Treasuring Motherhood with Rochester Musician Sarah Eide
>> Musician Sarah Eide’s first full length, fully produced album, 'Dreams on Hold,' is a heart-throbbing depiction of the unique, modern challenges of a real woman experiencing motherhood for the first time. Her path has been unconventional from the start. Graduating Berklee School of Music six months pregnant meant finding an equilibrium between her own ambitions and her growing family. This album is a beautiful culmination of the energy, effort, and love that goes into caring for little humans! Check out our interview with her below!
Could you describe the meaning behind the title of your upcoming album "Dreams On Hold"?
'Dreams On Hold' is about love and sacrifice. Generally speaking, I'm actually a believer in NOT putting your dreams on hold, but there is bound to be someone in your life who is worth the small sacrifice of putting your life goals on pause. For me, it's my two young children. I've always been incredibly ambitious and having kids forced me to slow down at a time most of my peers were speeding up. It was (and is) painful and hard, but they have made this small sacrifice worthwhile. This title reminds me that this phase of life won't last forever, and actually, it should be treasured. Since you're new to the Rochester area, how has this transition affected the sound of your upcoming album? How does the music scene in Rochester differ from your previous living spaces?
I actually recorded this album 100% in Chicago just before moving here, so I can't attribute the sound of it to Rochester... but part of the reason I wanted to move here is it felt like a very open-minded place in terms of music. I also got the impression that the craft of songwriter is respected here, and that's what I primarily consider my craft to be. So while it didn't influence the album, I had this feeling it would be a good town for the kind of music I do (which is actually a pretty wide variety when you look at my whole catalog).
I really think the music scene is something special here. It feels very collaborative and supportive, and overall I think the local scene is very healthy, which for the most part is not so true in bigger cities like Chicago. The quality of the local music scene is excellent, there is so much diversity in terms of genre and there is a desire to see live local music here which is refreshing.
You decided to release this album around Mother's Day-- could you tell us a bit about the themes of motherhood displayed on the album?
So that was actually just a happy accident! I didn't even see the connection until my PR manager pointed it out (she literally said "oh my gosh, I can actually pitch this thing!"... timing is everything 😉 ). But yes, motherhood is connected in some way to every song. Honestly, this is something I never really wanted to write about. I never even wanted people to know I was a mother because, let's be honest, when you say you are a (not already famous) musician who is also a young mom, people in the industry generally blow you off. At least that's been an experience. But the songs I was writing kept dealing with my experiences as a mother. I just couldn't escape it. And it hit me one day that this is not something truly recognized from an artistic standpoint in music. I didn't feel like there was much in the way of raw autobiographical songs about young motherhood. And maybe it's the most un-cool thing. But I basically said "you know what, this matters to me, and it probably matters to a bunch of other people" so, in the end, I decided to make an album about this experience, with the main intention of it being a gift to other young parents.
Have any of the songs on the album been written as children's songs? If so, do you have a different writing process for creating these songs?
One song is indeed a kids song, which is "The Bridge Song". Again, not something I ever wanted to do. The process was basically, "I don't want to write a kids song dammit!" but then I realized there was no other way to say what I wanted to say, so I did it and put it on the album. Funny enough, I get the most positive feedback on this song... Maybe we are all yearning to get in touch with our inner child 😁
How did you collaborate with other musicians to create 'Dreams on Hold'?
The collaboration was pretty organic. My general rule of thumb as a producer is to work with musicians who have a unique approach to music that I already like, and harness that approach to serve the song. I have some pretty clear ideas of how the song should go arrangement-wise, but I keep it loose enough so the musicians have the freedom to put their own special touch on it. Working with Shane Jonas is probably the best example of this. He came in to record on three of the songs within a 3-hour session, and with 0 notes on a page, for him to play. I love working with him because I appreciate his intuitive approach. I don't believe I can write a better trumpet part for him then what he will naturally come up with in the studio. Of course I give him ideas and feedback (sometimes specific, sometimes open-ended), but in the end, I let him play what felt right to him. Personally, that's magic to me, and I try to keep things loose enough to allow that magic to happen.
What does the term "family" mean to you-- and how do you find your definition of family appearing through the album?
Wow ... not sure how to answer that! Family in my experience is about love and sacrifice. Sacrifice might be a dirty work to some people, but for me, it's the line that divides what's worth living for and what isn't. You ultimately make sacrifices for what you love. Most of these songs were directed at one specific person or another in my family, and I think that's sort of how it is in real life. Each member of your family is unique and valuable in your life, and your relationship with them is unique in its struggles and moments of bliss.
What have been some of your greatest influences-- both musical and personal-- that have helped shape this release?
I sort of think of this album in two parts. The first half of it I'd say is influenced by classic and contemporary folk artists, in particular, women folk artists, for example, Allison Krauss, Joni Mitchell, Anais Mitchell, Brandi Carlile. The second half of it, I'd say Alan Touissant and New Orleans Jazz, in general, has been an influence. To me, it's storytelling that is to the point, with chord structures that are interesting and shape the mood so beautifully and with just the right amount of complexity. I wanted to emulate that to a certain degree.
What feelings do you hope listeners will experience while listening to 'Dreams on Hold'?
My hope is this album offers a rawness and vulnerability that will make people who hear it feel that they are not alone ... especially young parents. Every song either has a moment to make you laugh or make you cry, and it all comes from experiences that are unfiltered.
What can new fans expect to hear from you in the upcoming future in terms of shows, tours, etc.?
Well I'll definitely be playing quite a lot in the coming months from the midwest to New England and quite a bit in between. I'm excited to be performing these songs with a number of people, and I'll definitely be throwing in some of my older stuff as well as new songs that are not yet recorded, giving people a peak of what's to come (hint: it's pretty different!). I'm most excited about the album release show I'll be doing May 24 at Lovin Cup. I'll be joined by a terrific band of Eastman grads, and the bill includes The Lonely Ones and Dead Metaphor Cabaret, so it'll be a really exciting show! <<
Listen to 'Dreams on Hold' HERE!
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