Sarah P is a singer songwriter who creates stirring pop songs which often highlight intricate themes in life and humanity. Her music career started as the frontwoman of the Athenian dream pop duo Keep Shelly In Athens. After she parted ways with the band, she relocated to Berlin to launch her solo-career which resulted in her debut album ‘Who am I’. In addition to producing music, Sarah also runs EraseRestart which highlights her music and publishing projects.
What is the story behind the video for your song 'Millennial Girl'? If it was on permanent play as a video installation in Berlin, where would one see it?
We filmed it in Athens in early summer. I might as well have written 6 or 7 different treatments for this music video. We ended up going for a simpler idea that features me, isolated-but-in beautiful gowns, like an Instagram vision. It’s a commentary to the filtered, “instagrammable” lives we lead online. There is one scene where you can see me looking all serious and melancholic, while a mosquito is draining me! I edited the video and I chose this scene particularly for its realness – a break from the strife for “perfection”, as I sing on the song. A symbolic scene/moment powered by nature.
I could very well imagine it being shown as an Instagram sponsored post – one of those that you can’t make them away, badly, sloppily targeted to all Berliners – even those who would never care about my music. It’d be a virtual exhibition of vanity, I guess.
What do you love about living in Berlin?
Although it’s become very corporate in the past couple of years, it still caters to those who’re in touch with their inner child.
Your lifestyle in five words?
Empowered, independent, conscious, driven, reflected.
What inspires you?
Those fighting for a better future. During the past years, we’ve seen lots of people of all generations taking it to the online & offline streets, protesting against injustice. I’m deeply moved by the passion and resilience of movements and communities such as #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, #NeverAgain, #MentalHealthMatters and so on. Activists who want to start a conversation with the ultimate goal being a more inclusive and safe world – those people give me life!
Can you tell us about why you started your EraseRestart zine?
I never hid my personal struggles with mental health – I wrote songs and blog posts about it. I spoke about it on interviews. Somehow, that wasn’t enough. I wanted to create something that’s not entirely based on my experiences, something that would resonate both with those dealing with a mental illness and those who aren’t. A safe space where one can ask questions without being judged and educate themselves on mental health. If we finally accept that mental health is just as important as physical health, we can “erase” the stigma and “restart” on fresh grounds, with more understanding for those struggling whether directly or indirectly, through a loved one. There are so many things in this world that are disgraceful, shameful and horrid – mental health issues are none of these things.
Mental health seems like a taboo subject in the music industry, but it is a serious issue which is often sadly glamourised by the press - sometimes to sell records. What is the first step a musician can do to seek out help which won’t make them feel embarrassed or that they aren’t strong enough?
Step number one is to admit to yourself that you’re dealing with something that can’t be cured without the help of a professional. There’s absolutely no shame in asking for help, so no reason to feel embarrassed or weak. If your leg hurts, you go to the doctor without making a big deal out of it. Why not doing the same when you’re battling a mental illness? Who cares what the music industry thinks, or what they’ll make out of you seeking out for help? Health comes first!
The music industry is changing – slowly but steadily, with more and more young people getting involved. In many cases, mental health is becoming part of big corporations’ agendas and politics. That doesn’t mean that they truly care or understand what would make our industry a healthy place, but it’s a first step. Hopefully, this will result to less artists and music business professionals suffering in silence.
Finish this sentence. Life is…
An absolute miracle – enjoy it to the fullest!
Where do people tend to hang out in your city who listen to music like yours?
Honestly – and I might be assuming lots, I think that when the people who listen to music like mine decide to go out (no judgement – I’m a homebody myself), they’d probably go to a museum or a gallery to reflect about the past in relation to the present and the future. A museum or a gallery offer you the chance to educate yourself and feel deeply rooted. I’m saying that because my music is more about the message rather than the tune itself and, while I might be assuming again, I believe that those drawn to this kind of music are life-long learners who like to ask questions.
If you could change one thing about the music industry as a whole, what would it be?
The lack of imagination. There are so many possibilities nowadays, why not trying different things? The sales have dropped, people don’t go to live shows as much as they did, with even mainstream artists cancelling shows when on tour. You can’t keep hanging onto the studio-album-live shows trifecta. You got to be creative!
What brings a tear to your eye?
Anything that involves a human’s (or any other animal’s) journey to flourishing into their full potential and finding peace and love is a guarantee to make me go all misty-eyed.
Where do you go in Berlin to get inspired by creativity / art?
Cab ride, driving through the city. Seeing the street art, what the people are wearing, trying to imagine what they’re listening through their headphones. This is how you get the essence of the city – a glimpse of the city and the locals is just enough to ignite new ideas.
How convinced are you that the sun will rise tomorrow?
Well, I want to believe that NASA would have warned us! Jokes aside, I’m a realist who doesn’t like to take things for granted. Instead, I’m trying to make every day count. You never know what happens next – if I can do something today, why wasting time waiting for tomorrow?
What’s your motto / life philosophy?
I’ve got to stick to “find yourself and then be it”. Knowledge is power.
What spells adventure for you?
Funny that you ask, because the meaning of adventure has changed for me in a colossal way in the past five years. Adventures used to mean risk, at times putting myself in dangerous situations for the rush of adrenaline and the momentary feeling of fulfilment. Nowadays, an adventure for me is the process of bringing change in a smaller or bigger scale, whether at home or in a community. These days, when I’m going after an adventure, I’m geared for whatever comes my way. There’s a different thrill and a different commitment from my side – there’s a purpose, if you want. An end destination.
I saw that you also have a book called ‘Who Am I ‘ which is the same title of your last album. Are they supposed to be experienced together?
Yes, it’s an anthology featuring prose and lyrics that have been hiding in my diaries. They can be experienced together, as well as exist separately, with each of them telling the same story using different tools. I’ve worked on this project for the past 3 years and publishing it last April was a huge deal to me! I designed the layout and published it via my platform EraseRestart. Some thoughts and prose date back to 10 years ago and it’s also featuring photos of my dear friend and super talented photographer Fotini Chora.
What can we expect from you for the rest of 2018?
Regarding my plans, a new EP called Maenadswill come out very soon. As for my hopes for the rest of the year, I wish for no more bloodshed, no more hate. I hope for more environmental friendly and people-centred political decisions that will improve our world and help us evolve, instead of taking us back.