Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sarah Dashew at 54 Below June 17th!

Lithograph by Tommy Tune
I love discovering new entertainers. The one I am writing about today, I physically did not discover her, but I have become a fast fan and cannot wait to introduce my readers to Sarah Dashew...if you are not familiar already.

She will be headlining at 54 Below on June 17th. I truly advise your reserving today. THIS SHOW WILL SELL OUT! This is not the first time Sarah has played Manhattan. This is her first time on "Broadway"! 

Let's start with the basis, or the foundation, if you will, upon which all of this has been built. Sarah was born in Los Angeles. From four to eleven, along with her parents and older sister, she sailed around the world.
She was a straight "A" student throughout high school. 
She was always, thanks to her parents, surrounded by music. That music included Aretha Franklin, James
Taylor, Stevie Wonder, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Chuck Berry.

Her parents had very good taste.
There was a guitar on the boat and they were always having "jams" on the beach at campfires with locals and other cruisers.
 She experienced lots of different cultures. There was lots of adventure in her early childhood. She ended up later going to Wesleyan University in Connecticut. At that time she ended up going to a multicultural black Pentecostal concert.
 Her knees were shaking and she suddenly realized this was what she HAD to do. She joined the choir and learned to sing in four part harmony and how to "punch it out through the gut." She started taking guitar lessons when she was studying abroad in Spain. She took those lessons for about a year.

That is her only formal training in that department. After college, she got her own boat and started following in her father's footprints, building boats.
She realized that wasn't for her and took off for Austin, Texas, where she cut her teeth in music. She formed a band and they toured Europe twice. She got a record deal with Sony Italy and they were huge in Italy. They performed all over France, Italy, Switzerland and had lots of fun before moving back to Los Angeles about ten years ago. She started working with Chuck Plotkin, who is a legendary recording engineer and producer, best known for his work with Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan.He worked at Asylum Records under David Geffen.   Plotkin has recorded, engineered, mastered and produced albums by  many other artists, starting with The Floating House Band in 1972.Plotkin became
Stanley Dashew: 1916-2013 (Sarah's paternal grandfather)
Sarah's mentor and she worked with him a long time.
He ended up producing her first album, Jealous Girl, which debuted  in 2006.
A couple of songs got licensed on My Name is Earl. Her next album got listed on various celebrity playlists. She did a northeast and southern tour of the United States.Next stop, Below 54 in NYC!
Sarah's manager, Lizzz Kritzer, is friends with Tommy Tune.They were sitting around discussing the next steps in Sarah's career. They all agreed that she needed a great showcase in New York City. Tommy's assistant, Peter Glebo, suggested 54 Below. They all feel that it is the perfect venue. It is an intimate theatre in a cabaret setting for her to tell her stories and rock out with her band. Calls were made and voila!
Audiences who are lucky enough to be part of this "congregation" on the 17th of June are going to experience a lot of emotion.It will be a microcosm of life.

Sarah will be tossing away the demons and tossing out joy to the audience. There will be really intense emotional singing and lots of humor and anecdotes of her life's experiences.

I asked Sarah if this show was something she has done before or something new specifically for that night's audience.
As any true artist will tell you, no two shows are ever the same.
Even when the set list is the same or if an actor is doing eight shows a week of a one act play, the energy in the air and the relationship with the audience and the energy of the entertainer are all going to create a perfect storm to influence whatever is going on with the performance. Sarah's 54 Below show will not be the same show she has done in other venues.
She always throws in a couple of surprises based on wherever she is playing.

She will tailor to the energy and the theme of the night.
Don't be surprised if we hear a cover of a famous show tune thrown into the mix with a new band styling.

As mentioned before, Sarah found her passion singing in a Pentecostal choir. The minister at that time would end every rehearsal by having everyone turn to someone and tell them that "you" loved them.
It was an important thing to have happened to Sarah at this time in college.

What that left Sarah with, and what she has brought forth in her live performances, as she vamps out on her final song is her own sermon on love.
It is a chance for her to improv and do some ad libbing and rapping. The whole thing becomes a "state of the world address" culminating in a call for all to love each other and to be good to each other.. Sarah never really knows what is going to come forth. It's a mystery to her as well.
It is an chance for all involved to do a real free for all.
That is the biggest thing that has culminated for early beginnings.
Sarah's fondest memory of her career thus far is performing on a starry summer night for 3,000 in the ruins of an old medieval castle in Italy.
"It was just incredible!"
She was headlining a show at a summer festival outside of this town called Ferrara. They were in the middle of a field in which the stage was erected amongst the ruins of this palazzo that had been built around the 1200s.
That memory is seared into her brain. She had 3,000 Italians singing along in English!
One of the wonderful things about being Sarah Dashew and being an independent artist is that she is not beholden to the same rules imposed upon most artists. She is a singer/songwriter but she is not Britney Spears. She knows, however, that lyrics, music, AND looks are important.
The good news is that it is no longer just a "twenties" game. Sarah is perfectly happy being beyond her twenties. She is proud to say that she is forty. She is a hellava lot more interesting now than she was in her twenties.  
In the short time that Sarah has been in this business, she has seen major changes. When Sarah got started, the internet was just coming into play. The internet was utilized for CD sales and Sarah made a lot of her money through those means. It was a vehicle for selling CDs.
Now, the paying field is much different.

The internet and social media for Sarah, these days, is a vehicle for her touring career. Music also these days is streamed more so than packaging into CDs.
The one thing that never really gets changed is the experience of LIVE entertainment. That is where the visceral relationship takes place between artists and audiences. That is where audiences get to hear it and experience it in the real world and make eye contact and get goose bumps or roll your eyes and yawn and see who's on Facebook. It is still the unique experience that cannot be replaced.Sarah believes that the business is starting to focus more on that again. There are many sooth sayers that say it is an apocalyptic world in the music industry. While it is absolutely true that there has been a total paradigm shift, Sarah doesn't feel that we are in a post   apocalyptic world, she compares it to a wild west frontier town where no one knows what the laws are yet.
There are all kinds of opportunities now. There is a whole new world to be found. It's a bit of a crazy wild atmosphere right now and one has to be packing their guns to protect themselves. There is a lot of potential for growth and creating whole new business models. Sarah does not yet know what those are. Her world is to hopefully write great songs and to put on a great show and let the really smart people figure out the rest of it. Sarah says she does what she does because she has to.
Sarah has a curiosity about the music industry. She feels like an audience member, anxious to see what is going to happen next. There will always be cravings for art and emotion and for being inspired. There will always be a pendulum.
It always swings dramatically from one side to another. She feels that we are starting to come back to the middle. Innovation always emerges out of the unknown.
Sarah tries to be disciplined in her work mode. Singing and writing and playing takes a laser focus. It takes "muscular repetition" like going to the gym. At the same time, there is a careful balance to be struck by not forcing water to come from the well when the well is low. One of Sarah's favorite writers is Hemingway although he is a "misogynistic bastard".
She, however, loves his writing style. He always said it is very important to write every day. It is not imperative that it always be the best, just write.
Sarah and her family on our boat having a music jam with a bunch of locals

Then leave it and walk around around the gardens.Go fishing. Go make love to whoever you're in love with. The point of being a writer is having something to say. Sarah is not always sure what that is. The point is not always to help ourselves heal, but it is to help other people heal, and to help them feel something that they didn't even know they had to feel.  

The only way artists can do that is by experiencing life by having their own failures and setbacks and romances and heartbreak and marches down the street.
While Sarah tries to practice and write everyday, she also feels that one of the great things for having done this for a while and being older, she also knows when it is time to walk away.

Sometimes that is when that inspiration arrives.
Sarah's latest EP Something in the Weather is available on ITunes and Amazon. She will have physical copies at 54 Below. This will be a gift to all attendees. Everyone can take Sarah home with them signed! It has been said that art imitates life and visa versa. Sarah's latest songs are about "opening up" after a long time of being quite "frozen" after a long breakup. For Sarah, there has been a parallel about opening up to love and romance and opening up to life itself. Her latest five songs are absolutely about opening up again to love.
They are about embracing life fully. They are about confronting the things that she has been afraid of and the risks she has been afraid to take. They are all just fears and unreal things. Her advice is to just jump in anyway and the odds are that something magnificent awaits.
The premise of Something in the Weather is that it is easy to lock your life down and live within limits. At the same time, it is the hardest thing in the world because, as humans,
we desire to connect and reach out. We want to jump in and experience. We are scared to. We are taught to stay within our boxes and be safe. When one decides to take the leap and jump all the way in, it's an incredible feeling and so worth the free fall. The free fall is what she is writing about right now.
The most important lesson that Sarah has learned in
this business is that everyone has to be honest. "You have to listen to yourself."

Sarah's biggest "vice" is a tendency to be too romantic...or perhaps it is a virtue.
Just before she steps on stage, the thought to be present runs through her head, to be open. She is taking a little breather before her summer schedule kicks into high gear. While preparing for that, she has been doing some promotional stuff. She has been doing a lot of rehearsing, gearing up for a show in Los Angeles on May 8th, June 17th at 54 Below, June 19th at The Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett, NY. The week after that, she is going to Provincetown to do an acoustic show.
Sarah is sure of who she is and what she is all about. We are told we are old at twenty-five, the age we are first allowed to rent a car. We are in a youth obsessed culture. The advice she would give, although she is still trying to take it herself is that even if we all live to be one hundred, life is so short! Why spend our time trying to be something that we are not instead of seeking out new things and embracing who we are and discovering new aspects
Tina Turner!
about ourselves? No matter how long any of us live, it is still a short life. We are always really young?
Tina Turner is a real role model for Sarah. That sounds like it is out of left field, but ever since Sarah was a little girl, she adored her, even before she knew her history. Talk about embracing your age! She is a tough cookie and a survivor and found joy out of incredible darkness and pain. Sarah saw Tina in 2000 in Texas. At that time, Tina was sixty one in stiletto heels giving a two hour performance.
She did not miss a note. She was incredible, stunning, gorgeous, powerful. Peace and joy just reeked from her every pore and sass! She seems to have discovered the secret to a balanced grounded life. Throughout her career, you didn't constantly see her popping up in the tabloids. After she moved beyond Ike, she did not exploit that.

It is a toss up between summer and autumn as to what Sarah's favorite season is. The two always go hand in hand.
People can't wait for summer.It's like an explosion.It's hot and sexy and we wear shorts and we go swimming and play and drink rose' in the sun and we feel alive and like children. Then there is a wistful yearning as the days get shorter.We start turning inward again.
There is a mourning that comes with that. That is beautiful too. We spend so much time feeling afraid of being sad. It is OK. It allows us to heal. Without it, we wouldn't know what joy feels like. It's an incredibly important part of life. The autumn also makes us feel cozy. The light starts turning honey gold at dusk. It makes us want to love everything. Sarah is also an October baby. It is her time of year.
For those of us in New York, Summer begins on June 17th when Sarah Dashew heats up 54 Below. I, for one, can't wait!
June 17, 2014
54 Below
Sarah brings her band to Broadway’s famous supper club!
8:45 pm
254 W. 54th St.
New York, NY
$30 for tickets

Please visit Sarah Dashew's website for more info.

Let's start celebrating artists again rather than tearing them down.

Thank you ALL of the artists mentioned in this blog for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give! 

With grateful XOXOXs ,

Photo credit: Stephen Sorokoff

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