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Sarah Elizabeth Foster

How would you describe your music?

My first album was in a soulful folk genre, but my second album is going to move towards 60s soul music like Dusty Springfield, Francoise Hardy, and the Supremes.

What is your role in your band? In the studio? In business or marketing decisions?

I'm the artist and I formed my band, I raised money to start my own record label and music publishing company. I make all the decisions. I hired a producer to be in charge in the studio.

Describe your gear.

My gear is my voice.

Related Themes: Gear

Do you think being a woman and a musician is different from being a man and a musician? If so, how? Was there a moment that made a difference clear to you?

In terms of other independent female artists like me, I find they second guess themselves a lot and don't always ask for what they want from their male band members. That could also be attributed to having a "singers complex" where we don't feel respected as musicians. I find that although I have a degree in voice and have sung my entire life and studied under some of the best teachers in the world, my musicians like to give me singing advice. I find it infuriating. I would never advise my viola player on how to hold his bow! But I find that my female string players are really pretty tough. They ask for more money, they act very professionally, I've been very impressed by that. They've acted more professionally than my male string players have who tend to be late and ask for way too much money.

Do you see differences between generations of women musicians?

This is an interesting question because I think the answer is that there's not much difference. I do have a great aunt who gave up music after going to a conservatory because she got married, but that was right after World War II, which was a long time ago. I think because women are excepted to earn just as much as men now, we are actually encouraged not to go into music because the idea is that it doesn't pay well. I can imagine that in past generations, if the family had money, they thought it was a great idea for a woman to study music in college because she wasn't going to actually have a career anyway and music is a nice skill to have.

Related Themes: Off The Clock

Did anyone ever give you any valuable advice about making your way in the music industry? What advice would you give to a woman musician just starting out?

"People over the years have always told me to learn as much about the business as possible, so I did that for sure. I also had a female teacher try to claim ownership of my songs and it was very upsetting. For a while I didn't want to collaborate with anyone because if that. But my other long-time teacher and mentor told me that I had to risk it and go out and work with other people because I was living like a hermit! Well, that was some of the best advice I've ever gotten. The next week I hired my producer and started recording my first album.

My advice to a woman starting out would be, do whatever you want. Do whatever you want with your business decisions, with your music, with your live show. Don't be afraid or intimidated by people and don't live for others. Live for yourself, do whatever you want, and make the music you want. Think up the ideas and do them. "

Related Themes: Advice

Why did you choose to play the instrument you play?

"I was born with an amazing gift that was obvious to everyone who I encountered musically since birth practically, so I feel that my instrument chose me. I then enjoyed that voice so much and honed it with training until it became as good as it could be.

At four years old, my mother put me in piano lessons where we would sing and play the pitches at the same time. She also put me in ballet where I was able to not only dance, but develop my rhythm and artistry. "

Related Themes: The First Time