Country sweetheart, Sarah Wickett, has been immersed in music since she was born. Raised in Beaverton, Ontario, her time spent, hunting, fishing and watching sunsets on the water was intertwined with a distinctly musical upbringing, surrounded by a family who shared her passion. Her small-town roots inspired her songwriting as she was growing up.
In later years, after moving to Toronto to pursue her country music her dream, Wickett learned to play guitar and began writing original music. Now aged twenty-four, she has been singing for fourteen years, playing guitar for eight and performing her original material at live venues since 2014.
Wickett has built a social media following of over 100,000 people across multiple platforms, while her music videos have racked up over 100,000 views on YouTube.
We had the opportunity to chat with Wickett about her new single, Did It for Me, songwriting, career highlights and what’s next.
Kat: Can you talk about the inspiration behind your new single “Did It For Me”?
Sarah: The inspiration behind “Did It For Me” came to me in December. For me, these past couple of years have been huge learning curves. I feel like I was at that point where I really wanted to step it up in the music scene, but I didn’t know how to as an independent artist. And you know in this industry you have to constantly be growing and putting out insanely amazing stuff, which can put a lot of pressure on you sometimes. I was still writing with producers and musicians, but I knew the music wasn’t as good as it had to be (in my opinion).
So, I took a trip to Nashville this past fall and performed at some writer’s rounds there. I spoke to a lot of musicians and industry professionals and their advice really opened my eyes. When I got back home, I knew if I really wanted to do this, I had to just go for it and not let anything stop me. So that’s kind of where this song came from. I ultimately had to make some decisions that I knew would disappoint people and burn some bridges. BUT I knew I would be excited about music again. That was the most important thing to me. Now – I am SO happy I made that decision and wish I made it sooner. But I’m grateful l for the learning curves this industry throws at you and if I didn’t go through that, I wouldn’t have “Did It for Me”!
Kat: Can you talk about your songwriting process? Does it differ from song to song? What’s one piece of advice you’d give to new songwriters?
Sarah: Yes! My creative process is honestly different every time, which makes it really fun. I’ll see a sign or hear something on the radio, and it’ll make me think of a song idea. I’ll write it down and sometimes I’ll have to just sit and write a verse or whatever it may be right then, or I’ll wait until I can sit down with my guitar and find a melody for it. Sometimes I’ll just start playing random chords and the lyrics and melody will just come out. It’s different every time. Songwriting is so fun, and I really love that part of making music. Some days are more productive than others, sometimes I can sit down and write a full song in two hours and other days I’ll sit there for 3 hours working on a chorus but can’t think of a verse for the life of me.
For advice, you’re going to have days where you can sit down and finish a whole song in 2 hours but you’re also going to have days where you sit down for 2 hours and can only think of a verse… it’s all about balance. Listen to what your creative mind is telling you and take notes. Pay attention to when and what you’re doing when things flow naturally. If it’s not happening for you today, go out and find inspiration, try again tomorrow, or in a couple hours.
Kat: What were you listening to growing up? What kind of music or artists would you say have influenced you and/or your career?
Sarah: I think right now I am mostly inspired by up and coming artists like myself. I love the comfort of knowing we’re all trying to make it and we’re all rooting for each other and we’re all putting out AMAZING music. I also love a lot of our Canadian country girls (Madeline Merlo, Meghan Patrick, Kira Isabella). My influences growing up were Shania Twain, Christina Aguilera and Heart. I love what Shania Twain did to country music and she is probably one of the only reasons I started doing country music. I always wanted to be able to sing and belt like Christina Aguilera. I used to listen to her on repeat and would study all of her notes and runs. My parents mostly listened to classic rock when I was growing up, so naturally I did too. Heart was one album I always enjoyed singing and dancing to.
Kat: You’ve opened for many artists ranging from Bobby Wills to Wes Mack, and performed for capacity crowds at The Opera House, Casino Rama and at fairs and festivals across Ontario, including the Smoke & Spurs Festival and Kempenfest. What have you learned from those experiences? What would you say has been a highlight so far?
Sarah: It’s been great opening up for artists I look up to! Every time I am able to open up for people who inspire me, it just validates my need to play music and my hope to inspire others. I definitely think playing Smoke N’ Spurs festival was a huge highlight for me, as well as walking my first red carpet last year at the JUNOS.
Kat: What’s next?
Sarah: I think a lot of things are up in the air right now due to COVID-19 but I am releasing more music very soon and my EP should be out in the fall. I’ve been doing some performances on my socials for the time being and hope to be playing festivals again later this summer.
For more on Sarah Wickett, please visit: www.sarahwickett.com