Sara Storer has won many awards, performed in front of countless crowds, but still longs for the day when: "I’m going to write *that* song."
Seven time Golden Guitar winner and 2016 ARIA Award winner Sara Storer is an exceptional example of just what happens when an artist commits wholeheartedly to honest and relatable songwriting. In the lead up to the Yarrabah Band Festival on 28 October, Laura Kebby sat down with the country star to chat about writing, the importance of rural touring, longevity and the song she’s always wanted to write.
Music and songwriting have always been built around story telling. The way words, phrases and feelings are intricately woven together through song, is exactly what draws an artist to the craft, and makes a music fan so passionate. Country music in particular has a way of getting to the real heart of things, and connecting with those who find themselves either physically or metaphorically isolated from the rest of the world. Seven time Golden Guitar winner and 2016 ARIA Award winner Sara Storer is an exceptional example of just what happens when an artist commits wholeheartedly to honest and relatable songwriting.
“We have different experiences but we are all going through doubts and highs and lows. I just want everyone to know we’re all human we’re all the same. You might be a singer on stage, or you might be working in a cafe. We’re all going through the same stuff,” says Sara when asked about the way music relates universally regardless of space or circumstance. “I think it’s just being more real, and being more honest. People love honesty,” she continued. In a hotel room in regional Queensland, Sara is in the middle of a small run of shows across Australia. There’s sense of softly spoken stoicism to her voice and an overwhelming air of familiarity which makes you feel as though you’re recapping many a lost year with a friend rather than meeting for the first time.
Sara’s debut Chasing Buffalo was released in the year 2000 and seventeen years and countless records and accolades later, Sara is still touring, still writing, all whilst striving to improve her craft, but most importantly thoroughly enjoying herself in the process. The secret to her longevity? “I think it’s really about quality of songs. My first album, you know, I was green, really green. I was green at songwriting. I was green at singing and performing, recording, and everything was starting from scratch. As long as I keep that standard and above I’m not going backwards and that’s the important thing”. The process of making music for Sara, even well before her first album was released, has always centred around the learning process, and engaging with each and every element of artistry as she elaborates; “Whilst over time I keep getting better, I’ve always still got a lot to learn. Every time I make a new album I always feel that I’ve learnt something new and I know that there is a lot more left to come. I just want to keep getting better at what I do”.
Even with many an album under her belt, Sara it seems is still chasing the chance “to write that song that I thought I could never write”. Elaborating, Sara continues; “You know every day I think maybe today’s the day I’m going to write that song, you know the one that turns heads, but that’s I guess what ever songwriter wants”. Although she may be continually chasing a particular idea or epicentre of a song, it’s the full body of work contained in an album that really ignites a sense of passion for the singer/songwriter. “For me it’s never been about just filling an album for the sake of filling it. You’re better off just releasing one song at a time rather than releasing an album that you haven’t got ready”. Adding further, in defence of perhaps the ever fading love of the masses for the full album Sara says; “I’d rather sit for an hour and listen to someone’s album that I love and adore, rather than just getting a four minute moment with them. I want them to take me on a journey, I want to know a little bit more about them. I think that’s what an album does, it gives you a sense of what that person has been up to over the past couple of years of their life rather than just a moment. That’s how I feel about albums. Listening to a single is like eating an ice-cream. You just wanna eat the whole tub and you can’t (laughs)”.
Whilst many artists chose to favour capital or at least major cities to take their music across the country, Sara emphasises the importance of touring regionally. “For me it’s pretty important, a lot of my fans are from regional Australia because I sing and write about rural things. Writing about people that live off the land and their hardships, including mine, so I don’t want to forget about them because they support me so much”. Speaking about the upcoming Yarrabah Band Festival and the importance of the community aspect and togetherness the music community encourages regardless of location, Sara says; “It gives everyone a little something to look forward to. Music just brings happiness and for a moment you can listen to some music and be inspired, but you can also embrace that chance to come together with your community. Sometimes it’s just about having a yarn and saying ‘how are ya going’ before the show, there’s that real sense of community”.
Although so many of her fans hail from rural areas, the popularity of country music, especially Sara’s music, spreads much further then the remote areas of Australia. For Sara, the reason for this is pretty simple. “In the end it’s just a story about someone’s life, you don’t really have to live in the country to get it” .Regardless of your preference for country music, like Sara said, the essence of country music is deeply entrenched within a beautiful story. It’s really about getting that glimpse into someone else’s life, and being transported away from the often mundane of our own day to day. This is exactly what music, writing and community is really all about.
Sara Storer will appear at the Yarrabah Band Festival on Saturday 28 October from 12pm -10pm at the Jilara Football Oval, Black Beach Rd, Yarrabah. This event is free all ages and alcohol-free event – a gold coin donation welcomeand proceeds go to the Yarrabah Seahawks Rugby League Club. More info here