I spoke with the lovely Sarah Darling in the early afternoon following the CMT Music Award festivities. Even after a late night in Nashville, Sarah was more than gracious. If you follow Sarah on Twitter or Facebook, you know what I mean– Sarah is truly “one of the girls,” someone you could call and grab a drink with or pour your heart out to when the latest bad boy has broken your heart.
Sarah Darling was born in Des Moines, Iowa. Her musical journey started early-she began singing at age four. She always knew she wanted to be a singer and her drive has never dampened. One year after graduating high school, she took off for Nashville to make her dream a reality. Her second album is a triumph over the feared sophomore curse. Released in February, the two disc album Angels and Devils shows two very distinct sides of Sarah’s talent.
Disc one has a modern-country feel and features her current smash Something to Do With Your Hands. The second disc features a much softer, more intimate side of Sarah. The second disc is stripped down and allows you to take a glimpse into Sarah as a singer-songwriter. Highlights of the album include unique covers of U2’s With Or Without You and Elton John’s Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word. The true stand out is a cut called Bad Habit. Vince Gill sings back up as Sarah’s lyrics resonate with heartbreaking truth, “I want to be your cigarette/I want to linger on your breathe/Be the taste you can’t forget/And can’t put down.”
Sarah and I discussed the CMT Music Awards, CMA Fest and living out her dream, playing on the Opry stage.
AM-How were the CMT Music Awards last night?
They were so fun! It is a fun awards show where everyone can let their hair down.
AM-You looked stunning on the red carpet!
Thank you! I love Betsy Johnson. It was perfect for summer, a fun color and it matches my personality.
AM-I read that your first introduction to country music was hearing it on your grandfather’s radio on Sundays on the way to church. Did your family encourage your musical aspirations?
Yes, I started signing at age four, I started very young. My family was very supportive. I grew up in a small town in Iowa where there is not a lot of access to the music business. At 13, I played the Iowa State Fair and being on that stage, I got the itch. I knew this was something I would always continue. I always knew this is what I wanted to do.
AM-I know you took a very hands on approach with your sophomore album, Angels and Devils with writing much of the material. Do you have any songs on the album you feel most connected to?
Absolutely! “Point of Space” is me looking back in life, thinking about that first time I fell in love. Sometimes it doesn’t work out but you learn from it. I am also proud of “Bad Habit.” Bad Habit is a work of art, it is about wanting attention from the person you are with, even if it is bad attention.
AM-Bad Habit is a song every girl can relate to who has ever loved a bad boy.
AM-Who would you most like to open for?
I would love to open up for Keith Urban or Lady Antebellum. Musically, I think we would be a great match.
AM-I heard the audio of you singing with Vince Gill on the Opry this year, so beautiful! Tell me about your Opry debut–what was that experience like?
Wow…I kept thinking about what had lead up to that moment. It was a dream come true! When I got the call that I had been invited, they said “Vince wants to sing “Bad Habit” with you and he will introduce you”…I just remember thanking God. The coolest part was having my family there. It is so, so special to play on that stage and to be asked to play there…that is an opportunity that not every artist gets. I stood on the stage and I reflected on every place I had ever played, every songwriters night…everything that had lead me to that moment.
AM-Something to Do with Your Hands is consistently playing in the top 20 on GAC, what was the video shoot like?
It was so fun! Steven Shepard directed the video. We really wanted to make a video and put a story together with lots of color, very 50’s inspired with a retro feel. It was me breaking everything so he could come over to fix them!
AM-If I was to turn on your iPod right now, what artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?
I am really loving Steel Magnolia and Ronnie Dunn’s new song (Bleed Red) right now. You would also see John Mayer, Coldplay and Sheryl Crow. I like to listen to everything!
AM-What has your experience at CMA Week been so far?
Very cool, I participated in a parade and fashion show earlier this week. The best part is getting to meet your fans face to face and talk with them. That is what CMA Week is all about-we get to give back to the fans who support us. It is also great to hang out with fellow artists.
AM-Who would you like to meet that you have not gotten a chance to yet?
I would love to meet Shania Twain.
Sarah is truly a star on the rise. A lifetime of dreaming about making music is culminating in her recent success. I was thrilled to learn she has been invited back to the Opry (June 18, 2011). Look for her sophomore album, Angels and Devils, in stores now.