“The starkest conclusion is realising that, indeed, nothing should be taken for granted,” replies Greek music artist Sarah P. when asked what conclusions she draws from the global pandemic that we have suffered in the last 2 years. An interesting (and correct) reflection perfectly aligned with mental health and the importance of self-care, which are very present in her way of understanding music. She now premieres Faulty Humans on METAL, the first single out from her four-track Birdsong EP. And besides being a very authentic track loaded with meaning, it comes along with a music video that reflects an internal struggle.
But, who are the agents who fight is this internal conflict? “It’s between carefreeness and responsibility,” adds the artist, whose set of visualisers and photographs was shot shortly after an extreme snowstorm in Athens. Music has accompanied Sarah P. in the most crucial moments of her life, becoming a therapy itself, and she promises to continue exploring themes of nostalgia, loss and isolation through her creations. Her EP will be out on May 13th, stay tuned!
Sarah, for those who may don't know you yet, could you please introduce yourself? Where do you answer us from?
Hello from Athens! I'm a Greek music artist with a passion for poetry and lyric writing. I believe my music would classify as experimental pop, with new wave references here and there. Last but not least, I'm the proud mom of a 2 year old daughter named Pandora.
These last 2 years have opened our minds in many ways. Now it seems that we are much more aware of the vulnerability of human beings, and many people have even re-evaluated their lives and the path they had taken. What conclusions have you drawn and how has it affected your perception of the world?
Probably the starkest conclusion is realising that, indeed, nothing should be taken for granted. The truth is that it's been an unequalled time for my family, as it's coincided with entering parenthood and losing my father. When the backdrop against these significant life events is the pandemic and all the social and political issues it's brought to the surface, it's very easy for someone to feel overwhelmed and powerless. So, despite always being a ‘bigger picture’ kind of person, I guess I was inclined to look inwards and work on the relationships that matter to me. If I were to look at the positive outcomes, I would say that this period taught my family that we can persevere despite hardships. 
Mental health has always been very present in your music. How have you handled this difficult time emotionally-speaking?
Mental health is a big part of my life and my music. Frankly, because of that reason, I initially thought I had all the tools to navigate through this time. And I was totally wrong, as this was uncharted territory – not only for me but for the entire world. I realised that I needed to take a step back from advocacy and care for my own mental health in a meaningful way. So, I asked for help and (re)started therapy, which played a significant role in managing stress and emotions.
Finally, a year before the pandemic, I started studying for a degree in Health and Social Care. Little did I know that this decision would help me during this time, as it's encouraged me to rationalise certain aspects of the pandemic.
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You’re now premiering your new release Faulty Humans, the first single from your forthcoming four track Birdsong EP. And this sneak peek gives us a sense of desperation. What can you tell us about this new single?
It is the first time I wrote lyrics while ‘in the moment.’ As an over-thinker, I usually share my truth in writing – but in a highly curated way. And what I mean by that is that I'm no stranger to sharing what I call ‘processed emotions’ – the outcome of long periods of thinking and rounding off the edges. Faulty Humans came out through a completely different songwriting process. I delved into the emotion both musically and lyrically and created something perhaps more blunt and raw than my previous work but also more authentic.
Let's talk about the music video for this new track. There is no doubt that it contains great symbolism, and it is recorded in impressive locations where the connection with nature (and with oneself) seems fundamental. Did you have a clear idea that you wanted to reflect in the visual piece? How was the creative process?
You're absolutely spot on! What I wanted to convey was an internal fight between carefreeness and responsibility. This set of visualisers and photos was shot shortly after an extreme snowstorm in Athens, making this dream-like location even more beautiful and serene. I worked with an Athenian creative team that helped me bring my vision to life by adding their inspiration and style.
All elements – from the location to the styling, the makeup, the light, the frames and the composition – tell the story of a person ‘isolating’ to a mental space that feels safe in its void and nothingness. In combination with the music, it's meant to bring this urge to make a decision, come to a conclusion, and make a change. I'm usually in charge of my visuals, but this time around, I felt the need to collaborate and see what would come about from different creative ideas and perspectives kneaded together.
Faulty Humans is about that sense of frustration and helplessness that one might feel when they lose someone they love,” you’ve openly commented on the meaning behind your new single. How can we manage these emotions? Do you feel that music has helped you heal wounds?
Most certainly, yes. Both as a listener and a songwriter, music has carried me through, providing a soundtrack for the pivotal and the not-so-significant moments in life. Like every form of art, music has the power to reveal and heal wounds, sometimes even at the same time. I definitely see music as a tool that can help people process or escape their worries.
However, to answer the first part of your question, I'm afraid I have no good enough answer. It's an individual route towards healing, and what works for me might not work for someone else. So I'll just say that I think timing plays a key role and that some things take longer than we wish.
You will release your EP in over a month, but is there anything you can tell us about? Is this a new beginning in your music career?
I think it follows a similar path to my previous releases. However, it brings a different kind of energy and maturity, both musically and thematically. In some way, it reflects the time it was written and the way it was produced from a distance, between Athens and Berlin. Flavio (Gonnellini, the producer) and I had long conversations. We exchanged hundreds of texts about where we wanted the material to go. We were clear that we wanted to keep up with my hybrid sound that combines digital and analogue sounds.
Lyrically and aesthetically, I'm exploring the themes of nostalgia, loss and isolation – three topics that are very current at this particular moment in time. I genuinely hope that the listeners will resonate with my songs, interpret them based on their experiences and discover the glimpses of light and conviction hidden here and there as reassurance and encouragement.
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And what do you think of the current music scene? Are artists trying hard enough to open up to their audience and emotionally connect with their listeners?
I think the issue is that the music scene is led by the music industry and not by music lovers. Therefore, the artistry in what is put out there in the world even when we, as musicians and writers, have the most authentic intentions, gets watered down in our effort to keep up and stay afloat. What's more, there's so much noise in the digital world (rightfully and democratically so) that it can become overwhelming to ‘claim space’ and create a strong bond with the listener.
Over the years, I've struggled with my definition of success. Understanding that there's no recipe or linear route toward sustaining a career in music has been perplexing and liberating at the same time. The chances for making it ‘big’ in music get slimmer by the year, especially for a person like me: a 32-year-old mom from Greece. That's just the way it is, and I've got no energy to challenge this anymore.
Coming to terms with that has been a game-changer because I can enjoy releasing music or, in this particular moment, answering your questions without having to overthink the way I want to appear. I think that's the issue many of us face, we're told there's only one way to do things. You need to get signed to a label, hire a publicist, release a lot of music and play live shows. If you don't follow that path or don't get signed, you're treated like a lesser artist who needs to work harder. So, naturally, many artists feel compelled to play by the book, which can potentially lead to a different relationship with their audience that's more transactional or people-pleasing at times. I'm not judging it because I’m guilty of it myself. As long as we’re conscious of our susceptibility to this industrialised work style, we can be confident that we can build an honest relationship with our audience.
If you had to recommend us a singer or musician, who would it be and why?
Technically it's not a recommendation because she's already a beaming star in her own right, but I absolutely adore Arlo Parks. I think she deserves to dominate our playlists and screens for the longest of times. It is her lyrics, for me, that make her the voice of her generation, without alienating the younger or the older as the foundation of her work is sublimely relatable.
And beyond your next EP and this new release, what are your future plans? Any dream to fulfil?
I can already say that I'm planning to share a lot of music by the end of the year. As for my music dreams and wishes, I want to collaborate more with others. So we'll see what the future holds!
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