“Sarah Harralson presents honest, bare-boned recordings that are authentic,” stated Music Connection Magazine after hearing her debut singer-songwriter EP, Finally Found, in 2014. Her authenticity lies in her lyrics based on true stories followed by melodies that will be stuck in your head hours after hearing it. An authentic storyteller and straight shooter, she is not afraid to tell it like it is in her music. This Knoxville native began writing songs when she was ten years old, her bluegrass musician grandfather being her biggest musical influence. She was surrounded by genres such as country, rock 'n roll, soul, and pop growing up, but the storytelling aspect of country is what ultimately drew Harralson to pursuing that genre.
After her grandfather passed in 2011, Sarah decided she would move to Nashville two years later to pursue music at Belmont University. A year after releasing her debut EP in 2014, she was discovered by Scotty Schultz, drummer of Shooter Jennings (Waylon Jennings’s son). Scotty opened up his publishing company, Raindrop Music LLC, in 2015 and after hearing Sarah’s original song “Watered Down Whiskey”, he knew he wanted to sign her right away. This would be Sarah’s first publishing deal. Scotty decided he would produce her first country EP, Watered Down Whiskey, of all original songs that Sarah has either written or co-written. "This EP will help many people and hopefully some will have their heart healed by her emotional lyrics," stated Music Update Central after hearing the release of her second EP in February 2018.
Sarah’s country influences range from The Dixie Chicks to Brandy Clark to Johnny Cash with the vocals sounds of Jewel and Alanis Morissette, which comes across on her second EP, Watered Down Whiskey. Scotty Schultz of Raindrop Music, LLC stated that, “she is a driven woman who deserves to be heard,” and the stories will definitely be heard.
One of the tracks on the EP includes the song, “Radio Static” that was co-written with Johnny Garcia (lead guitar for Garth Brooks). Over time, Sarah began writing and working with Johnny, which evolved to the point where Sarah would sign her next publishing deal with Busy at Play Publishing (Johnny Garcia’s company) in February 2020. During 2020, she has released singles, "Put a Rock on This Rolling Stone", "Get Lost in Some Rock 'N Roll", and holiday single, "Frosty", since signing with Busy at Play Publishing. Her 2021 singles include, "The Chance", "The America I Knew", "Love on Lease (Reimagined)", "Bottom of the Glass", and a jazz version of "Silent Night". Her new single, "Whiskey History" was released on January 14th, and her new album, Whiskey History, was released on February 18th.
You can find her playing local shows in Nashville when she is not out of town. Her stage credibility includes opening for the likes of Aaron Tippin, Bucky Covington, and also included on festival rosters with Jason Aldean and Old Dominion as headliners. Besides performing, Sarah also produces music herself and decided to release a collaborative album, West of Me, with co-writer Christine Bauer in early 2019 that she self-produced. You can also hire her to write and record a song for you or your loved one through websites, Songfinch, SoundBetter, or Fiverr. Besides writing her own material, she has also co-written songs cut by other artists such as "Tennessee" by Whippoorwill, "Thirsty" by Natalia Soul, and "It'll Be Alright" by Rob Murphy to name a few. In June 2021, she was invited to be a voting member of The Recording Academy as a vocalist and songwriter. She also plays at hospitals as a volunteer musician once a month for Musicians On Call. Sarah hopes that her music will help people in some way across the world. She is a big believer that music heals and aims to present her music in a way that is relatable for others and can heal any open wounds.
Thank you for taking this interview! How has the New Year been for you so far as an artist?
It’s been a great year so far! I released my new album, Whiskey History, in February and recently played at the Key West Songwriter’s Festival in Florida. I’ve been blessed with a lot of gigs so far this year including gigs to work on other people’s music.
Can you tell us how you've transformed from the beginning to now as an artist?
Looking back, I am very proud of my transformation. When I moved to Nashville, I was unsure of who I was as an artist and terrified to play on stage in town. Now that I’ve figured out who I am as an artist and have gained confidence on stage, I feel so comfortable sharing my songs and craft with the world. Finding your identity doesn’t always come overnight. It just takes experience and figuring out what your mission is as a person and artist.
How did you come up with your latest project?
A lot of the songs off of the album were singles I have released since 2020, and I knew I wanted them out in the world and a part of my next full album project. For the rest of the songs on the album, they were songs I didn’t release as singles, but songs I have written that I just have a strong emotional connection to and I felt that it encompassed my whole story and where I was at in life for this project.
Where are you from originally?
Where do you live now?
Nashville, TN. I’ve been here for 9 years.
Do you think where you live impacts how your music is made?
Absolutely! I grew up in the country and a bluegrass area, so it was very easy for me to relate to country music and the storytelling aspect of it. But I also think the people you are around can influence your music too. My Granddad was a bluegrass musician, but my family listened to all genres of music, so that’s also why I have a love for all genres and not just country, even though that is my main genre as an artist.
What was the inspiration to make music your career?
I started songwriting when I was ten years old. I was a quiet child, and writing songs was a way for me to be able to express my feelings. Music always came very natural to me, and I couldn’t envision doing anything else nor did I want to do anything else. So right after I graduated high school, I made the move to Nashville.
How do you want to shape your career?
I always want to keep growing as an artist and songwriter. But I want to at least be known for creating impactful music for the world. I want to help people with my music. I want to help others with their music. I want to be known as someone who can wear multiple hats and just create as much as I can for the world.
Do you work on a tight timeline always or do you go with the flow when it comes to your music?
When it comes to my music, I mostly go with the flow and just let the songs come to me naturally and be written on their own timeline. The only time it becomes a tight timeline is when I have the songs written and I want them to be produced and released by a certain time. Same with working on songs I’ve written for or with other people. But I also never want to rush the production because it’s easy to tell when production sounds rushed or forced.
How did your latest title of your music come to be?
After writing the song, “Whiskey History” with my co-writer, I knew it was a song I wanted to record and release. I had a whole collection of songs I wanted to include on my next album. At the time, I was unsure of what the album should be called. Even though I already have an EP called ‘Watered Down Whiskey’, I fell in love with the idea of my new album being called ‘Whiskey History’ because the album in general is a collection of songs that takes you through my mid-twenties and encompasses what I went through and also the growing up I did. For the song itself, I had the title “Whiskey History” as an idea in my phone for a long time, but didn’t know what to do with it. My co-writer Bill DiLuigi came up with the angle of writing it as someone who finds a person in their life who helps them move on to brighter things and gets away from all the lonely nights out at the bar.
Is it hard to let go of the music when it is done?
Sooo hard. For me, it’s easy to feel that a track is never finished. Especially if I’m producing the song myself, it feels like I can always make more tweaks. I like to have other sets of ears listen to the production with me to see if others think it’s done before I make the final call. But I think I always come to a point internally where I think, “Well, I could always find things wrong to keep working on it, but this is done. This is what the world should hear it as”.
Do you feel an emotional attachment to your music?
Absolutely. I think every artist and songwriter does. That’s why it can be hard for me to say it’s finished. I feel emotional in the sense that I am sharing very private and personal details about me with the world. I always aim to release music that I can relate to and that others can relate to, so I always hope the audience will have some sort of attachment to the music like I do, and that it can help them in some way.
How would you describe your music in one word to someone who hasn't listened to it yet?
Where do they go to listen NOW?
You can find my music on all streaming and listening platforms. Physical copies can be found at www.sarahharralson.com
What has been the best fan reaction to your music?
One of my favorite moments was when a fan reached out to me after I released “Watered Down Whiskey”. They told me that they had just gone through a divorce and the song helped them through it and reminded them that they made the right choice and it will be ok. Messages from fans like that always reenforces why I do music because it lets me know that I am helping people with my music and making some sort of an impact.
Is there anything exciting coming up for you?
Yes! I am playing at NAMM in Anaheim, CA on June 2nd at the Sheraton Park Stage. I have a lot of more fun shows coming up for the year and I’m even recording more new music right now! Also, a song I co-wrote and produced releases May 27th. It’s called “Heat Lightning” by Christine Bauer, so make sure you listen on all streaming platforms when it comes out.
Are you performing the song anywhere LIVE?
Of course! You can find a list of my shows for the year on my website. All of my sets this year will include songs from my new album! https://sarahharralson.com/shows
Give us all your socials and links so fans can link up with you!