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When singer-songwriter Sarah Sharp’s life began to unhinge after the passing of a beloved artistic ally, instead of resisting profound foundational shifts, she bravely surrendered to the monumental changes and experienced a spiritual awakening. To commemorate this new era of fertile self-growth and vibrant creativity, she’s releasing a series of four EPs with each release to be issued in three-month increments. Aptly, she calls the opening salvo in this program, Wake. Up until now, the award-winning songwriter and jazz singer has been best known for embodying 30s and 40s jazz-cool with the acclaimed combo the Jitterbug Vipers. These solo EPs, however, will piece together to present the full breadth of Sarah’s artistry. “With every step of this transition, I’ve been reminded to keep going and listen to my heart and my instincts, and to not make decisions out of fear,” the Austin, Texas-based artist reveals. As a solo artist, and a former member of the Jitterbug Vipers, Sarah has topped the Austin music award polls as Best Female Vocalist, Best Producer, Best Songwriter, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Band of the Year, and Best Jazz Band. She has been featured on NPR’s “Song Travels with Michael Feinstein” where Feinstein suggested some of her original songs were destined to become standards. Recently, Paste Magazine premiered the mesmerizing single “You Don’t Dare” from the Wake EP. Previously, Sarah explored the expanse of her talents writing somewhat anonymously in a variety of contexts and styles. Sarah’s songs have been featured worldwide in ad campaigns for Chanel, Dell, Kia, ABC’s Revenge, E.L.F. cosmetics, among others, and on TV, including hit shows The Good Wife, Cable Girls, Grandfathered and more. After the passing of the Jitterbug Viper’s sage leader, guitarist Slim Richey, Sarah boldly didn’t try to recapture the smoky magic of the group. Instead, she dove into creating her first solo offering in a decade. Opening herself up artistically, she began to explore writing across genres in a solo context, and things began to almost poetically fall in place. Not only did she have an outlet for her eclectic palette, it was as if the universe was screaming for her to share it. She won a posh songwriting grant after a grueling 10-month decision process. The money received will pay for her marketing and publicity campaign, ensuring this creatively expansive outpouring receives the attention it deserves.
Art is a byproduct of life, and the vibrant and diverse music on Sarah’s four EPs reflect a powerful shift in her personal landscape. Slim’s passing set off a series of painfully complex events and inner turmoil that opened Sarah up to a specific rebirth called a Kundalini Awakening which completely changed the way she organized her reality. These EPs are the songs of redemption, renewal, and reclamation in the face of profound change in Sarah’s life. Each EP offers access to a distinct Sarah Sharp artistic sphere. Her first release, Wake, is thoughtfully organized around an intimate singer-songwriter aesthetic that’s both earthy and elegant. The six-song collection is beautifully fragile, replete with supple and sensitive instrumental interplay that frames Sarah’s finely crafted tales of heartache and salvation. On the dreamy “You Don’t Dare,” with woozy soulful vocals and watery guitars, Sarah reveals a tale of how disaster can lead to liberation. Beneath the ethereal vocals and slow playful piano motifs on “Heart Weigh,” Sarah sings from the other side of spiritual torment, from a vantage point of redemption and fresh, overwhelming soul-connecting love. Sarah’s second EP showcases her pop sensibilities and pairs slow-burn hooks with raw emotionality. The track “Easy” sparks afire from a thick and woody upright bassline and smolders into a sage Adam and Eve-themed treatise on hard fought knowledge. In this lush and refined setting, Sarah explores a majestically full-sound with honeyed harmony vocals, piano, and a lilting, almost bossa nova, groove. Sarah’s graceful sensuality imbues her velvety vocal phrasing on “What To With This Love,” and here she seduces with vulnerability. The delicate track “Kidding” is a sweet farewell to lost love. Sarah’s third EP will be a jazz offering, featuring two jazz chestnuts, two originals, and two unique covers reimagined with a little Jitterbug Viper panache. The character of her final EP is yet to be determined. The EPs were recorded in Austin and Brooklyn, and capture the electric musicality surrounding each locale. Select marquee musicians on the tracks include Phoebe Hunt, and Sarah’s current musical soulmate, guitarist Mitch Watkins (Lyle Lovett, Leonard Cohen, Jerry Jeff Walker, Joe Ely, K.T. Oslin, Jennifer Warnes, Abra Moore and Bob Schneider). Up next, Sarah will continue her Tuesday residency at the venerated venue the Elephant Room in Austin, and she will commemorate this EP series with a release event. Reflecting on her path to soulful salvation in the wake of loss and inner tumult, she says: “I’m stepping into my full adult self with a whole new path that I didn’t know was possible a couple of years ago. I’m ready to be fully present and make the most out of now.”