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Life and Work with Sarah Tilghman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Tilghman.

Sarah, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Music has always been a big part of my life. As a child, I was singing around the house. I remember in kindergarten having to draw a picture of something we wanted to be when we would grow up. My picture was a stick figure of a girl in a dress, with a microphone in hand singing on a stage. I’ve always known that I wanted to pursue music. I grew up in a very small town, so that dream seemed a bit lofty, but it never left my heart.

I started piano at a young age and never actually took my first voice lesson until I was 17. I began writing songs in high school, played in a band with my best friend, and during my last two years of school, I got the opportunity to attend a performing arts school every day. This really changed my life.

After graduating from high school, I decided that it was time to take this career seriously. I signed with a small label about two years later, released an EP, went on two tours, got radio airplay, and more. Life was amazing I was doing what I loved, but the creative direction was changing for myself and the label, so we ended up parting ways. I felt a little lost, to be honest. There’s something about being “a part of a label” that gives you this extra confidence/assurance. Though none of that needed to be the case, it was for me.

I dealt with a lot of anxiety after that time, it was even hard to go play shows even though I had played for thousands before. I felt like I lost who I was as an artist. Eventually, things got easier. It’s tough when you feel like you lose yourself, but this was part of my process and my story that I needed to walk through. I got the opportunity to record a live album with Resurgent Sound soon after. These songs were so healing for me and reminded me of my passion for music.

Since that time, I worked with a couple of different producers. I had some amazing opportunities to write some songs for anime films, explored different genres like KPOP, and performed a lot of shows…one of which being at the House of Blues San Diego. I’ve had a lot of challenges thrown my way in the past couple years, and especially the last several months, but I believe a big part of my story is overcoming the impossibilities in life. Where it feels like there is no hope, and fear is just consuming you, that’s the place where beauty can bloom and radical change can take place in our lives. This is why I create music, to empower, encourage, and remind others that they are so much stronger they even realize.

This isn’t just feel-good music, it’s dream fulfillment music. With all that being said, it’s time for releasing new songs in the future, I’ve been challenging myself to write a song a day. It’s been fun and I share some of the songs weekly on my Youtube. I cannot wait to get some of these songs into production soon!

Has it been a smooth road?
It definitely has not been a smooth road! There have been plenty of struggles along the way. I’ve had music taken from me before, projects I’ve worked really hard on never be put out, cruel words were spoken to me and so much more throughout the years.

If I could give advice, it would be to keep pursuing what makes your heart come alive, stand strong in who you are and never settle for something that just doesn’t feel right in your heart. There will always be people who don’t get you, and there will also always be people who believe in you. Keep those people close, it’s important to get surrounded by people like that. Another thing is just to practice gratitude. I love this phrase “Gratitude is a magnet for miracles.” I fully believe that. Gratitude changes things.

We all face struggles in our lives, but how we rise out of those difficulties is the beautiful part of it. It refines us and makes us a better version of ourselves. Plus, your story of overcoming has the power to change the lives of others and I think that’s pretty freaking cool!

What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of? What sets you apart from others?
I am a singer-songwriter! I love performing live shows and I also love writing for others. I’m beginning to dabble more into music production/recording as well recently.

I’m most proud of all the types of genres I have gotten to write over the last several years. I would say something that sets me apart from others are my extremely catchy melodies that you’ll be singing in your head all evening paired with empowering lyrics. A really fun part of my songs is that I get to co-write a lot of them with my husband. We put a lot of heart into the songs we create together whether it’s just one for me to perform/record, or for someone else.

There’s a wealth of academic research that suggests that a lack of mentors and networking opportunities for women has materially affected the number of women in leadership roles. Smart organizations and industry leaders are working to change this, but in the meantime, do you have any advice for finding a mentor and building a network?
I tend to be a more reserved person, so I am still learning so much in this area of life. One thing I have found to be really important though is to be prepared. Whatever you can have prepared and ready, get it done so when you have the opportunity to have an amazing mentor in your life, with their wisdom and insight, the possibilities are endless! I’m a big believer in doing “your part” and when you have done that, a lot of opportunities will arise. That looks different for everyone, but I have found that it always works for me when I do whatever “my part” is.

As far as networking goes…being a kind, genuine, and confident human being goes a long way. Everyone in the world wants to feel connected and seen. Make sure that everyone you encounter, you genuinely invest in. This always reaps great reward in your life, your career, and just in feeling fulfilled. It feels good to support and serve others. Most of all, be yourself. It sounds cliché but it’s so true!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Jonathan Tilghman (Good Neighbor Media), Rafael Gonzalez, Joseph M. Mustin

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