A Chat With Country Artist Sarah Harralson

A Chat With Country Artist Sarah Harralson

Sarah Harralson began writing songs when she was ten years old, her grandfather being her biggest musical influence. She is not afraid to tell it like it is in her music. We had a chance to talk with her about her career, musical influences and her latest reimagined single, "Love On Lease."

I grew up around music and my Granddad was a bluegrass musician. I took piano lessons at a young age and fell in love with songwriting as a way to express my feelings. I moved to Nashville after high school and have been in the music industry since 2013.

Hello Sarah, thank you for taking time off your busy schedule to talk to us today about your music.

Thank you for having me!

Tell us about Sarah Harralson.

“Sarah Harralson presents honest, bare-boned recordings that are authentic,” stated Music Connection Magazine after hearing her debut singer-songwriter EP, Finally Found, in 2014. Her authenticity lies in her lyrics based on true stories followed by melodies that will be stuck in your head hours after hearing it [them]. An authentic storyteller and straight shooter, she is not afraid to tell it like it is in her music. This Knoxville native began writing songs when she was ten years old, her bluegrass musician grandfather being her biggest musical influence. She was surrounded by genres such as country, rock 'n roll, soul, and pop growing up, but the storytelling aspect of country is what ultimately drew Harralson to pursuing that genre.

After her grandfather passed in 2011, Sarah decided she would move to Nashville two years later to pursue music at Belmont University. A year after releasing her debut EP in 2014, she was discovered by Scotty Schultz, drummer of Shooter Jennings (Waylon Jennings’s son). Scotty opened up his publishing company, Raindrop Music LLC, in 2015 and after hearing Sarah’s original song “Watered Down Whiskey”, he knew he wanted to sign her right away. This would be Sarah’s first publishing deal. Scotty decided he would produce her first country EP, Watered Down Whiskey, of all original songs that Sarah has either written or co-written. "This EP will help many people and hopefully some will have their heart healed by her emotional lyrics," stated Music Update Central after hearing the release of her second EP in February 2018.


Sarah’s country influences range from The Dixie Chicks to Brandy Clark to Johnny Cash with the vocals sounds of Jewel and Alanis Morissette, which comes across on her second EP, Watered Down Whiskey. Scotty Schultz of Raindrop Music, LLC stated that, “she is a driven woman who deserves to be heard,” and the stories will definitely be heard.

One of the tracks on the EP includes the song, “Radio Static” that was co-written with Johnny Garcia (lead guitar for Garth Brooks). Over time, Sarah began writing and working with Johnny, which evolved to the point where Sarah would sign her next publishing deal with Busy at Play Publishing (Johnny Garcia’s company) in February 2020. During 2020, she has released singles, "Put a Rock on This Rolling Stone", "Get Lost in Some Rock 'N Roll", and holiday single, "Frosty", since signing with Busy at Play Publishing. Her 2021 singles include, "The Chance", "The America I Knew", and her very latest "Love on Lease (Reimagined)" released on September 17th.

You can find her playing local shows in Nashville when she is not out of town. Her stage credibility includes opening for the likes of Aaron Tippin, Bucky Covington, and also included on festival rosters with Jason Aldean and Old Dominion as headliners. Besides performing, Sarah also produces music herself and decided to release a collaborative album, West of Me, with co-writer Christine Bauer in early 2019 that she self-produced. You can also hire her to write and record a song for you or your loved one through websites, Songfinch, SoundBetter, or Fiverr. Besides writing her own material, she has also co-written songs cut by other artists such as "Tennessee" by Whippoorwill, "Thirsty" by Natalia Soul, and "It'll Be Alright" by Rob Murphy to name a few. In June 2021, she was invited to be a voting member of The Recording Academy as a vocalist and songwriter. She also plays at hospitals as a volunteer musician once a month for Musicians On Call. Sarah hopes that her music will help people in some way across the world. She is a big believer that music heals and aims to present her music in a way that is relatable for others and can heal any open wounds.


What made you go into music and how long have you been in the industry?

I grew up around music and my Granddad was a bluegrass musician. I took piano lessons at a young age and fell in love with songwriting as a way to express my feelings. I moved to Nashville after high school and have been in the music industry since 2013.

Your latest release "Love On Lease (Reimagined)", what's the background and inspiration behind it?

When I wrote the song with Christine Bauer, I was tired of pursuing relationships that I knew wouldn't go anywhere or last. That's where the idea of love being on lease came in. Christine and I released the song together in 2019, which has country and pop production. I wanted to create a new version of the song that was more stripped down with piano and strings and just myself on it.

How was it like working with Christine Bauer on the album "West of Me" and the original "Love On Lease"?

It was so much fun. We had many songs we had written together that we loved and we wanted to do something with them, so we decided to work on a collaborative album together, which I produced, and it has both of our voices on the tracks. "Love on Lease" is definitely one of my favorite songs on the album.


Who did you work with on the new Reimagined version of "Love On Lease"?

I produced and mixed the song myself. Neel Erickson mastered it, Jonny Therrien played acoustic guitar, Hannah K Watson played violin, Scott Joyce played piano, and Mark Strickland played drums.

How many songs/albums have you released to date?

I have released two EPs, one collaborative album, and six singles since the beginning of 2020.

What do you think of the music industry in 2021 and beyond?

Due to streaming and technology, there are so many artists and releases more than ever, so it's very saturated. I think the technology helps being noticed more, but at the same time, there is more competition, and in order for independent artists and songwriters to make any sort of living off music, we must raise streaming royalties.

How has the current pandemic affected you as an artist and as a person?

It definitely affected my live shows in 2020 negatively. On the flip side, it has given me more time to work on my craft and my songs, and it taught me that I can make a living making music for people remotely.

Who are your favorite artists and how have they influenced your music and style?

Natalie Maines from The Chicks, Jewel, Brandy Clark, and Johnny Cash to name a few. I love female artists that have a unique country voice with a hint of folk. I also like how Brandy Clark and Johnny Cash are great storytellers and tell it like it is in their music. It has inspired me to write authentic music with my own unique voice and not be afraid to say anything.


Are you currently working on any new music at the moment?

Yes, I'm always working on new music!

How do you define success as an artist?

Realizing your identity as an artist and what you can contribute with your talents. Rather than just wanting to achieve fame, it's more about finding your craft and letting your voice be heard.

Outside making music what else do you enjoy doing most?

I love being outdoors and hiking. When I'm not making music, I'm most likely outdoors, cooking, watching sports, or traveling.

What was the first album you bought?

Most of my albums were handed down from my mother, but I was always listening to Elton John's albums growing up.