Sara Skinner: Pop-Rock-Soul Musician
Jessica Gilbert: Sara, it’s great to have you here. Thanks for doing an interview for TSM.
Sara Skinner: Thanks for having me. I’m so excited to be featured this month!
Jessica Gilbert: What inspired you to become a musician?
Sara Skinner: Besides not being very athletic, I’ve always loved playing instruments, singing and writing songs. As a little kid, artists like Avril Lavigne and Pink inspired me to play the guitar. I started taking music seriously after my parents encouraged me to enter a singer-songwriter competition about three years ago. I had never had any training with writing my own music when I entered, but somehow I was voted into the top 10 by the nation. That really pushed me to believe in myself more as a musician.
Jessica Gilbert: I know that you taught yourself how to play piano, bass and guitar at an early age. Is there one instrument in particular that you prefer playing over the others? How long did it take for you to learn to play them?
Sara Skinner: Personally, I prefer the sound of guitars, but I like to switch it up. I started playing electric guitar in fourth grade, and acoustic guitar and piano in ninth grade. My parents actually made me take piano lessons when I was super little, but I wasn’t into it at the time. I recently discovered my abilities on the bass guitar when a friend showed me that the strings are tuned just like the lowest four strings of a guitar.
Jessica Gilbert: Tell us a little bit about your EP Unchangeable.
Sara Skinner: My EP is made up of five original songs that I wrote on my own. The songs I chose were the ones that I felt best introduced who I was. We actually rushed to make this EP, finishing in three days. I was getting these big gigs in LA and New York, and meeting all of these awesome producers and songwriters, but had nothing to put in their hands. I felt like the EP was necessary so that everyone would know who I am as a songwriter and what direction that I’m headed in musically. I’m currently co-writing some new material with several different writer/producers in LA, and working to take the music to the next level. I think everyone will be surprised with the new sound. It’s still rock, but I love where we are headed with it.
Jessica Gilbert: What’s your process for writing lyrics? And where do you get the inspiration for your songs?
Sara Skinner: I really don’t have a specific songwriting process. Sometimes I make it up in my head, record it on my phone and put music to it later…or I start playing chord progressions and just begin singing words that I feel. Recently, a producer and I worked together to make the music and melody first, and afterwards I wrote the lyrics. Mostly, I write with the guitar, but a lot of my favorite songs come from writing with the piano. The songs that I write are inspired by my own experiences, others’, movies, other songs, TV shows and stories. Sometimes I hear people say phrases, read tweets, or see a post that just sticks out to me as song-worthy.
Jessica Gilbert: Who are some musicians you admire and look up to?
Sara Skinner: My all-time favorite is Avril Lavigne. I’m a super fan. Our writing and singing styles are so different, but I love that her lyrics are so blunt and relatable. She just seems like a cool person, and the success that she’s had since she was only fifteen is also a huge inspiration to me. I’m currently getting to work with the producer of her first album, which is seriously a dream come true for me!
Jessica Gilbert: I was really impressed to read that you market yourself, record your own demos and produce your own videos. Based on your experience, what would you say are the key elements to successful marketing?
Sara Skinner: It’s so easy to market yourself these days because of social network sites like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. The key is: once you get your momentum going, DO NOT STOP because in the week or month that you stop posting, you can lose almost an entire fan base. Fans need updates and new stuff constantly, or they stop checking and forget about you. I also make a point to respond to everyone…It means a lot when they reach out to talk to me, I feel like it’s important to reach out the same distance for them. Even if I ever get over a million fans, I won’t be “too big” to take the time respond.
Jessica Gilbert: If you had the power to do something in the world today, what would it be and why?
Sara Skinner: I would stop animal cruelty! They can’t defend themselves! I really love animals.
Jessica Gilbert: What is one of your favorite quotes (or lines) that inspires you?
Sara Skinner: When one door closes, it’s because God is opening up a bigger and better door.
Jessica Gilbert: Anything else you’d like to share? And where can our readers find out more about you and your music?
Sara Skinner: I appreciate all of the support I’m getting, it seriously means so much to me! There’s nothing better than hearing and seeing people respond to the music I make.
I’m working non-stop right now on new material. My first EP is on Itunes, Amazon, etc. and can also be found on my website SaraSkinner.com. All of my links to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, monkeybars.net, etc. are on the site! Please go follow, like, and all that good stuff (I also love supporting other hardworking indie artists). I have a lot of shows coming up in the Los Angeles area, so if you’re in the area check my pages for updates! I’d love to hear from everyone, and while you’re waiting for the new music check out my covers and occasional originals on my YouTube channel!
Jessica Gilbert: Thanks again for doing this interview and wish you all the best with your music in the future.
Sara Skinner: Thank you so much!