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Sarah Blasko - Australian Musician

Sarah Blasko is an inspiring Australian musician who is proof that all difficulties can be overcome, and success is achievable through hard work, determination and passion.  One of Australia’s well respected female singers, Sarah has been nominated for seven Aria awards, winning the 2007 Aria Award for Best Pop Release - What the Sea Wants, the Sea Will Have.

Initially, Sarah doubted her musical talents could develop into a music career. In her early years, she felt a lack of support from her school music teacher. Another school pressure was following in the footsteps of her talented sister who was touted as a great singer with a really wonderful voice. Sarah remembers her music teacher saying, “why can’t you be like your sister, you just don’t have a musical bone in your body.”  

At the age of around seventeen, Sarah realised music, her passion was still strong. She learnt to play music by ear. This lack of formal training made her think that she wasn’t part of the “music club”; 

“I felt like it [music] was like something I just didn’t understand…I understood it on a very emotional level but I did not understand it on a technical level.  Because of that it kind of distanced me from it, and made me think that it wasn’t really something that I could do”.


Sarah Blasko, photo by Chrissy Layton AusNotebook Music & Creative.

Luckily for the music industry and her fans, Sarah realised, “When I started to listen to other artists that were all about self-expression and about personal analysis, and all that kind of stuff, I realised that it actually wasn’t really about all the technical stuff. [Some] people could be great technical singers and technical guitarists but actually not really having the spirit of it.  So I kind of took heart in that and thought well maybe this is something that I really [do] want to pursue.”

Sarah’s versatile music is described as ‘alternative pop’ which gives an edge to the pop genre’. Sarah “self-expression” in her music is about her life experiences. She believes it can take awhile for a specific experience to find its way into music and into song;

“It’s just something that you’re really rattling with or you are trying to deal with, or something just is really relevant to you in different times in your life….and there’s like this thread, this thing that is really important to you ….like it really stands out, it’s quite sharp, like you feel that something that hits you…. Sometimes a song is like a best kind of really clear fresh moment when you feel something really strongly then you write about it.”

Then the hard work begins;

“There’s always the bit where it is actually just really hard work.  Where you have to chain yourself to a chair and make yourself finish a song.  That’s the bit that is the real test, because that beautiful feeling when you are feeling inspired is almost like falling in love, like its so easy and it comes to you, then later its like all the hard work ….. And when you are recording, that is definitely what you are trying to do.  You’ve got that beauty and you are trying to capture that beauty, and at the same time you are trying to have this objective, unromantic view as well.” 

Her experiences and life’s and challenges make up the reflections of her two albums.

“I had no idea what it was to make an album when I made the first record (The Overtune & the Underscore). I think my style has definitely changed.  I think since the second record (What The Sea Wants, The Sea Will Have) I am getting perhaps a bit closer to that realness that I’m talking about, that I really long for in my writing…It’s not so much that you necessarily totally wear your heart on your sleeve, where everything is obvious and everyone knows exactly what you are talking about, but its just this feeling where you know the music.  I really love the one line where it somehow says everything in it….. I have only done two albums …so I feel like I’ve had a lot to learn, and I still feel like I still do… it’s always just about cutting all the crap and just finding the essence of what you are trying to say.  It takes a very honest person to be able to do that....It’s like being honest with yourself but sort of being deluded at the same time.” 

Sarah has come a long way from her self-doubting days at school. She is undaunted by the idea of travelling overseas and performing to new audiences:

“You can always find new things to do, but part of the excitement is exposing yourself to new things and part of that is travelling….... People like
Nick Cave or
The Go Betweens
, I feel like those type of people made a commitment really early on to just move away and diverse themselves in something else, and not get caught up in just being an Australian band.  There is nothing wrong with that, I mean it is great, I don’t in anyway look down upon the Australian crowd or anything, I think it is more just a personal thing of wanting to make sure that you’re challenging yourself.  Because if you are not, then you actually don’t feel like you are providing anything really great to the people who are really close to you”.

  Sarah Blasko - photo by Chrissy Layton, AusNotebook Music & Creative.

Sarah does not want to make music that just sounds “nice”. “I guess you just want to feel like it’s useful”. She feels that music can sometimes be hard to hold onto, and questions what it does for other people. She jokes;

“Sometimes I feel kind of guilty being a musician [compared to] nurses or people who do so much practically for other people.  Sometimes I think that I should go and work on a farm, or milk a cow or do something that is a real craft!”

However, she also is aware when she listens to her favourite artists, she understands the power of music. Some  Australian  artists  Sarah  enjoys are Augie March, New Buffalo, Holly Throsby, Art of Fighting,
The Sleepy Jackson
and Youth Group.

The success of this strong, spirited, tenacious woman is an inspiration for those of us who have a passion for the arts but feel limited by our technical ability.

Article and photo by Chrissy Layton, AusNotebook Music & Creative  (5/1/08)


For more information about this talented lady view Sarah’s website: www.sarahblasko.com

Associated Article    WoodfordFestival2007

Sarah supports non profit Biddy Bags (founder Samantha Jockel)  www.biddybags.com.au

“[Founder] Samantha [Jockel] makes bags by collecting materials from op shops and then she gets grandmothers to crochet the rest of the bag, its like a design that’s made between older ladies and younger women, getting a design that is modern that younger women will wear but using the skills of older ladies.  This makes money for ladies that are isolated in their communities that are only on pensions or similar.” - Sarah Blasko
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