Sarah Belkner: Artist Q + A

Sarah Belkner is a singer, songwriter, producer and composer born in New Zealand and based in Sydney, Australia. Sarah is working with me on a range of musical projects including Corinne’s mindfulness musical designed for children, “Search for The Sparkle.” Here’s a moment with Sarah on her experience working with Corinne and the best advice her grandmother gave her: “perseverance is omnipotent.” Watch Sarah Belkner’s videos on YouTube.

How did you meet Corinne?
Sarah: Through my husband Richie (of Free Energy Device Studios), they have been friends for many years!

What projects have you worked on together?
Sarah:¬†“Search for the Sparkle,” Corinne’s awesome up and coming kids musical. We have co-written a couple of songs and I have been doing some choral arrangements for her as well. I have been vocal coaching Flo who Corinne has been producing, also the “Stay Sensitive” project and backing vocals on a few things. She does lots of projects!

What has been the most unique element of projects you’re both involved with?
Sarah: I love the fact that Corinne’s projects are positively minded and often aimed at kids and education, giving voices to younger generations coming up.

Tell us a little about your own story … how did you fall in love with music?
Sarah: I came out singing basically. My parents are both musicians and it’s just always been a big part of my personality. I love it and wouldn’t know what to do without it. I studied composition at uni and love writing my own songs and touring with other people too. Producing is a love as well and the studio is my second home.

Who were your most important teachers / mentors / collaborators?
Sarah: Oooh there have been so many. I’ll go with all the great artists I’ve got to play with recently, Sarah Blasko, The Preatures, Ngaiire, Olympia and Missy Higgins. It’s been a really cool time and learning so much seeing them all navigating careers in the music biz.

As a multi-instrumentalist, how does each instrument make you feel differently?
Sarah: Well singing is obviously linked to words, we are gatekeepers of text so get to deal in poetry and feeling from language. Playing keyboards is a bit more cerebral and technical for me. I love putting instruments together and doing lots of arranging – that’s getting to paint with feelings and ideas so that’s pretty great.

Who are the artists you’ve worked with that left a huge impression on you, or alternatively were completely different to what you expected them to be?
Sarah: Working with 100 (now 103 year old!) Eileen Kramer who is a dancer, filmmaker and choreographer on my video for “Susanne” absolutely changed the way I thought about creativity. She helped me crack the code into immortal making, not worrying about time running out. I’m so grateful to her for that.

What are you working on now / what’s next?
Sarah: I’m gearing up to make album number two for me. I put my debut out earlier this year. I’m curating all these ideas I have and hope to record again early next year. I have just finished producing Brendan Maclean’s debut album and an EP for a great band called Swamp Fat Jangles, looking forward to seeing those come out next year and hope to do more producing with great talent next year too.

What has been the most resonant advice you’ve received in your artistic life?
Sarah: Wow big questions! Hard to think exactly on this one. My grandma had some good advice just to be persistent and patient. She died at 97 and her phrase was “Perseverance is omnipotent” which I love. She would also say I will be around for a long time so settle in and be patient and make whatever I want to!

What advice would you give to an aspiring young artist?
Sarah: Probably that! Take a breath, settle in and make what you want to make regardless of the ‘success’. Give yourself permission daily. Also be diverse in your income, make it up from a few things and don’t put all the pressure on one thing to pay your way. You have to offset, but of course don’t do things that you hate for money, that’s a BIG no no and screws your creativity too. Make and shape your own career, be inspired by but don’t model success off what others have done, they are not you and nobody has ever made what you are making or about to make.

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