In anticipation for Sarah Lou Richards’ upcoming concert in New Haven, Life section campus correspondent Alexis Taylor spoke with the musician about her life, music and college experience.
Based in Nashville, the folk-Americana artist infuses elements of pop, rock and country into her sound. Richards’ most recent album “Someone Who Gets Me” has been generously received and offers a personal look into the songwriter’s life.
Much like her music, Richards cannot be boiled down to a single sentence. Born and raised in Wisconsin and later in Madison, Connecticut, she found a sense of home within herself and in her music.
“Creating a home in whatever place I’m at is definitely something that’s a theme…in my work,” Richards said. “The more I’ve done it…the more I realize that... I’m the common thread, so I can create a home and a community where I’m at.”
While in college, both at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Connecticut, and at Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Richards studied music education. While in school, however, she learned more universal lessons such as the importance of balancing her life and prioritizing her commitments. These skills, while they may appear rudimentary, are applicable to Richards’s life as a musician, songwriter, teacher and businesswoman.
Richards said the songwriting and “honest, raw voices” of other musicians such as Brandy Carlile, Patty Griffin, Carole King and James Taylor inspire her work.
“They’re just so intense and it feels like they're sharing a secret or something really private about their lives,” Richards said.
It’s these personal stories, thoughts and feelings, Richards explained, that draw people into music to feel some kind of connection.
Ultimately, her passion for music and this idea of connectivity prompted her to move to Nashville, Tennessee, after one year of teaching music to early elementary school children.
“It seemed really exciting, the potential of being in a place where there were a lot of people like me that were kind of stumbling around trying to piece together a career of making music,” Richards said.
Richards emphasized the importance of setting small goals throughout her life, whether she was balancing work and getting her degree or managing the varied aspects of her career. The best advice she could give to students or young musicians is to “just be tireless,” Richards said. She stressed the importance of continuously, even painstakingly pursuing your passion with realistic goals.
“There’s not a magic button, there’s not an equation… You’re constantly just racing into the dark, but every day you get … more surefooted,” Richards said.
Richards returns to Connecticut in concert on Sunday, Nov. 12. She will be performing at Café Nine in New Haven.
Alex Taylor is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.