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Meet Sarah Lee of Aqualina in Irvine/Orange County

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

Thanks for sharing your story with us Sarah. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Making music was initially just a fun summer activity that I started to keep myself occupied after my senior year of high school was over. A friend that I met online had asked me if I wanted to learn how to make beats, so I decided to try it out just for fun.

Although I started out thinking of it as just a fun hobby, it has slowly developed into something more special to me than just that. I started spending close to 6 hours every day over that summer trying to figure out how to use Ableton Live 9.

As a classically trained musician, I did not have much variety in the kind of music that I listened to. I rarely listened to any genres outside of classical music, and even when I did, it was always popular music that I would hear frequently on the radio or on YouTube advertisements. However, through the time I was learning how to make beats, I started to listen to all different kinds of other music in an attempt to learn more about sampling.

After my song “reminisce” came out, I decided that I wanted to try composing my own music because I could not fully understand sampling. I started out with small piano compositions, made from the built-in plugins offered on Ableton, and gradually started implementing guitar and violin into my tracks, which is where I am at now!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It definitely was not a smooth road to get to where I am now. I found myself struggling a lot keeping up with both music and school, especially because I was just starting university as a biology/pre-med student. Having to study for my classes and wanting to make music at the same time put me on a really tight schedule – I would stay up late just to be able to fit everything into my day.

I also ran into a lot of problems figuring out who I was and what I wanted to be (as I still do). My passion for music just kept growing and I could not stop thinking about how I would be able to pursue both medicine and music.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am a self-taught producer and composer that specializes in guitar, piano, and violin composition. I have experimented in lofi, chillhop, and ambient genres.

I would say that my violin compositions set me apart from other artists that I know in the scene. Because of my background as a classical violinist, I am able to actually record my own violin parts and implement them in my tracks.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over, I would have definitely tried to start out composing my own music instead of using samples. I feel like getting recognized for something that is 100% my own work is so much more satisfying.

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Image Credit:
Tyus Liu

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