Sarah Eide is a lot of things – an award winning composer of film and game music, a classically trained pianist, and a performing singer-songwriter. As a graduate of Boston’s Berklee College of Music, it’s no surprise that her talent has taken her further than most independent artists – allowing her to pave a non-traditional path and lifestyle of full-time artistry.
In an industry that can often feel oversaturated with stale soundscapes, lifeless lyrics, and predictable patterns, Sarah Eide’s music cuts through the clutter. Drawing comparisons to iconic contemporary pianist such as Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, and Ben Folds, Eide’s music is equally thoughtful, quirky, intentional, and honest. It’s a sound she describes as cinematic folk rock with nuances of jazz and pop.
“In a lot of ways my life as a film/game composer crosses into my life as a songwriter. I treat my songs like scenes of movies… as though I’m scoring the lyrics. Most of my songs are written that way and I’ve heard time and again that my music sounds a bit like it was written for film.”
Sarah’s resume is just as diverse as her musical influences – including her more recent collaboration with YouTube sensation Alan Becker of Animator vs. Animator, co-creating the Fishwife Tales project with award-winning poet, Jennifer Jean and writing music for rising star children’s author Laurel Nakai. In Chicago (her current locale) she has found herself supporting artists in a variety of genres as a backing keyboardist and vocalist, such as chamber-pop group, Wooden Rings and R&B singer Sierra Candia.
At the early age of 3, Sarah Eide took the piano in her home, thumbing out melodies to her favorite nursery rhymes. Her father’s encouraging enthusiasm kept her glued to the keys daily. Soon enough she was enrolled in weekly classical piano lessons with distinguished pianist Mari Panosian, a graduate of Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory.
As a PK (Pastor’s kid), Sarah began playing piano weekly for her father’s congregation. The songs were notated as chord charts rather than fully transcribed music, giving her the freedom to interpret each song in her own way. In a span of 7 years her musical aptitude had grown so much that she began competing in classical competitions in her hometown of Providence, RI – some of which she won.
By the age of fourteen Sarah was writing her own original compositions, and by sixteen she was the go-to musician for high-school musicals, orchestra, and special events. It was then that she decided to go to Berklee College of Music – a decision that would later expose her to jazz, American roots/folk, and world music.
While Sarah’s father is responsible for introducing her more seriously to the piano, she credits her mother’s commitment to her faith as a heavy influence in her songwriting.
“My mom spent a lot of time teaching me stories from the Bible as a kid. She always made them applicable to the real world by explaining the relevance they have to our relationships with others and God. Even though I’ve spent a lot of time questioning my life (and continue to), I’ve always held onto these stories as life lessons.”
It’s these stories and the questions they’ve brought that have helped developed Sarah Eide into the thoughtful lyricist she has become known for – never afraid to ask the big questions. Admittedly she states,
“For me, writing a song is a way to dig deeper…
deeper into an idea…
deeper into an experience…
deeper into a feeling…
and hopefully by the end of that process, I’ve uncovered something meaningful… even if it’s just more questions.”
Having just released a full length self-titled album, Sarah Eide is back in the studio working with some of Chicago’s most talented musicians, including trumpeter Shane Jonas (Low Down Brass Band, Akasha) and drummer, John Deitmeyer (Matthew Santos, Patricia Barber, Matt Ulery).
As she begins to focus more on live performance in this next season of her music career, her travels will take her outside of the Midwest region and across the country performing in community spaces that allow for song, storytelling, and opportunities to engage and connect with listeners. Her signature style of writing music that is complex yet catchy, daring yet familiar is what pulls her audience in and keeps them coming back.
“I share my songs because I think others can relate or at least be impacted by them. When someone laughs or dances or holds back tears…or lets them out, I feel like I’ve accomplished my goal.”
“Eide brandishes her flair for dramatic storytelling. The song ebbs and flows like a soundtrack. It starts off with straightforward acoustic Americana, culminates in a jazzy whirlwind, and ends on a high note full of curly-cue flourishes of trumpet, piano, and fiddle. [A] unique spin on Americana”– NYS Music
“Comparable to Laura Nyro, a pianist/composer from the 60’s soul-folk underground, Eide also has a swinging rock piano style and intellectually satisfying arrangements. While Nyro comes off as vulnerable at times, Eide has a steadfast, empowering vibe along with sweet approach-ability.”– On Axis Music
“Sarah Eide — whoa! Oh my God. She came in here with her band, and I was in my no-alcohol mode, so I was dead sober. I just kept going, ‘Stop it, Sarah, you’re making me cry.’ Her voice, and her keyboard technique, and her songwriting — those were all her songs. This city has so many talented people.”– ZZounds.com
“The piano, which guides the listener through, recalls the iconic tone of musical theater…an amazing display of piano playing with songs that show emotional reflections of a mature songwriter with plenty to offer.”– Chaz Hearne
“She has a classical background, and it shows in the intricacy of her piano riffs, which also possess a rock’n’roll hustle. this release is standing out for me among the pack of singer/songwriter type things in that sarah’s ability to lead her band through vibrant musical passages from behind the keyboard is obvious.”– The Modern Folk
“She allows her voice off the leash every so often as it jumps and prances over the music, showing you she has range but uses it sparingly and therefore is even more purposeful.”– Red Line Roots
“It’s REALLY good! Very thoughtful, poignant lyrics — and the piano arrangements are creative, quirky, and at times really haunting. AND love the album artwork too”– Dave Trout of Under The Radar