Guitarist and singer Sarah Goodin performs at the Chuckanut Radio Hour event that features author Brian Doyle on Thursday, June 26, at Whatcom Community College's Heiner Theater. Here's a little about her life as a musician.
Question: Have you always envisioned a musical life?
Answer: I never allowed myself to imagine I would be a musician, as a child. I couldn't see myself as a performer. I was always shy, and music was so impractical a job, so it seemed a radical thing!
But, in high school, my best friend insisted that I audition for choir with her, and so I did. Once I began singing regularly, and found I had a little aptitude, and a huge appetite for music and performance, I never wanted to do anything else.
Actually, my grades in all my other classes suffered much! I was so lucky to have an amazing choir teacher, Kay Hageman at Sehome High School, who expected and taught excellence in our music program. It was through her I learned much of my current practices in annunciation, breath control, and all the essential technical skills that go into honing a musical craft.
Public school arts education is the reason I am the musician I am today.
Q: Do you have a day job?
A: I am a merchandiser for a local food company. It is very physical work, and keeps me in shape, while leaving space for my brain to think about music.
Also, I am a full-time parent of a lovely 8-year-old who keeps me happy and centered. Being a parent really helps me prioritize what is important in my life and keeps me further grounded than comes naturally!
Q: If someone has never heard your music, how would you describe it?
A: I play solo music, both acoustic and electric guitar. I write my own material and sing originals, but when I play solo I perform covers as well.
I try to sing the songs that matter to me, that convey how I feel and give a sense of catharsis and connection with audience. The best part of performance is to know that it wasn't just playing; I was also a part of something good in people's lives.
For the part of me that loves distortion, I also have a band, sarah in the wild. We're a four piece; I sing and play guitar, Jake Werrion plays bass, Dave Batdorf is our lead guitarist and Cade Capp is our drummer.
We play moodier, darker pieces, and for this I find myself singing passionately, and with greater range than I ever thought I could. I write the original lyrics and melodies as well, but all the development and arrangement for our band is done together. Collaborating with these guys has been game-changing and really impacted my song writing.
I also recently began trying my hand at composing instrumental piano and guitar pieces. These little compositions tend to be pretty spare, but convey feeling and mood, as well, I think. They are more influenced by my ongoing love and admiration for classical music and film scores.
Q: Are you nervous before a show?
A: I am always nervous, every time. The worst part is that my nerves manifest themselves in forgetfulness, too, so I'm always forgetting things before shows - EPs, capos, picks, set lists! I've forgotten it all.
Luckily, I have a close-knit group of friends who know this about me and help me remember ... and sometimes even bring picks of their own! To calm myself, especially before a big performance, I like to start out my set with a few songs I love best, and the songs I'm most familiar with, so the beginning of every show is almost like a ritual. Once I'm through my first few songs, I'm more comfortable, and can branch out into new territory comfortably warmed up and ready for anything.
Q: What's ahead for you?
A: Right now I have so many opportunities to make music, and I'm continuing to try to branch out and make a living writing and performing. I'm recording a new solo album with my producer, Joe Douglas. Joe has been a delight to work with and has some incredible innovative ideas about developing some of my newest pieces, which are somewhat darker and more complex than my EP from 2012, "Sleep."
I'm also working on recording an album with my band, sarah in the wild, which I can't wait to release. Our sound has really come together so well in the last year of gigging, so we're ready to record what we've developed and share it.
And, finally, I'm composing new instrumental works for film, including a new project with Eliott Glasser, and ongoing works with Dan Hammill, director of the "Good Time Girls" documentary.
In the meantime, it's summer vacation for my son, so I'm looking forward to lots of time outside! The future is busy!
CHUCKANUT RADIO HOUR
When: Thursday, June 26. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; guests must be seated by 6:45 as the show begins promptly at 7.
Where: Heiner Center Theater, Whatcom Community College, 231 W. Kellogg Road.
More: Author Brian Doyle will be interviewed about his latest novel, "The Plover."