Songwriter Spotlight: Sarah Harralson
“I don't like to put myself in a box. You need to wear multiple hats today. I love production and group them together,” Sarah Harralson
Last week, I met with Singer-Songwriter Sarah Harralson in the studio. Working in artist royalties, she has experienced a different side to the music industry. Artists and songwriters alike usually align themselves with a PRO such as BMI or ASCAP so they are able to collect their royalties. This experienced songwriter even has her music placed in Norwegian TV Shows.
Nashville local, Sarah Harralson, is a 26 year old powerhouse making waves through the music industry. With a degree from Belmont University, she learned how to grow her career. She said, “It’s about how much you’re willing to put into Belmont. You have to go out there and join organizations to get connections. It’s about finding internships on your own. Belmont is very credible and well worth it, but I wanted to put in the effort myself.” Sarah had joined clubs such as Service Corps to network at music industry events. She did co-writes with a few students from Belmont, but most of her connections have been outside of the university. She describes co-writing as helping songwriters grow with each other and with their own writing.
Being an artist, Sarah is gravitating towards the hotel scenes and places that pay instead of a full Broadway set. What some tourists don’t understand is that people outside of Broadway still play shows and mostly for free. As songwriters, we mainly live off of tips because of how difficult it is to have a publishing or licensing deal. So many artists, including Sarah, are choosing to stay independent for as long as they can. It is very important to properly introduce yourself to venues. One sheets, for example, are really important so that the venues don’t have to go through lengths to find your links and music. It’s so hard with publishing deals because they barely pay the rent and it’s not possible to make a full income with it anymore. The dream is not to have a deal in Nashville, but it’s all about what people can offer. Harralson has done her own outreach, marketing and management. However, for her released music, she does work with producers that help her build tracks that are release quality. She runs her own social media and runs her own campaigns. An important app that plays a valuable role in an artist‘s life is Canva. Personally, this is what I use as well to make my album covers. It is easy and functional, and for the most part free. When you can save money somewhere, it always goes to something more important, like a CD release party or an impressive master track.
What is unique about Sarah is that she is great at production herself. She involves herself with companies like SoundBetter where she can mix anyone’s track, and also lay down vocals for others that ask her. She has recurring clients that enlist her help in building vocal takes for their music. She is a genuine person that takes her work seriously. Sarah knows her way around a DAW and people respect her for it.
When I asked Sarah what had been one of her biggest accomplishments so far in the music industry, she replied, “Getting the past couple of deals with producers that want to work. They want to pay for my recordings, and that is a big step in my artist career.”
I can honestly say that Sarah sounds like Natalie Mains from the Chicks. There is that folk influence with country. I loved listening to her song, “The Chance.” It sounds like it could be the sister song to Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson. It has beautiful guitar overlays and vocals. The mix is a great quality. This song is radio ready. I would give this song structure a solid 8 out of 10. You can hear where the verses and choruses come in. This is a very easy song to identify key features. The lyrics have a 2000s feel and style. The Chance most definitely could have been pitched to Fearless Taylor Swift. Writing wise, I can tell her inspiration has been from Brandi Clark. Mature elements of song structures and rhyme schemes are noteworthy in The Chance.
I can also hear the Dixie Chicks sound in this song and in Sarah’s voice as well. The intro is a perfect length and Sarah Harralson’s strength is melody and song structure. The Chance is a great arrangement and a great story.