Sara Shankar is releasing her debut single titled “Scriptures” on August 30, 2019,,inspired by a love letter and an internal fight for self-worth. Shankar seamlessly blends elements from pop, rock, and traditional Indian ragas to create this beautiful and passionate single.
Sara Shankar, 17, is a songwriter, producer, and singer from Texas. She started piano lessons when she was only four years old, and began making her own songs, discovering her gift of perfect pitch and songwriting along the way.
“Creating music is my way of channeling emotions from the present moment,” says Shankar.
Shankar also began producing her own music a few years ago to bring her music to life, and has founded the PIXAPOP Girls Camp. Stanford University’s SHE++ Initiative and the National Center of Women in Technology have recognized her for her efforts in closing the gender gap in music technology.
LONDON POST INTERVIEW WITH SARA SHANKAR
Thanks for your time today! How has 2019 been treating you? Musically, did you approach this year any differently than you did last year?
Thank you for having me! 2019 has been a lovely year. I’ve had some incredible moments of growth mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. This year, I have a more sincere approach musically with the world. I’m releasing some of my most personal songs to the world under my name.
Where does this interview find you today? Is there music playing in the background? What music gets you instantly out of a bad mood?
I actually just finished doing some daily meditation. There’s always music playing in the background. Right now, it’s some James Bay and Robinson. Honestly, music sort of perpetuates the mood I’m already in. Rather than pulling me out, music puts me more in touch with my feelings.
Growing up, have you always wanted to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
Truthfully, no haha. I wanted to be a “ballerina princess ice-skater.” As a kid, my imagination failed to have a limit. When I was five, I won a poem contest. I wrote about how I wanted to be a “ballerina princess ice-skater” and “pick people up when they fell down” on the ice. It’s kind of embarrassing that the poem is still up in my local ice rink – 12 years later!
My first connection to pop music was really raw and natural. My parents enrolled me in piano lessons when I was about four. Instead of practicing, I made up my own songs. During car rides, I would press my ear against the speaker and just listen to the radio. Back then, I didn’t understand that I had perfect pitch or followed pop songwriting structure. I just let it happen. Somehow, I gravitated towards pop music without even realizing it.
If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing?
I would probably want to be a therapist or an entrepreneur. I love connecting, creating, and executing. I’m in high school right now, and there are so many doors for me to open. A couple days ago, my friend gave me her diary to read. It was genuinely eye-opening to see another person’s point of view. It makes me wonder what more I can explore in the world? I’m incredibly blessed to have the freedom to pave my own path.
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now.
Currently, I live in College Station, Texas. My hometown has shaped my music through the human experiences it’s given me. I’ve grown up here so the coffee shops and streets are layered with years and years of memories. From ridiculously hilarious mistakes I’ve made to my first heartbreak, every emotion I’ve felt here pours into melodies that run through my veins and words that intoxicate my head.
Let’s talk about your newest SINGLE called “Scriptures”. Where did the inspiration for this SINGLE come from?
When I made “Scriptures”, I was at a point in my life where I psychologically needed constant external appreciation. I literally needed someone to tell me that I was beautiful and loved to feel beautiful and loved. I started dating a guy who would write me love notes and letters. The title, “Scriptures” refers to love letters. I put my faith in the sweet words he said. Even though he wasn’t the right person for me, I let my self-worth be determined by those words. I was gullible and indulgent, but I didn’t care.
How do you think that being a musician has helped you live your best life? Can you talk about the joy that it brings you today?
Creating music grounds me in the present moment. Growing up, I’ve struggled with mental and emotional disorders. They have negatively affected my life as a high schooler in advanced classes and competitive swimmer. Without music, I’m not sure if I would be sane. Whenever I feel something intense, I bask in that emotion and create a song about it without judging myself. Making music is a practice of mindfulness; maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness with myself.
I feel aligned with the universe when I finish a song. It’s an inexplicable feeling of pure awe. Like – I’m capable of this?? I can’t do a physics problem or drive a car to save my life, but I can create this?? Listening to a newly finished song at 3 am in my room is a beautiful moment that I feel at a spiritual level.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
THERE ARE MORE BOPS ON THE WAY. Also, I plan on living my life to the fullest every single day — meditating, sleeping 8 hours at night, hydrating, exercising, laughing, and crying too.
Who are some of your very favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music?
Lorde and Julia Michaels. I have spent a significant portion of my life annotating Lorde and Julia Michaels songs. Quite frankly, my friends and family think I’m obsessed.
What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
I’m a huge fan of women in music, not just female singers, but also songwriters, producers, and audio engineers. It’s super inspiring to see badass female songwriters and producers like Julia Michaels, Emily Warren, TRAKGIRL, Madame Gandhi, Brooke Tomlinson, Asia Whiteacre, Kate Nash, Aijia Grammer, and LYRE in the industry. As of now, it would be a dream come true for me to work with Liz Horsman. She’s a songwriter, producer, and audio engineer who has worked on some of my favorite Gabrielle Aplin and Rudimental songs. I have also learned so much from her podcast, “The Voice of the Calm,” where she spreads wisdom on mindfulness.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
Embrace the present moment – joy or pain. When I write and produce songs, I embrace my extreme emotions rather than escape them. Like I say in Scriptures, “I know you’re bad for me, but the ink bleeds on me.” That line is a metaphor where I’m really saying, “I’m letting your words flatter me.” Oh yeah! I’ve let people’s words seep under my skin. I allow myself to feel excited, impulsive, or hurt. And it’s okay. Don’t be afraid to sincerely feel the things you feel. You truly live when you dive in.
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