Sydney-born singer-songwriter, musician and producer, Sarah Blasko has a career spanning over a decade starting in the mid 1990’s as lead singer of the band Acquiesce, as well as creating a self-titled project Sorija. More recently, Sarah’s latest album Eternal Return has seen her captivate the hearts and ears of the world, winning Best Adult Alternative Album at the 2016 Aria Awards. Her highly successful career is evident with her long list of national and international tours, chart-topping albums and awards but never losing sight of her passion for authentic and real music. We get to know Sarah Blasko in this week’s Savvy Seven, her charismatic and easy-going attitude is a breath of fresh air in what is sometimes a greedy and advantageous industry. Let’s dive in!
Who was your first musical inspiration? Why?
Michael Jackson, mainly because I was a child of the 80’s and he was a huge superstar at the time. I found him so mysterious and exciting, there would always be a massive premiere on TV when he released new songs. He just captured my imagination as a child as well because he was so visual, when you think about the Thriller videos and as a kid that was so exciting and imaginative.
What advice do you have for someone who is about to record and release their first album, and set off on their first tour?
You just have to be yourself, you can’t try and be anyone else, I think it always shows through when people are trying to be someone else or do what someone else has done. I find it really interesting when people just find their true essence and their inner weirdo, that’s kinda cool… release your inner weirdo!
How do you write and record your initial song ideas?
I usually just record it on a phone or I use ProTools at home. It depends on what I’m doing, some songs I like to start in a program like that, working with drum machines, often you just happen to be sitting at the piano and something comes and you have to record it quickly so you don’t forget it.
How has your music practice or performance changed over time?
It has changed a lot I think, I now see the value in space and silence within music and performance, it’s as important as movement and a barrage of sound. When I first started doing things I just wanted to pile everything on top of each other and over time I’ve been more selective with what I want to put down.
What is your top business tip for new artists?
Woah! Business, I think you’re talking to the wrong lady! I hate the word ‘business’, I don’t see myself as music business. I think you have to be smart and there is a business part to things but I think it’s wrong to go into it thinking too much business, that’s why you look to find people who can help you out with that stuff, you’re an artist so your focus is music. Having said that you don’t want to be naive and make stupid decisions, the best way to learn things is to do everything for yourself to begin with, by putting up your own posters, sell your own merchandise because you learn how to want to do things by doing it yourself first, it makes sense. You don’t need a manager from the beginning, I’m of another era though and people put things up online and they have 200,000 fans instantly, but I come from the era where you have to do every single job, sticky tape in hand sticking posters to posts, which a lot of people still do so I think that is healthy. So that would be my business recommendation, do it yourself, there’s plenty of time later to have a manager and you forget how to do everything yourself.
What has been your biggest career highlight and mistake?
My highlight has been performing shows with an orchestra, that was my dream job. My biggest career mistake would be not believing in myself… it’s really easy to look back and think ‘I was way more awesome then I thought I was’, not that I’m saying that I think everything I did was amazing because I don’t at all, there’s a lot of things that I would totally change about recorded stuff or the delivery of my singing was a little weird at times. I suppose as well not enjoying it enough in the moment, but that’s life isn’t it, you get older and you realise the things that were good and bad about what you had and who you were.
What do you think is the most important issue facing the music industry at the moment?
I’m a really big believer in things coming back around, so I’m not one of those people who is all doom and gloom. It’s a weird time in music because everybody streams and some people see that as a really awful thing and it is to a degree, but I also see people loving Vinyl and cassettes again, and I would never have guessed that vinyl would come back, not that its the biggest thing in the world because obviously more people stream than buy records. Greed ruins music and that’s always been the way, you just have to do what you do. I never like talking about it because I actually have very opposing opinions within my own mind about the music world and the current state music is in because I think there are wonderful things about people being able to access music, and then there are downsides for musicians in that case, that’s why I’m saying that greed has always been a part of the music industry, and it’s not a new things that musicians have been treated badly by the industry.
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