“Losing my father signified the beginning of a new era for me. I’ve experienced deep sadness but also felt as if I tapped into a well of strength to keep going.”
Losing a loved one early is something that makes you shake up your whole worldview. Nothing will ever be the same again and a part of you dies with them and is gone for eternity. It is the hard lesson of life that nothing in this world lasts forever, that nothing is guaranteed, and that you can never own anything for ever and ever. It is the painful realizations that leaves deep scars, and will never heal entirely.
Sarah Anna Psalti-Helbig aka Sarah P. lost her father, and at the same time she has become a mother herself. A turmoil of barely manageable feelings, with the strong will for her daughter and her husband to find a way to deal with it. And Sarah P. knows all too well how to take challenging paths. In the music industry, as in other creative industries, it’s not easy if you don’t follow the mainstream. When you make music for the sake of music and art and don’t follow trends to keep the big machinery up and running.
“The music industry and me have very little to do with each other, because I chose to play the game in a different way – that’s what it is to me; a game I enjoy playing more than striving to win it. Doing things my way has granted me freedom to write and perform on my terms, without limiting myself and trying to fit within the margins.” And you can definitely hear that on her new double release, two more songs from her upcoming 4-track Birdsong EP written and produced by herself and Flavio Gonnellini between Berlin and Athens. While both tracks have different soundscapes, both are united by the incredible rawness, as well as the deep emotionality that finds expression in their lyric and songwriting, which allows to show the uncovered vulnerability of an artist.
Flavio tells about their collaboration: “I loved to work on Sarah’s EP since Birdsong which was the first track we finished together. Her sound, from where we were starting (the preproductions), immediately inspired me, and I still remember singing the hooks weeks after finishing the first track together. These songs are about an important and delicate moment in Sarah’s life, and as much as I was scared when we started, now I’m feeling proud of it.”
Sarah P. about My Father’s Eyes: “My Father’s Eyes was a challenging song for me to write and record. My original version was more electronic – it had a bit of 80s Tears for Fears vibe going on. Flavio (Gonnellini) proposed a more organic approach for the music and production that I quickly embraced as it created this beautiful, almost tangible backdrop for the vocal line and lyrics. Together, music and lyrics paint a picture resembling a postcard or some other keepsake one keeps to remind them of beautiful moments of the past. While writing this song, I kept “revisiting” happy places that reminded me of my dad. I think that Flavio and I were successful in recreating those memories through song.”
Sarah P. about Birdsong: “Every person deals with loss differently – I wrote songs. The truth is that I’ve been exploring birds as a lyrical theme for many years. Traditionally, birds allude to a sense of freedom and autonomy that has always fascinated me. Partially, the lyrics were inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale about a nightingale whose song charms Death, who then spares a dying emperor, allowing him to live. The way this song unfolds – both musically and lyrically, introduces the theme of the EP and allows the listener to ease their way into the material. Loss is a gloomy theme, especially considering the current status of our world. But there’s a ray of hope and resilience coming through Birdsong. That was exactly what I needed at the moment I wrote it. I hope those who will listen to it will interpret Birdsong based on their experiences and let it carry them through the difficult moments.”