Sarah Davidson talks ‘Drink You Up,’ reality TV & channeling pain into music: Exclusive

Sarah Davidson

Singer-songwriter Sarah Davidson wasn't afraid to open up her life on TNT's Private Lives Of Nashville Wives—going as far as to highlight her very-public breakup from Nashville songwriter Dallas Davidson. She continues that notion on her latest self-titled EP, sampled by her current feel-good single "Drink You Up." But it's on another one of the cuts, the haunting "Get Out," that speaks directly to her life in this moment. Ironically, the song was co-written by Dallas, along with several other tastemakers (Ashley Gorley and Kelley Lovelace). "It's just a brilliant song," Sarah shares in an exclusive interview with NashvilleGab. "They wrote it four years ago actually."

She adds, "When I first heard the song, I was so drawn to it. I knew that that song was meant to be something I would record one day when I had the opportunity. It’s more real to my life now than ever, which is the weird thing about it all. It’s just confirmation that songs have this crazy, magical life. Everything that happens around a song is a miracle."

Throughout the project, fans can witness a definitive maturity, cultivated from nine years of living and struggling in Nashville. "I’ve had such amazing opportunities over the past nine and a half years to work with really amazing writers," she says of her musical evolution. "When I moved to town, I didn’t really understand what the writing community was about. But being here and getting to know it, it is such a creative mecca here in Nashville."

"There are so many amazingly brilliant writers. I’ve just taking that in and understanding more how I want to say things. Obviously, I’ve grown as a performer, too. Being on the road helps, a lot. When you are comfortably surrounded by music, there’s nothing you can do but evolve. My music has gotten more authentic to who I am," she notes, adding that the five-track EP is certainly a manifestation of that passion.

"I moved here when I was 20. I’m 29 now, almost 30, ahh…or I’m 27 in show business," she laughs.

She continues, "I’ve really started listening to outside songs, as well. I’d be a fool to think I’m the best songwriter in the city. There’s so many amazing songs that are even cataloged, some that were even written 20 years ago–songs that I think the world needs to hear. When I was making this project, it was a collection of those songs that I fell in love over the past nine years. Some were songs that friends of mine had written or I had written, of course, along the way. I picked the ones I felt told the best complete story."

"We had a goodbye / We had a good cry / I stood in the drive while you drove away and I watched the dust fly / I could see it so clear, baby / Never looked in the mirror, baby / I know your gone so how in the hell are you still here, baby," Sarah sings on the song's ["Get Out"] searing first verse, pouring out every ounce of pain with each word. But it is in a live setting, she admits, that has changed her forever. "Music touches us at different points in our lives for different reasons," she says.

"To actually have some depth behind what I’m singing is great. It helps the audience connect, too, because they know what’s going on in my life. It makes people pay attention more and understand more. It is challenging, though. When I first started performing it after, I would get a little choked up. It’s a fine balance of drawing off those emotions and breaking down on stage."

Dallas, the man behind such chart-topping hits as "That's My Kind Of Night" (Luke Bryan) and "Runnin' Outta Moonlight" (Randy Houser), taught her quite a bit about songwriting. "He’s very smart. He does what he does and he’s not too concerned about what others think about it," Sarah asserts. "So many people hate on the kind of music he makes, the bro-country stuff, but that’s authentically who he is."

She confesses that she completely relates to those songs, too, "I grew up in South Georgia, so that’s what we did. We had bonfires, keg parties and drove our trucks. That’s just the way it is. So, when people who don’t live that life think, ‘oh gosh, that’s so fake.’ That’s really who he is. He just does what he does and gives his audience what they want to hear. That’s so important. Many people get that right. There’s definitely something about staying extremely true to what you do and who you are. There’s also something about giving them what they want."

As far as her own process goes, she reveals that "it’s been very therapeutic to get it all down on paper." She explains, "There are so many different emotions you go through just on a daily basis. As a writer, everything I do and think turns into a song. Every emotion turns into a thought process of how to make a cool song. Loss and breakups are really inspirational. Being able to go through the stages helps. Falling in love is also very inspirational. Love is a force that is extremely important in writing. It’s what makes the world go ‘round." 

Of course, her stint on reality TV has morphed her perspective on life, too. "It confirmed my dedication to my music. When I went on, I wanted to be very particular about how I wasn’t going to sell out or do things that were fake. I wanted to go out there and be 100 percent authentic. It is about the music for me."

"If it came down to selling out or act a certain, then it wasn’t’ worth it. But if I could go on there and show people what it’s like to hit the pavement and work for a dream (even when the doors slammed in your face), I feel like I did that. I learned that I’m really dedicated to what I do. I’ve accepted that I want to live this life, whether it’s on a huge scale or not."

Her favorite and least favorite parts of the show? "My favorite of shooting the show was working with the production company Evolution. Douglas Ross, who started the company, has been in TV for 20 years. It’s just a really amazing company. They’ve been a great group to work with. They wanted to tell a real story about what it’s like for struggling artists. They wanted to make it about the music. I really appreciated that. TNT was awesome, too."

"The worst part was getting divorced on TV and talking about it. Everybody’s been like, ‘well that was your choice.’ And it was my choice. I made that very clear. I own that. I’m never concerned when people have questions about it or it comes up. I open up about it. I went and tried to represent myself in a positive way and maybe show a message of hope and moving on in a positive way. That’s why I opened up about it, because some people do go through that. I wanted to address it and not make it taboo. That was also one of the most challenging and learning aspects."

For fans itching for a full-length, Sarah says one is already in the works. "We’re getting scheduling together for that. I’ve already been writing for it. I have the concept for it. It’s going to be something, I think, that will really surprise people."

Grab a copy of Sarah Davidson's EP on iTunes now! 


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