, and not all of them were good, but these were the ones that I was the most attached to - ones that meant the most to me personally, ones that I poured my heart into. I am always writing, so when I found out I had an opportunity to record an album, I didn’t write any new songs specifically for the album; I just reflected on songs I had written in the past few years and picked the ones that I felt were my best musically, and also that best represented me as a person and an artist.
Question #8: In terms of lyrics on this LP, there’s a lot of variety on what you write about. To follow up my last question, is this a personal record for you? This isn’t another question, but I love the chorus in “Timing” where you say that the guy you were with will be wearing a tux and bow tie, because I wear bow ties a lot during the fall/spring. It’s the first time I heard bow ties mentioned in a song.
Thanks! Yes, this is definitely a personal record for me. I write about anything and everything that I see, hear, feel, believe, read about, imagine, etc. A lot of the songs were written about things I had gone through, from romantic relationships to platonic ones - ranging from missing someone to being glad they’re gone. But I also wrote about things my friends had gone through and things that I had read in novels. Some stories just tug at me emotionally, and when I can connect, I try to tell those stories through music.
Question #9: What do you hope people take from Music to Your Dreams? Whether it’s an idea, inspiration, or just a good, catchy record? What do you hope people feel or think when they listen to it?
I just hope that Music to My Dreams is a record that people can enjoy and listen to in their car and sing along to. I also hope it makes them feel something, and makes them think of someone, or takes them to a specific place in time. I think music is such a beautiful thing, in the way that we can all relate through stories and feelings told in songs. So I guess I just hope that people can relate to and enjoy the music!
Question 10.) For my last question, do you have anything that you want to say to your fans, or anyone just coming across this interview for the first time? I’ll leave it completely open to you, so you can say whatever you want.
Well, firstly, I’d like to thank you for reviewing my album and doing this interview with me. To any fans out there, thank you so much for all of the support and love you guys have shown me. It means the world to have you all on my side. And to anyone new - hey there! If you like what you hear, I’d love for you come join me on this journey :)
Sarah Jones’ debut LP, Music to My Dreams, is out now, and I’d recommend giving it a listen if you enjoy country, pop, and/or folk music. It’s a great record, and easily has become one of my favorites this year. I’ll leave a few of her links below, so you can check her out on many different social media sties, including her own personal website:
Sarah Jones – Music to My Dreams
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: April 2 2014
For the last few years, an emerging “DIY” (do it yourself) attitude has been emerging within music. Well, that attitude has been around for many years, but only now, has it really been catching on. So many artists and bands are releasing their own music, and doing everything themselves, since record labels aren’t always the nicest to their rosters. And I won’t admit that I listen to plenty of unsigned artists/bands and only liked a band when they had 300 likes on Facebook, I still do support unsigned artists/bands doing what they love. And when I come across one I enjoy, I’ll support the heck out of them. One such artist I came across recently is North Carolina singer-songwriter/country artist Sarah Jones. I came across Jones’ music through Facebook, believe it or not. I’ve had luck finding good music through Facebook once before when I came across indie-rock/pop-punk band Of Us Giants through a random Facebook ad promoting their music. I came across Jones, just thanks to a suggested page recommendation, even though none of my friends “like” her Facebook page. It was odd, but she seemed interesting, so I decided to go onto her Facebook page and see what it was all about. I noticed she uploaded a music video of the track “Timing” quite recently, so I watched that first. I really liked the song, and even watched/listened to a couple of her ukulele covers on her channel. I posted on her wall, saying that I planned on listening to her debut LP, Music to My Dreams, that came out earlier in the year, and possibly reviewing it. Well, here I am, so I must have gotten a copy to review, right? You’d be correct, so how was the rest of Music to My Dreams? Was this a record of my dreams, or was I let down by the rest of it?
Thankfully, the former is how I ultimately feel about this record, at least to some degree. Music to My Dreams is a really enjoyable, fun, catchy, cute, and just a pleasant debut LP, so I’m really glad I listened to it. I ordered a signed copy of the LP, and Jones wrote on it that she hoped I loved it. Well, I certainly did, and there are many reasons for it, but let’s start with Jones herself, shall we? She’s really fascinating to me, because she’s only a year older than I am. For her to record and release a whole record, along with music videos, covers, and all that stuff on her own is very impressive. For being an independent artist doing all of this without a label to back her, it’s fantastic. And on the record, Jones sounds excellent. She has a very nice voice, even though she’s not exactly the best singer I’ve ever heard. I do say that in a lot of reviews, but I love her delivery quite a lot. She’s very earnest, honest, and just really sweet. She comes off very sincere and likeable, and that’s a very important quality to have both in country music, and just in music in general. She’s also a very unique country artist, because she doesn’t have a southern accent, so her voice is a bit more accessible for those who wouldn’t normally enjoy country music. That’s not a problem or even a praise, it’s just merely an observation. But her vocals are a big reason as to why I enjoy this LP.
Her lyrics are also quite nice, too; Jones mainly sings about relationships, and stories of heartbreak. While the ideas themselves are rather clichéd, she still does bring well written lyrics to the table. Heck, in “Timing,” she talks about how she never gave a guy that liked her the time of day, and when she realized that he was perfect for her, she was getting married to somebody else and she regrets not giving him a chance. She doesn’t get him to cheat on his bride, or anything like that, but she just admits to her mistake. And that’s the kind of lyricism I like to see, especially with country music. A lot of that stuff is more “bro-country” oriented, talking about beer and girls. Hearing a song like “Timing” from Jones is really nice, and it’s easily one of the highlights of the LP. My other favorite track lyrically is “Freckles,” which deals with nostalgia, and not being able to relive memories from when you were a kid. In the track, Jones talks to someone, and from what I gather, it seems to be her brother (and in the lyric video, she shows pictures of her brother, I believe, so it makes sense), and just how she cares and loves him. They may not see each often anymore, now that they’re grown, but she will always treasure memories. It’s a very touching track, and also one of the catchiest instrumentally. For every track that I enjoy lyrically, there a couple of duds. They aren’t terrible songs, by no means, but a few tracks just don’t do much me for lyrically, including “Thirty Seconds to Goodbye,” “Carousel,” and “Last Bullet.” These tracks are the more obviously clichéd songs that don’t quite offer anything interesting lyrically, but they’re still pleasant, thanks to Jones’ vocal delivery and the instrumentation.
Speaking of which, my least favorite part of this LP is the instrumentation. I don’t want to say I don’t like it, because I absolutely enjoy it, but it’s just not too interesting. It’s pretty standard country, folk, and indie-pop, but I do commend this LP for having a lot of variety. In fact, I’d really liken the instrumentation here to Fleetwood Mac’s self-titled or Rumours. Jones doesn’t sound similar to someone like Stevie Nicks vocally, but lyrically, she sort does, especially on a track like album closer, “Keep You,” which even features a nice soft-rock guitar solo that closes out the track. It’s easily another highlight of mine, and closes out the record on a great note. The instrumentation doesn’t quite do anything new, or interesting, as a whole, but it’s still good. It’s just nothing too worthwhile, if that makes sense to anybody reading this. By no means is it bad, or generic, but it’s also not too interesting, either. It’s right in the middle. For a country album, it works fine, and the instrumentation is done well, too. I’m really glad that I ordered a copy of this LP, and heck, I’m glad that I even came across Sarah Jones at all. If you’re a country fan, or a fan of singer-songwriter stuff, definitely give this woman a listen.
Overall rating: 9.3/10
Album Review by Bradley from ConcertJunkies!
people who randomly decide to compliment you are so important
Isnt it amazing how beautiful people are. Like just look at anyone and study them and their features and how their lips tort and eyes glisten and how their hair falls or sticks or lays. How their eyebrows flex and the way their arms fold, how expressive their hands are. The way their body moves and how their chest rises and falls so subtley with their pulse. People are beautiful even if we dont find them attractive. The fact that they’re a living being is unbelievably magnificent.
My thoughts exactly.