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Live and Local: Sara Johnson is going out fighting
Photo courtesy of Jamie Baucknight: Sara Johnson's first EP is due out next week. The Metroplex native will be playing at House of Blues Dallas on Feb. 20.
Last year at this time, Sara Johnson was working an office job in Plano. Fast forward to today and she's a full-time professional musician whose debut EP, "Go Out Fighting," will be released on Tuesday.
The transformation may seem sudden, but the 25-year-old singer-songwriter says being a musician is something she always dreamed about. That dream wasn't without roadblocks, though.
After graduating from Texas A&M, Johnson realized entering the music business was not as easy as she imagined it would be.
"When I got out of college I had this dream that I would work in the music business, but after interning with a record label I got a dose of reality when I started looking for jobs and nobody wanted me," she said. "I wasn't OK with people listening to my songs because I lacked confidence."
That all changed when a friend secretly recorded a video of Johnson performing an original song and uploaded it to YouTube.
"I woke up that next morning and the video had been posted and I was like, 'What did you do?' But at that point it already had like 300 hits," she said. "The woman who is now my manager called me and said, 'I really want to talk to you about this.' When that video was posted, my life changed."
Johnson, who describes her music as American with country and folk influences, quit her job last March and began traveling between Texas and Nashville interviewing producers and writing songs. Her first single, "Caroline," was co-written with producer Jeffery Armstreet and released on iTunes in July. From that point on, she continued to write and eventually settled on the five songs that found their way to the EP.
A native of Whitewright, Texas, Johnson said the transition from office worker to musician has been challenging at times but has allowed her music to improve since it now gets 100 percent of her attention.
"Being around music 24/7, you listen to a lot of different things and are solely focused on being a musician," she said. "I am now an artist first. My office job used to come first and I could only play my music at night. I can now work on music whenever I want to, so when a song idea pops into my head I can stop what I am doing and work on it."
As for what is next for Johnson, she said she plans to continue touring and playing her music for anyone who will listen. A second EP -- or possibly a full-length album -- is also in the works, ensuring her fans continue to have new music to listen to.
"I am a big people pleaser and I like to know I am making people feel better through song," she said. "When girls hear the song 'Smitten' I love to see the smiles on their faces because it is about falling in love with a boy. It is completely innocent and you see the innocence come back to their faces. It is fun and I have fun doing it."
See Sara live
Sara will be playing at House of Blues Dallas on Feb. 20 as part of its Open Mic Wednesdays. The show is free and begins at 7 p.m. For information or to purchase a CD, visit sarajohnsonmusic.com.
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