by Lindsey Borders
Sara Niemietz has immersed herself in the entertainment industry since she was 10 years old. At such an early age in an evolving industry, Sara has kept a very good head on her shoulders, making a positive impact with her work personally and professionally. She was the lead vocalist for the eerily haunting films, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and The Uninvited, as well as working on the television shows Providence and Gilmore Girls along with the feature film, Akeelah and the Bee, featuring Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett. She currently works with W.G. “Snuffy” Walden with her music, and has most recently been featured as an on-stage guitarist in the popular television show, Glee. Her upcoming EP release, Push Play will make it’s debut sometime this May. Check out our interview with Sara and delve into the life of this ambitious young musician and film actress!
You have been in the entertainment industry (music, television and film) from the age of 10. How do you compare each entity?
A: Each entity is different, in that, they’re each specific art forms, but to me, there’s a lot of healthy overlap! Music participates in TV and film, which influence music, and so on. The world of television is a well-run ship, full of incredibly hard-working and creative individuals. You prepare, show up, spend hours shooting, and of course there is the brilliant Craft Service wagon… Film shares the time/work efficiency of television and there is just a beautiful feeling when you’re working on a movie that has great morale and cohesion. Music is a world that I deeply love. It’s a perfect meeting of independence and collaboration. While I enjoy writing on my own, there is something to be said for sitting down with another musician (and, say, a guitar) and seeing what two people come up with. There are so many parts to the music industry – live performance, recording, writing, distribution, outreach, and many business aspects. I could write an entire page on those alone.
Having been introduced to industry at such a young age, how have your experiences been? Have you struggled with keeping true to your goal, or have you mended in any way?
A: The more time I spend engaged in music/acting, the more my appreciation grows! I know that may sound cheesy, but I love learning new things (as frequently as possible), and as I am introduced to different outlooks and tidbits, I become more fascinated. I won’t deny that this line of work is laden with rejection, but every industry has its pitfalls. I have learned to not let expectations get the best of a situation. As long as I remember why I do this (because it’s the thing that I LOVE), everything stays in perspective.
I’m very intrigued by your vocals for the film The Exorcism of Emily Rose, as that movie was very haunting as well as for the second Christopher Young film, The Uninvited. How were those experiences?
A: Thank you!! Chris Young is brilliant to work with. The Exorcism of Emily Rose was my first introduction to singing for score, and I am so grateful to Chris for that opportunity. It is truly exhilarating to go in to a studio, listen to / read music you’ve never heard before, and quickly become a part of it. I was psyched to work on The Uninvited after that.
It seems your true passion is with music, as your working with W.G. Snuffy Walden at his Taylor Made Studios. What’s it like working with Snuffy, and what is your goal with your music?
A: Music is a tremendous passion of mine. I wake up with it in my head, it swirls about while I drive, I walk to imaginary beats. Snuffy is absolutely incredible to work with – not only a brilliant musician, but a wonderful person. We first met ten years ago when I was on the TV show Providence (for which he was the composer); two years ago, we reconnected again! He is someone who listens. There are many musicians who can play and play, but to find one who is open to and invested in getting to the heart of a song is a real gift.
My goal with music is to really live it. I want to spend my life making music, touring, and sharing it with the world!! I’ve not toured around much, but my EP, Push Play, is coming out this month, and I am eager to get out there and share it!! Music is something I am committed to and something I would dread to imagine living without! I speak through music.
Your voice has a range from blues to pop. Who are your musical influences, and why?
I grew up listening to a lot of the “classics”: Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, The Who, Carole King, etc. My ears were in a 50s-80s vortex. I treasure the beautiful arrangements, tantalizing melodies, consummate musicianship, and unbridled honesty. Some of favorite writers are Paul Simon, Elvis Costello, Randy Newman, McCartney, Lennon, James Taylor, and Cole Porter. I love Ricky Lee Jones’s way of singing and writing. It’s such an organic explosion of sound! (Organic explosion sounds a bit like a cooking show…)
Lately, I’ve been driving around to a lot of Andrew Bird, Punch Brothers, and Bill Evans. Bird’s approach to writing, his jazz roots, the textures in those records – I could go on and on! I just started getting into the Punch Brothers and love their lyrics, innovation, and pizzazz! As for Bill Evans – he is one of my favorite musicians. His musicality transcends any description I could offer.
What was your first concert? Have a favorite?
A: My first was a B.J. Thomas concert at the Chevy Chase Country Club in Illinois! I was four and officially fell in love with music – haven’t been able to turn back.
Favorite: So many, but possibly Alison Krauss and the Union Station.
What was your first album bought?
A: First vinyl album I bought was Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde.
What are top five albums you couldn’t live without?
1. The Beatles (The White Album) – The Beatles
2. Tumbleweed Connection – Elton John
3. The Mysterious Production of Eggs – Andrew Bird
4. Undercurrent – Bill Evans & Jim Hall
5. Who’s Feeling Young Now? – The Punch Brothers
Have a guilty music listening pleasure?
A: I never feel guilty about music, but something people may not know – I love singing opera. “Poor Wand’ring One” from Pirates of Penzance, or “Ombra Mai Fu” may be my favorite to sing.
Check out her original song “A World of My Own”