For Sara Syms, the songs on her upcoming album, The Darkest Light, (due out in August 2022) are an echo of her past, as well as a bold step forward. Before becoming a solo artist and recording two Americana records (Way Back Home and Fade To Blue, the latter garnering a nomination for the International Music and Entertainment Awards’ Americana Album of the Year), she fronted a number of bands that provided, to varying degrees, supportive sonic environments for her pure but powerfully emotive voice.
But in the wake of 2015’s Way Back Home, Sara could no longer push aside questions about her music and herself that had been brewing inside. She no longer felt the desire to write for genre—rather than from the heart—and began to find the music business constricting. Concurrently, she felt a need to reconnect with herself and also renew her ongoing struggle with depression.
“Soon I was writing new songs that felt like I was arriving at an understanding of truths about the world and myself,” Sara says. With a renewed sense of purpose and of self, she pushed outside of her comfort zones, re-calibrating the sound and focus of her music to create The Darkest Light.
Sara came to music early, with supportive parents providing a lot of opportunities. Violin, piano and singing were all in play from age five. She let violin slide after high school, but minored in piano in college. Landing in New York after college, she spent a lot of time collaborating: “For a good five, six years in the beginning of my music career in New York, I was just in lot’s of other people’s bands.” But it was only a matter of time before she would go the solo route. “The second that I started doing some gigs, that’s when I really knew that this was something I wanted to do.” While singing with others, she was working on original material that was just waiting for her to take the solo spotlight.
Reflecting on her motivation to get her soul-baring music out to the masses, Sara says, “I think it’s so cathartic to write for myself, but it’s even more cathartic to share it with other people…You know there might be that connection that you make with someone that you have no idea who they are but you do share this intimate connection—something that they resonate with in your lyrics or music.”
By Dan Walsh