Sarah Lawton is a UK-born singer/songwriter who has proven herself in Nashville ever since she moved there in 2014. Her new summer single “Malibu” is her first release since her 2017 EP, Diamonds in the Dust.
I got the chance to talk to her about how she originally got into making and performing music, her single “Malibu”, her career aspirations and so much more. Keep reading to see what she had to say!
Tell me a little bit about how you first got into making and performing music.
Wow. It just feels like I’ve done it forever. I kind of started taking it seriously though around 13/14 years old back [when I was] in England. I started performing professionally over there and started touring and kind of getting bigger gigs. Eventually, I thought “I want to head to Nashville” and was lucky enough to come over on a trip one day and just completely fell in love with the city. I got a management deal here so they sponsored me for a visa and got me out here. I started writing, recording and just absolutely loved it. And yeah, it seems like a short story but it was a lot longer than that [laughs].
You talked about how you started playing music professionally while you were over in the UK, but was there a specific moment or person that made you realize that music is what you wanted to do professionally and make a career out of?
I think I always had the inclination that I wanted to perform. I used to always be in theatrical shows and I used to do dancing. I was in one professional production at ten years old and it was [during] that that I came home one night and I said to my mom and dad, “I want to sing. I want to be a professional singer.” And they were so supportive and my dad was like, “Okay darling. We’re going to help you. Let’s do whatever we can.” They got me singing lessons and they bought me a keyboard and I started kind of composing my own songs. I think it was mainly then, around 10 years old, when I thought, “This is what I want to do.”
Something I’m always curious about is what artists want to convey with their music. Your sound would probably be typically classified as country, but if you had to describe it without using genre names, how would you describe the music you create?
Wow. I would definitely say, country pop but I’ve always been a big advocate of women empowerment. [In] all of my songs, I want to build girls up. I want to inspire other girls that maybe sad at home in England or wherever they are and think Nashville is so far out of reach that they couldn’t ever get here. I want them to think, “You know what I can do anything. I don’t need anyone to tell me that I’m amazing or beautiful or talented. I can do this.” I’m just all about building other women up and I hope my music reflects that too. I hope also that you can hear other influences in my music because it wasn’t just country that grew up listening to. Stevie Nicks, Annie Lennox, Karen Carpenter, so many different influences and I hope that all comes out in my music too.
So let’s talk about your new single, “Malibu”. What inspired this song?
Well I didn’t actually write the song. This is the first song that I accepted from another writer. I began this project like late last year and started accepting songs too from other writers that I’ve never done before, but I just wanted to kind of open the net and search for different songs that I not necessarily would do. And I heard this [from Ben Goldsmith] and I just thought, “This is a summer hit. This is amazing. I just love this song” so I decided to record it. We kind of changed certain bits and just adapted it and made it my own. But as soon as I heard this song, I could relate to it. I thought it’s just a great, feel good, empowerment song that makes people just want to turn it up and have a good time.
I know this was the first single you’ve released since 2017. What made now the right time to put out new music? What did you learn about yourself both as an artist and personally in the time since you released your last project?
I think I’m continuously learning. That’s the great thing about living in Nashville too. We’re surrounded by these just incredible musicians that I get to play with on my gigs every day. Just being surrounded by great writers here that have written hit songs and continuously learning how to develop as a writer and as an artist. And performing to different people from all over the world, getting to meet different people that inspires you too; hearing different stories and life in general, really. A lot has happened in my own life to make me just kind of change and grow. I got married and things that, a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have ever dreamed could happen but it did. It’s just been an incredible journey, especially the last two years; they’ve been really, really busy but really, really great.
That’s awesome. I know you also got to shoot a music video for this. What was that process like? Was this your first time shooting an official music video?
Oh it was great. It wasn’t the first video I shot. I’ve done probably a couple more before this, but it was definitely the most fun because I just got to kind of invite my friends along. We had fun in the sunshine. We got to ride around in a convertible car. We kind of planned it out really well before. We had a great director, so we knew exactly the shots that we were going for, we knew the location. So we just had fun with it. It was tiring; it was a really long day, but everybody was in great spirits. We got the perfect sunset too, which we were really excited about.
That’s awesome. Was it a one day process?
It was. We started at about 6:00 a.m. and we went till about 9:00 p.m. that night.
That’s a long day.
Yeah. It was a long day [laughs].
Wow. So “Malibu” just came out, but do you have any other upcoming singles or an EP or a full length project coming out?
Yeah, I do. So we start the radio tour next week in New York for “Malibu”. We’re going to go a few weeks with that, keep on promoting and hopefully see where that takes us. And then later on this year, we have a follow up single called “Stubborn” that we’re going just do the same process and get that out there too. So that’s ready to go.
That’s awesome. What are some of your music industry related goals or benchmarks that you’re aiming to reach in your career in the next couple of years?
I think definitely touring on a wider scale. I really want to be able to travel more of America and just see a lot more, get out on the road next spring. Working with writers that I love to just get into writing room with. Keep on writing and collaborating with some of my idols and performing like wider field of bigger venues.
Is there a place that you’re dying to go and perform at?
The Opry would be great. That would be amazing. That would be my goal right now. I would love that.
Last question – our website called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner-nerd. So what is something you are currently nerding out about?
Oh wow. In music or…..
In whatever. It can be music, it can be not music. Whatever.
I don’t know. I mean I’ve always been a bit of a nerd. I’m currently in the process of moving. I’m super OCD about things like that, so I’m currently cleaning and organizing and have to have everything in a certain place.