Q & A: Singer-Songwriter Sarah Harralson on her Path to Pursuing Country Music, her Latest Single and Creating Music That Helps Others Heal
Knoxville-native Sarah Harralson’s brand of country presents authentic stories delivered with raw emotional vocal performances over stripped-back instrumentals, making it easy for you to get lost in each verse of her songs.
Penning her first song at the young age of 10, the budding singer-songwriter would go on to release her debut 6-track EP a few years later in 2014-”Finally Found”. Since then, she’s released several EPs and singles and collaborated with the likes of Scotty Schultz (Drummer for Shooter Jennings) and Johnny Garcia (lead guitarist for Garth Brooks). She’s also shared the stage with Aaron Tippin and Bucky Covington, as well as performed in country music festivals headlined by stars Jason Aldean and Old Dominion. Earlier this June, she released her eye-opening single “The Chance”, which, through a moving vocal performance and soulful instrumentals, reminds listeners that time is a gift and to take advantage of every minute you have. A message that is on-brand for the singer-songwriter, whose primary goal is to help others heal through her music.
Recently I spoke to Harralson about her path to pursuing country music, her latest single and creating music that helps others heal.
Kyla Pearson: For those who are unfamiliar with your music, can you tell us a bit about your path to pursuing music? What made you want to become an artist?
Sarah Harralson: Sure! I always grew up around music as a child, as my Granddad was a bluegrass musician and played the accordion. My mother encouraged me to take up piano, and I started songwriting at a very young age. I was a quiet child, so songwriting was a gateway I could use to express my feelings. I taught myself guitar in high school, and I knew that I wanted to pursue music and songwriting even further outside of Knoxville, Tennessee. I moved to Nashville to attend Belmont University and learned through my journey in Nashville that I also wanted to be an artist and share with the world my own music, and my own take on songs.
Kyla Pearson: On June 4th, you released your latest single, “The Chance”. The song serves as a reminder to cherish the time you have in this life, and seize the opportunities you have before it’s too late- because some people never get “the chance” to. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the song?
Sarah Harralson: Absolutely- for years, I’ve had a line in my phone that just said, “some people never get the chance”. I knew that concept could be turned into an incredibly impactful song, but I didn’t feel like I was ready to write it yet, as I didn’t have enough to say about it. After COVID hit, that’s when I felt like I had more to say on the topic, and I brought the idea to my co-writer, Bill DiLuigi, and we wrote the song. Now that the world has lost a lot of people in the past year, it felt like the perfect time and opportunity to let people know that they should live life to the fullest because we lost a lot of people who didn’t get to live out all of their dreams.
Kyla Pearson: Can you tell us a bit about the songwriting/recording process that went into making the song?
Sarah Harralson: When I was writing this with my co-writer, we just started listing things that people might never get the chance to do- travelling, quitting a job they don’t like, saying “I love you more”, etc. It lets people know that if they have the ability to do something, they should go ahead and do it. I recorded the song with my producer, Johnny Garcia, and we started with just acoustic guitar and vocals. We knew we wanted it to be more of a stripped-down song with a hint of folk, so he added electric guitar. strings, bass, and light percussion. We wanted the production to match the lyrics and make people relate and feel for the concept.
Kyla Pearson: In relation to the song, what is one thing you’d love to do but haven’t had the chance to do yet?
Sarah Harralson: In the music video for “The Chance”, I hold up a sign at the end of it saying that I want to play The Opry. That’s definitely a music goal of mine, and outside of music, I want to travel as much as I can and see everything this world has to offer.
Kyla Pearson: You also released the official music video for the song, which features submitted videos from fans stating what they wish they had the chance to do. Can you tell us a bit about the creative vision behind the video?
Sarah Harralson: I was thinking of different concepts I could do for the music video, and I ultimately decided that having people hold up signs of what they want to do more of (knowing that some people never have the chance), would be the most meaningful and impactful. I hope when people see this video, it inspires them to want to fulfill their own dreams and goals.
Kyla Pearson: A big part of your artistic identity is creating music that is relatable to your fans, and can help them heal from any hardships, pain and struggles that life throws their way. In relation to that, you also are a volunteer musician for Musicians On Call and play at local hospitals. How do you feel your new music reflects that central message? How did you get involved in Musicians On Call? What has that experience been like for you?
Sarah Harralson: I think “The Chance” definitely reflects that message. We will always have struggles in life, but this song lets them know that it’s not too late to take every chance in life. And for the rest of my music, I always want it to be relatable no matter what the message is. Music can heal people in different ways, and even up-tempo, fun songs can lift someone’s spirits. Volunteering through Musicians On Call definitely helped me find this artistic identity. I’ve been involved with the organization since 2015, and I actually had to start as a guide (guiding other musicians around the hospitals) because the waitlist to be a musician volunteer in Nashville was incredibly long. After a couple of years of being a volunteer guide, I was able to volunteer as a musician and play for patients room to room at the Vanderbilt adult and children’s hospitals in Nashville. It’s the most rewarding experience, because the patients are the people who need music the most, and it’s so incredible to see the impact it has on them when you play them a song.
Kyla Pearson: With live music starting to be a reality once again as lockdown restrictions begin to lift, what is one venue or show you’re looking to perform at? What live shows do you have coming up that fans can catch?
Sarah Harralson: I’m starting my residency at Hutton Hotel again in Nashville, and I’m very excited to start that again. I also have shows in Rhode Island and Connecticut coming up in a couple of weeks that I am definitely looking forward to.
Kyla Pearson: Lastly, what is one goal you hope to achieve by the end of the year? Do you plan on releasing new music?
Sarah Harralson: I’ve been recording more music, so I definitely plan on releasing more this year, and I ultimately hope to release it as a whole project by the end of the year. I also hope to play some venues in town that I’ve been wanting to play for a while.
Listen to The Chance now:
Want to hear more music from Sarah Harralson? Her new single, “The America I Knew” will be available everywhere on July 2nd!
Pre-save “The America I Knew” now:
Stay up to Date With Sarah Harralson:
Harralson, Sarah. Interview. Conducted by Kyla Pearson, Jun 25 2021.
Harralson, Sarah. “Featured: Singer-songwriter Sarah Harralson”. Photo courtesy of Sarah Harralson. Accessed Jun 25 2021.
Unknown. “Official cover art for Sarah Harralson’s latest single, ‘The Chance’.” Photo courtesy of Sarah Harralson. Accessed Jun 25 2021.
Originally published at https://www.kylapearson.ca on June 28, 2021.