Sarah Jane Nelson
Feed the Band
Feed the Band
Sarah Jane Nelson
“Age is only a number” that line seem’s to echo through time. As I get older, that echo gets louder, and with my recent experiences, I’m starting to believe it. I simply have a more positive view of the direction of my life than I did in my twenties. I reflected on the reason for this a few weeks ago, and one conclusion stood out. I am making fewer mistakes. Having a youthful approach to life is something everyone can do, but it takes experience to avoid the numerous pitfalls life throws in your way. Like me, country artist Sarah Jane Nelson has figured this out and has brought her unique insight to Feed the Band.
We have featured many young female artists here, and each of them has earned their spot. They put in the work. However, many of them struggle in one big area. They don’t know where they fit in this world they live in. These young women try to follow the path of their heroes and then end up feeling they have come up short. This is far from the case. They have simply started making their way, and that path is not cleared by someone else. Learning who you are takes countless mistakes, and the only way to avoid them is through experience.
Sarah Jane Nelson and I have one big thing in common. We have started over and changed direction more than once. Each time we have been able to charge down a path faster and harder because of our ability to dodge mistakes and maintain an awareness of our shortcomings. A sailor who has sailed the open sea finds it much easier to ride uncharted waters than someone who hasn’t left the shoreline.
Sarah has used her experience as an actress to springboard her as a country artist quite successfully. One skill needed that is parallel between acting and songwriting is the ability to tap into your emotions. Whether you are jumping into someone else’s life or telling a personal story, being able to tap into your own emotions is paramount to making such stories come to life. Sarah Jane Nelson pulls you into her music almost effortlessly. Her single “I’m Not Broken” grabbed me unexpectantly. Fragility is not usually something a man wants to experience, but I couldn’t help but feel it listening.
Experience helps, but it doesn’t always give you the ability to stay afloat or push you forward. For example, I played piano for six years as a child, but I can only remember a few cords today. Heart and talent with the piano were things that I lacked. Fortunately, that is not the case with Sarah Jane Nelson regarding music. Out of all the artists I have interviewed, Sarah has been one of my favorites to interview. Although she may have had some setbacks putting her heart on the line in relationships, it has elevated her in so many ways musically.
Sarah Jane Nelson's Latest Video
Interviewing Sarah has been interesting. At times, I didn’t know who was the interviewer or interviewee. She will tell you her story, but at the same time, try to extract yours. She likes connecting with people, and over the past couple of years, that is what we have done. I feel our lives will be forever entwined. She has become family.
I encourage you to get to know Sarah and her music. To help start that process, we did an interview. While you are reading, be on the lookout for the One Pot Chicken and Saffron Rice recipe Sarah inspired and the giveaway at the end. Here is our interview with country artist Sarah Jane Nelson.
Tell us about your road to country music.
My road began with country music. Some of my first memories are of
traveling in the motor home with my Mammy and Pappy (Grandma
and Grandpa) to bluegrass festivals around Arkansas, Missouri, and
Oklahoma. The music, the harmonies, and the kind, country folks felt like my people. As I grew up, I was influenced in the 80’s and 90’s by great storytellers like Dolly, Reba, Garth, George Strait, and also lots of records and CDs of classic country greats like Bobbie Gentry, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and Willie Nelson. When I was 17, I moved from Louisiana to New York City, where I embarked on a 20-year career that included acting, musical theatre, tv, and film. In 2013 I moved to Nashville and reconnected with my country music roots through songwriting.
We talked a little bit about your acting career. What do you feel are
some important things you have learned in that industry that has
contributed to you as an artist?
I’ve learned so much in my acting career that has helped me in my
life as a songwriter and artist! First, making it on Broadway in New
York took so much dedication to the craft of acting, singing, dancing , and the business as well. I couldn’t have gotten the roles and jobs I got without very hard training that kept progressing me as an artist as well as the mailing to casting directors, website design I taught myself to do, early morning standing in line for open calls. It’s the same with songwriting. Hard work pays off. I continue to study the craft and have seen so much growth in my artistry and writing over the years. I also put a lot of time into my brand, online presence, creating visual content like photos and videos, and staying up to date with other artists by seeing live music. I don’t sit around waiting for opportunities to come to me. I hustle like I did in my acting career and it’s paid off. The other thing that I learned from my acting career is that the life of an artist is a journey, not a destination. My original dream was to perform on Broadway. When I did my first Broadway show, it didn’t feel like I’d “made it.” I wanted more. I know now that the whole point is the journey, the growth, the process.
So many performers are trying to “make it” and that sets them up for
disappointment, depression, and heartache. Each day that I create
music that means something to me and/or someone else, I’ve made
it. As soon as I started living that way, my songs became so much
more genuine and impactful to my listeners. I write songs for the love of the process and the healing that storytelling brings to me.
Who are your top 3 influences, and how did they shape you as an
Dolly Parton – Dolly was the soundtrack to my childhood. Her sweetness mixed with great business sense and courage to be 100% herself is a huge inspiration to me.
Willie Nelson – Also a soundtrack to my childhood, Willie’s voice
makes me so happy. He is an honest storyteller with an authentic country sound that isn’t trying to be anything he’s not. Willie melts my heart when he sings.
Garth Brooks – I hate to just have three picks, but I feel compelled to mention Garth. His songs are among my favorites of all time. The Thunder Rolls, Unanswered Prayers, Baton Rouge, The Dance, The River. All those hits came at a very formative time in my life, and I think that you can hear his influence on my songwriting, especially when I write solo. It’s all I can do to not make every song sound like the 80s and 90s country. I just love Garth. He stands up for social justice while embracing his country roots. I feel that he is the greatest live performer of all time as he can stand on a stage in a 15k seat arena and make an audience member feel like I’m getting a private concert in Garth’s living room. He shares intimacy with his audience and that has been a great inspiration to me in the studio and also when performing live.
What is the best way to start the day?
I wake up early and love to snuggle in a blanket on the couch with my laptop to get work done. A quiet house early in the morning makes
me very happy.
What fad or trend to hope comes back?
Perms. I have a God-given perm so if curls would come back, I’d be
Connect with Sarah
We are constantly developing recipes here at Southern Fellow. When
writing music, what recipe do you use?
I start with an idea. Sometimes inspiration strikes while driving,
showering, or hiking. I sing the idea with lyric and melody into my
phone and then use those voice memos later when it’s time to sit
down to write. The recipe that I feel is most important is the follow
though that happens after the inspiration. It takes hard work to
craft a great song and you can’t get discouraged when it feels hard. I think of it as a puzzle I’m trying to solve with words and emotions all intertwined with melody and chords. The recipe is all about doing the work to get the song to the highest level it can be.
What is unique about the place you grew up?
I was born in Little Rock and have a lot of roots in Arkansas, but
much of my growing up happened in Northeast Louisiana (Monroe).
Bayou Desiard and the Ouachita River provide lots of opportunities
for boating, fishing, and fun times on jet skis. I used to love getting on the jet ski on the river outside my dad’s house on a calm day and it felt like I was flying across the still water. I would go so fast and yell, “Yeeee-Haw!” My dad is a big hunter so it’s also pretty unique that I grew up in a house with lots of taxidermied animals. Lots of deer, an elk, turkey, ducks, and much more including an 8 ft alligator he killed behind his house. It was delicious eating! When you sleep on the couch in his game room your head is right next to the gator with it’s mouth wide open. That can be quite shocking for friends who aren’t used to Louisiana life on the bayou!
What is your first fond memory of food?
My first fond memory of food would have to be homemade ice cream
made with ice and rock salt in the summertime. That noisy machine
produced some of the most delicious ice cream! I haven’t thought of
that in years, so now I’m thinking I should get one for making ice
cream this summer! No kidding. I just went online and ordered one!
Try this inspired recipe!
What is a piece of advice you often give but find yourself
struggling to follow?
This is a good question. I’d say I struggle the most with staying focused. I wear a lot of different hats in my life as a mom of two teens, busy songwriter and artist, a college student finishing my degree at MTSU, and also my money job as a Nashville Realtor (www.EverybodyLovesNashville.com in case anyone wants to
talk Nashville real estate investing). With so much going on, I do have a hard time focusing on one thing at a time. I often have 20-30 tabs open on my internet browser at a time. I just counted and it’s 27 tabs open right now. Haha. I tell people my tricks for getting so much done in a day, but I too fall prey to multi-tasking and distractions. My words for the year are FOLLOW THROUGH. That is all about finishing the tasks I begin and
If you wrote a song about food, what would it be about?
I’d write about my mama’s chocolate sheet cake that had a little
buckshot in it once. Now that’s a country song if I ever heard one!
What do you feel people take for granted the most?
Time. Now that I’m in my 40s, I really feel how time speeds up as it
passes. When you’re a child, a day can seem to last a year. Now, the
weeks, months, and years are beginning to fly by. My oldest is a
junior in high school and it blows my mind. Yesterday she was my tiny baby girl. Life is short and it’s definitely going to end eventually. None of us get out of here alive. Interestingly, that realization that time is moving fast in a source of inspiration for me. I have so many songs inside and I want to share as many as I can before my time on Earth is through.
What do you hope to achieve in the next two years?
In the next two years, I’m hope to make my full living doing creative work. I love making music videos and have thought of turning that into a business. I also love teaching marketing to creatives so that is another business option. I will always have involvement in Nashville real estate, but I would like for the bulk of my income to come from creativity.
What is one of the weirdest things you used to do as a
When I was a teen there was no internet (Lord I sound old) and I
loved to read the World Book Encyclopedia Set we had in the living room bookshelf. Even before I traveled the world, I was able to learn so much and explore other cultures through the big set of navy blue books with gold trim. Our World Books were a country girl’s version of Google.com, and I loved it!
What’s the most valuable life lesson you have learned because
of a mistake?
Great question. I have learned A LOT from my past relationships. I’ve learned what I want and don’t want, but more importantly, I’ve learned how to see people for who they are and not for what I hope they’ll be. That applies to myself as well. We all do the best we can, and breakups are not “failures” but very courageous moments of action that clear the space for the right person to come along. I’m proud of the journey I’ve taken and where I ended up today.
Is there anything else you want your family at Southern Fellow to
I’m just so grateful to be a part of the Southern Fellow family. Not only is this site a wonderful place for unique, delicious recipes, I feel a sense of community and support from all the incredible artists and Patrick as well. His passion for food and music blends together beautifully, and he is so supportive and encouraging. As an independent artist, that means the world to me. I feel honored to be here! Thanks for listening and I hope you love this recipe! Yum
Thank you for reading our interview with Sarah Jane Nelson. She is has been part of the family for awhile and it’s exciting to have her on Feed the Band. If you were you I would add all of Sarah’s music to your favorite playlist. She is everywhere including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, and YouTube. While you are listening, be sure to check out that tasty One Pot Chicken with Saffron Rice Recipe she inspired and end the giveaway at the bottom. Thank you for reading this interview. We have more music, recipes and concerts on the way!